We all know that exercise is good for you, right? And we all understand what we should be doing. So, before we get into some of the great ways to retain members at your gym, let’s think about some of the reasons why they might be quitting. Then, we’ll think about how you can combat these problems and keep as many of your valued members as possible.
They’re not seeing immediate results. For most people, joining the gym signals a change, whether it be a New Year’s resolution, a necessary health-kick, or simply a fresh start after a holiday of indulgence. Because of this, they hope to see an immediate difference in themselves, when, in reality, change takes time and perseverance.
They miss a few sessions and feel like they can’t come back. It’s 2020 and we all lead seriously busy lives. Sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day or even the week. And because of this, the time we reserve to take care of ourselves is often taken up by other things. Many people feel that they will be reprimanded for not attending a class or missing a session, which can lead to them burying their head in the sand and never returning.
They don’t feel comfortable. Generally, many people quit the gym because they feel judged. But these are unprecedented times we’re living in, and we couldn’t talk about how to make people feel more comfortable in public spaces without mentioning the big C word…COVID. The current pandemic has made every one of us question whether our usual day-to-day activities are safe for both us and the people around us. We’ll look more at how to combat this.
Lack of personal interaction. At the end of the day, people like to be thought of and cared about. Sometimes, especially with large gyms, people can feel a bit like a cog in a machine…a money maker. We all know this isn’t the case for owners who are passionate about their business and every single member; so, we’ll look at how you can build a close and personal relationship with your members.
Now we’ve identified some of the reasons why your members might be quitting, let’s go through some of the great ways you can combat these issues, and retain as many of your valued members as possible.
1. Set realistic goals & help monitor them
In today’s society, we are constantly surrounded by the expectations of how we should look and feel, whether on social media, in TV advertisements, or even through online influencers. And the problem with this is that people have unrealistic expectations. Influencers, models and celebrities - whose lives we are constantly following - make it seem easy. We don’t see the hours they pour into the gym or the strict diet regime they live by. Because of this, people join the gym and expect to be magically changed. And what happens when they’re not? You guessed it; they quit. So, in order to combat this, it’s important to help your members set realistic and personalised goals and monitor their progression. Even when they don’t feel that their physical appearance has changed, making it explicit that they have achieved other goals will encourage them to return. At the end of the day, it’s the new members who are most likely to quit. Let them know how well they’re doing and, hopefully, they’ll carry on.
2. Interaction and inclusivity
In order to make sure your members return, it’s key to let them know that you care. This, however, does not mean extra charges for missing a class or reprimanding, robotic emails for not attending a personal session. Instead, try to show your clients that you care and understand how tricky it can be to fit working out around a busy schedule. Send a message, or maybe even make a quick phone call, asking if everything is okay and if there is anything you can do to make attending sessions easier for them. Perhaps set up a reward system for a successful attendance rate. This way, not only will they feel like a valued member, but they will also know that they won’t be penalised for missing a week or two.
3. Creating a safe space
You need to let your members know how important it is to continue their membership during these unprecedented and unpredictable times. Physical exercise is incredibly beneficial to your mental health during a time when so many people are suffering from the effects of isolation. So, make it clear that you have measures in place to ensure your members stay safe. Send some information out to your members explaining the steps you have taken or hang a few posters around giving guidance to your members on how they can help everyone stay safe. This will show them that you’ve taken the time to think about. We are all limited in terms of what we can do at the moment - so make coming to your gym a number one priority to help people’s mind, body & soul.
4. Be personable
This relates to tip number 3 but is still incredibly important. Part of making your members feel comfortable is making yourself relatable. In times such as these, so many people need support, so it’s important to treat your members as friends rather than clients. When talking to your members, try using colloquial language rather than technical terminology, and let your personality shine through. A familiar and friendly relationship with your clients will increase the chances of them returning to your gym.
To conclude, the most important thing is letting your clients know that you care. By keeping track of their progress, understanding their difficulties in attending, and building a strong and close relationship, your client will feel like a valued member and won’t be able to resist returning.