When someone decides to invest in a membership at your fitness center or gym, they’re making a vow to improve their health and future by your side. Along the journey, there may be instances where customers feel frustrated with your establishment, but we are here to help you avoid these missteps before you notice fewer check-ins and more bad reviews.
Mistakes are inevitable—what really matters is how you work around them. I’ve come up with 10 ways to help change your everyday actions so you can retain current customers and make sure they are getting their money’s worth, especially in today’s financial environment. Let’s take a look at some common mistakes:
Lost customer appreciation
The first no-no is when an instructor or personal trainer does not discuss customers’ fitness goals, interests, needs or overall purpose with them. If you’re wondering how to retain more current customers, I do have a suggestion that should work. Listening, praising and interacting with your customers will show that you truly care about them and their well-being.
Refer to our CRM blog post on the ways HRPRO can manage customers’ important dates, like birthdays and anniversaries, and track visits to monitor progression toward their fitness goals. That way, you can join them in celebrating a special day with unique promotions or rewarding them on their regime, which will help you stick out from the crowd of other fitness professionals.
A strict dress code
In order to be authoritative yet considerate when it comes to setting a dress code for your fitness center, you should ask yourself, “What exactly constitutes appropriate workout attire?” I agree with 24 Hour Fitness that jeans, for example, should not be worn on the weight floor, and with Bally Total Fitness that sandals should be prohibited. A dress code should be made for safety reasons while keeping a respectable environment for all guests.
A dress code should also be based on the type of establishment you run or work for. During a poll with the HRPRO Gurus, we discussed that the more comfortable someone is with their fitness community and the services provided, the more likely they will wear less clothing to match their workout level. For instance, customers who practice Bikram yoga or take advanced CrossFit training classes probably wouldn’t be bothered by the bare minimum of clothing items, whereas customers who attend a family-friendly gym probably would be.
Not living and learning
It’s ok if you make a mistake on the job, but a greater mistake would be not offering a comped fitness class or some kind of gift after experiencing a mishap. Feedback from your customers, even if it is expressed negatively, is a chance for your business to grow and improve. Some ways to please your customers and show you value their relationship is by actively listening to their concerns. You may be surprised how much easier people are to deal with when they know they are genuinely being listened to and their opinions are being valued.
Offering a free T-shirt, a key chain with your center’s logo, or admission to a nutrition seminar or club event is the cherry on top of this ice cream sundae.
Keep calm and coupon
Customers look for coupons and deals—it’s what drives them to a business. Instead of being frugal, you can offer a coupon booklet for first-timers or members who remain active for a certain period of time. That way, customers will get to sample your programs, classes and services, which will encourage them to continue with the ones they enjoy.
My research has shown that customers are not fans of disconnected services at their preferred gym or fitness center. If it’s a CrossFit gym, it should provide CrossFit training and services. If it’s an MMA gym, it should offer MMA classes. When owners throw in a random, undesired service to the mix, customers might get the impression that earning a quick buck is more important than the positive focus and mission of the business (which is what usually attracts customers in the first place).
Dude, where’s my water?
If you don’t provide a free way for customers to stay hydrated during their workout, you are lowering their production of energy and reducing their ability to exercise efficiently. It’s recommended for a person to drink approximately eight glasses of water a day because it protects and hydrates organs, transports nutrients to cells and balances the level of electrolytes. Pretty important, right?
You don’t need to purchase pricey sports drinks because a majority of the time, water does the trick. Help your customers maximize their performance and get the most from their workouts!
Missing the maintenance
Gyms, fitness centers and yoga studios can be magnets for unwanted germs and bacteria like the infamous MRSA and norovirus. A big red flag for customers is when there are no hand sanitizers or disinfectant sprays to wipe down treadmills, ellipticals, cycling bikes or weight stack before and after use. When equipment maintains cleanliness, it eliminates the risk of infections and sickness.
Too many dollar signs
Some customers believe that a pricey registration fee (and membership in general) is a complete scam. According to MarketWatch, in 2012, 29.5 percent of former gym members ditched their fitness center because they weren’t using their membership. Another 52 percent left because it was too expensive and another 31 percent realized they could exercise for free somewhere else. Similarly, 56 percent of potential members have never joined a gym due to the price. If you’re going to charge a premium price, you have to deliver premium value, not just in your opinion, but in your customers’ opinion.
Out of service
When you’re in the perfect mood to workout and relieve some stress, nothing makes you more frustrated than cardio equipment or weight machines having “out of service” signs on them. When there’s limited equipment for everyone to use during high traffic times, customers begin to leave (and probably won’t think about returning). This is easily avoidable. You can eliminate conflict by guaranteeing your customers that all service requests will be addressed within 48 hours of notification…yes?
Every party has a pooper
Maximizing your space to its efficiency is a good way to bring in extra income, but some dedicated athletes and everyday gym goers don’t find it appealing to workout alongside a children’s birthday party. Perhaps schedule parties and events during slower hours or construct a multipurpose room away from the active gym floor. That way, everyone wins!
I hope these tips cause happier customers and less tickling of their angry bones. Cheers to growth and success!
Allison Barfield is a content writer for Span Enterprises and has been writing since she first learned to hold a pencil, shortly after birth. After graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a B.A. in media arts she fell in love with marketing. She's been copy writing and managing multiple blogs ever since.