We know that most executives measure success by looking at fiscal health and membership growth*, but surprisingly, member retention (on it’s own) is often overlooked. The Whitehouse Office of Consumer Affairs estimates that it is seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. Do you have a plan in place to engage and retain members at the outset?**
A systematic, intentional engagement plan targeting current members moves retention in the right direction.
Engagement is a cultural shift. You need the right staff and an actionable plan, including goals and measures of success. Consider focusing on one or two areas to begin with. This gives staff the chance to learn, adjust, and see results—which will motivate them as you expand your engagement plan. Below are some suggested first steps. Where do you think you and your staff can have the greatest impact?
- NEW MEMBERS Being the new kid on the block is tough. Often times new members don’t know how to navigate the facility, use the machines, or find group exercise class offerings. This group needs a lot of attention for the first 90+ days if you want to keep them around. Come up with a systematic plan for at least the first 90 days that includes face-to-face conversations, phone calls to check-in, and automated emails at pre-designated milestones.
- MISSING IN ACTION MEMBERS If members aren’t coming into your facility—for a class, program, or just a workout—they’re likely to terminate their memberships. You need to identify these missing members and get ahead of these terminations by reaching out with a personalized phone call or email to see what’s keeping them away.
- EXPIRING PAYMENT METHODS Are your memberships set to auto-terminate if a payment method expires? How sure are you that those members will come running back to rejoin? Offering online tools empowers your members to update their personal information on their own time, but reminder emails and phone calls are important to head off expiring payment methods and to identify any dissatisfaction that might dissuade someone from continuing their membership.
*2015 Daxko T&O Survey
** Whitehouse Office of Consumer Affairs