The fitness industry in Australia may be huge, but research shows that for many clients, loyalty to any one fitness provider is actually quite low. We’ve done our research to develop this list of tips to help you retain clients beyond the honeymoon period.
12 Week Challenges
TV Shows like “The Biggest Loser” have encouraged the phenomenon of the ‘crash makeover’. For fitness providers, running challenges like these not only guarantee 12 weeks of payment, it also allows you to communicate regularly with your client and forge a more significant relationship. The critical challenge for gyms and personal trainers is to maintain this relationship beyond this 12 weeks, encouraging the client to think about their long-term fitness.
Be interested in more than their fitness goals
The best way to retain a client is to really understand them. Asking questions about their interests and finding out casually what’s going on in their lives is essential. Firstly, it forges a friendship which will increase loyalty. This also means that if they taper off their training, you can give them a friendly call and encourage them back with sincerity (as opposed to making them feeling like they’re on a cold call list). Secondly, the more you are aware of what’s going on in their lives, the better you can handle potential ‘drop off’ points.
Be aware of drop off points
Many clients fall off the wagon after key events or goals they’ve been training for have passed. For fitness providers, it’s important to know what’s going on in the lives of clients so you can follow up with an encouraging message after these events have occurred. Things like holidays, weddings or having a baby are major drop off risks and should be followed up with communication.
Winter training options
Winter will always drain motivation out of fitness clients. The days are short, the weather cold and sleeping in or getting home early can seem much more appealing. Offering a fun, new style of class or training type in winter can keep clients motivated. It may mean moving training indoors over the winter months or offering shorter lunchtime training options.
It may sound fickle but many clients simply get frustrated not knowing what to exercise in during winter. Educating clients on the importance of layers and showing winter gear can be fashionable is key. For the fashion conscious client, nothing quite motivates them like giving a new outfit a spin. Depending on what your business style allows, you could consider collaborating with the local sportswear store, stocking brochures or even selling gear.
Stay in constant contact
Customer relationship management is critical, whether the client is currently active or not. Thanks to technology, there’s more ways than ever to keep in touch. It’s important however that communication is helpful and not intrusive. A mix of social media, email newsletters, SMS and the occasional friendly phone call will keep your business in their mind. Offering regular updates to training programs and goal setting sessions is also a great way to ensure the lines of communication stay open.
Clients appreciate being heard, so asking for their feedback and taking it into account makes them feel valued. Don’t make the mistake of simply flicking off an email survey though. Try to ask them face-to-face what they’re liking and where you can improve to forge a bond. If you do implement changes based on their feedback, let them know and give them credit. They’ll feel like they have a stake in the business and will be more loyal to you.
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