MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
Table of Contents
1.	 ................................................
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
MobileFit Intelligent Fitness Systems
MobileFit Intelligent Fitness...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
The Retention Issue
There is no doubt whatsoever that retention is ...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
The Financial Impact of Poor Retention
Much research has been colle...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
Calculating Retention
Improving retention is the fastest way to enh...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
Tracking Membership Length
Possibly a more important measurement of...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
Why Members Leave
Retention is a complex issue that involves many f...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
10 keys retention principals
From our research and the considerable...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
3. Member Integration
Clubs should have a clear process in place to...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
5. Facility Utilisation
Research from several sources demonstrates ...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
8. Keep workouts shorter
One of the key reasons why people leave a ...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
Using technology to improve health
club retention
One major obstacl...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
3. Identifying Critical Members
How do we identify members who are ...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
8. Store Member Talking Points
Technology can be used to keep notes...
MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention.
We have covered a considerable amount of information
regarding heal...
MobileFit Technology and Retention
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

MobileFit Technology and Retention

1,954

Published on

Using technology to improve member retention.

www.mobilefit.com.au
www.mobilefit.blogspot.com
www.youtube.com/mobilefitaus

Contact Us
info@mobilefit.com.au

Published in: Health & Medicine, Education
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
1,954
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
76
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

MobileFit Technology and Retention

  1. 1. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. Table of Contents 1. ............................................................................MobileFit Intelligent Fitness Systems 2. ...................................................................................The Retention Issue 3. ...................................................................................Increasing Competition 4. ...................................................................................The Financial Impact of Poor Retention 5. ....................................................................................Unhealthy Australians 6. ....................................................................................Calculating Retention 7. ....................................................................................Tracking Membership Length 8. ....................................................................................What Should Our Retention Rate Be? 9. ....................................................................................Why Members Leave 10. ....................................................................................The 10 Key Retention Principals 11. ....................................................................................Focus 12. ....................................................................................Improving Member And Trainer Relationships 13. ....................................................................................Member Intergration 14. ....................................................................................Identifying Drop Out Risk Members 15. ....................................................................................Facility Utilisation 16. ....................................................................................Improving Member To Member Relationships 17. ....................................................................................Exercise Tracking 18. ....................................................................................Keeping Workouts Shorter 19. ....................................................................................Setting Goals 20. ....................................................................................Incentive Programs 21. ....................................................................................Using Technology To Improve Member Retention 22. ....................................................................................Measuring Facility Utilisation 23. ....................................................................................Communication 24. ....................................................................................Identifying Critical Members 25. ....................................................................................Incentive Systems 26. ....................................................................................Staff Accountablilty 27. ....................................................................................Storing Member Talking Points 28. ....................................................................................Assessment Reminders 29. ....................................................................................Personal Training 30. ....................................................................................Summary
  2. 2. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. MobileFit Intelligent Fitness Systems MobileFit Intelligent Fitness Systems is a product of over 8 years of research and ongoing development. We have worked closely with health clubs and industry experts to develop a system for health clubs to improve their overall performance and retention. It is our opinion that member retention is the single most important factor for operating a successful health club. Clubs with high retention rates enjoy greater profitability, word of mouth referrals and higher, additional non-mem- bership revenues. Many clubs do maintain memberships at a steady level; however, they fail to realize that for every member they attract to the facility, another is lost out the back door. We developed this document to educate Australian health clubs about why retention is such an important consideration, and to provide practical strategies to improve this vitally important area using modern technol- ogy. Technology can be a powerful tool in the battle of health club attrition. Technology allows us to measure, monitor and support people more effectively. This document will focus initially on factors that contrib- ute to retention, before further investigating practical strategies available, to slash member attrition. We hope it becomes a useful resource for your club as you strive to improve the performance of your organization. We wish you the best of luck! MobileFit has been a great well researched tool for us to offer to our YMCA members. I have found this to be a wonderful“perk”when we show off our fitness centre to any new members. Our members are amazed of the abil- ity that MobileFit gives them to track their workouts and to see the positive results of their hard work. When I see members using the MobileFit Kiosk, I know they are getting a great workout that has their goals in mind. I have also had great response from the MobileFit team. Each time I have a question, I know I am only a phone call or e-mail away from help! Thanks MobileFit for being a part of the Kearney Family YMCA!” Jacqueline Burns, Health & Wellness Program Manager Kearney Family YMCA, Kearney, NE “MobileFit has offered us a tool to track retention and flag at-risk members by identifying those who have stopped visiting our facility. This has completely changed the way we approach retention. Instead of be- ing reactionary, we are now proactive. It is an invaluable tool for any YMCA to identify at-risk members.” Michael Bodenhausen, CEO YMCA“of Idaho Falls
  3. 3. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. The Retention Issue There is no doubt whatsoever that retention is a huge concern within the fitness industry. Out of dozens of industry surveys performed each year, retention is com- monly found to be amongst the greatest concerns facing health club owners and managers. Retention is an area that has often been overlooked in the past; however, clubs are now starting to understand the true importance of retention to their performance. Despite that the issue of retention is very much on the industry radar; the factors contributing to retention are still not widely understood. What we do know is it costs approximately six times more to attract a new member than it does to keep an existing one. This highlights the urgency for clubs to shift their focus to a retention based strategy. Clubs that take immediate action effectively boost their retention and are likely to thrive as they move into the future. Those who continue to overlook this important area will face the challenge of dwindling membership numbers soon enough. Increasing Competition There was a time when competition within the fitness industry was limited. Health clubs enjoyed what seemed like an endless flow of new members. The focus for many clubs was sales, sales… and more sales. During this time, however, there was little focus on the large percentage of members who were leaving the club. The health club industry has changed considerably over the last ten years; competition increases every year with more and more clubs opening their doors. Nowadays, the public has a growing range of options for health and wellbeing. We have seen the emergence of hundreds of personal training studios, specialized boxing studios, express clubs for women and now the evolving appeal of the boutique, twenty-four hour clubs. This growth means that competition in the industry is getting stronger and stronger. The negative side effect is that it’s harder for clubs to attract new members. The public now have so many options when it comes to get- ting fit. Clubs now spend significantly more marketing dollars to attract the same number of members as they did five years ago. Many clubs are experiencing what could be described as the‘leaking bucket syndrome’- for every member they add to the club, another cancels their membership. This creates an equilibrium where they club’s membership numbers tend to stay much the same. Research suggests that most clubs lose up to one hun- dred and fifty members per year that are preventable. If clubs are going to improve profitability and survive long- term, they must plug this leaking bucket. Despite this fact, many clubs continue to invest signifi- cantly more into member acquisition than member reten- tion. In fact, many continue to completely ignore the high churn rate and simply try to out-run it, by selling more memberships. The problem they face is caused by more and more clubs saturating the market. Clubs with high attrition rates will be unable to utilize the band-aid solution of increasing new member acquisition. By no means should clubs remove total focus from sales and marketing; but the need for more attention on mem- ber retention is very clear. 24 hour fitness centres have experianced rapid growth in Australia with several clubs opening over 50 sites within a two year period.
  4. 4. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. The Financial Impact of Poor Retention Much research has been collected regarding the finan- cial impact of retention. The IHRSA Guide to Retention suggests that clubs should‘think small’when it comes to retention, as small improvements can have powerful impacts on a club’s financial performance. One particular study demonstrated that a 2% increase in retention to an average sized club could be worth up to an additional $32,000 in annual revenue. A further study demonstrated the importance of extend- ing the membership life of every new member. For a club with 2,000 memberships and an average revenue per- member, per-month of $70; plus an annual attrition rate of 40% (800 members) - extending the life of the average terminating member by only one month, would increase revenue at that club by $56,000. Even more surprising was the findings surrounding the long-term or compounding effect of retention: A study from the IRSHA Guide to Retention suggests that over a 5 year period, a 5% increase in retention could be worth $1M in additional revenue. Example Compare two clubs, with the same number of member- ships (3,000), the same pricing structure ($800 per year, per member) and same number of new membership acquisitions (1,000 new memberships per year) : If Club A has a retention rate of 65%, while the reten- tion rate at Club B is 70%; at the end of the first year, the difference between the two clubs would be more than $100,000! Over a 5 year period, just a 5% increase in retention could be worth $1M in additional revenue to you! These figures certainly highlight the importance of retention for health clubs. Unhealthy Australians Bad retention means that a large percentage of mem- bers who join a club, are neither reaching their goals, nor improving their health and wellness. In Australia, we continue to see a rise of health related issues such as Heart Disease and Diabetes. Diabetes poses a grave concern as its statistics continue to rapidly increase. It is estimated that 1.23 million Australians will have Diabetes in 2010. The estimated number of Austra- lians with diabetes in 2000 was only 940,000. A vast proportion of this stems from the inactivity of our population. The 2003 Australian Burden of Disease Study indicates that physical inactivity was the fourth leading cause of burden of disease in Australia. People who join a gym take a giant step towards improv- ing their health and wellness. Nevertheless, the poor retention rates seen across the industry suggest that very few of the members who join health clubs, actually sig- nificantly improve their health and wellness for the long- term. It is possible a large amount of this is due to human nature; however, clubs with higher retention rates are likely to be more effectively supporting their members. The fitness industry has an obligation to provide as much support and guidance to ensure that as many mem- bers as possible, achieve their health and fitness goals. Clubs with poor retention rates not only lose significant amounts of revenue, they also have little impact on improving the health and wellness of their members, of which is an equally important consideration. “Over a 5 year period a 5% improve- ment in retention could be worth 1 million dollars in additional revenue”
  5. 5. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. Calculating Retention Improving retention is the fastest way to enhance the operations of any health club. Most clubs experience a retention rate of somewhere between 50% and 60%. This means for every 100 members to join, approximately 60 are still members at the end of that 12 month period. This is an alarming statistic! Multi-service clubs such as leisure centers with pools and sporting stadiums tend towards slightly better retention rates than pure health clubs. Additional factors such as this should be considered when evaluating a clubs reten- tion performance. Results of research suggest there is a significant gap between high and low retention clubs. Some clubs enjoy retention rates as high as 90%, whereas others have recorded retention rates as low as 30%. This variability suggests that effective processes and strategies can have significant impacts when improving retention. Membership attrition is generally measured on an an- nual basis. The attrition formula is best calculated using the average opening monthly membership for a rolling twelve-month period. To calculate member retention we need to find the mem- bership attrition rate. Follow these steps: 1. Calculate the membership cancellations for each month then add these to calculate the total annual can- cellations. 2. Take the starting membership level for each month of the year then calculate the average annual member- ship level by adding these and dividing them by the 12 months. 3. Divide the total number of membership cancellations by the average membership level then multiply by 100 to calculate the attrition rate. 4. The retention rate is simply 100 minus the attrition rate. Example - Membership Attrition Rate Month Members Cancellations JANUARY 2555 50 FEBURARY 2565 55 MARCH 2570 60 APRIL 2570 65 MAY 2581 70 JUNE 2593 65 JULY 2613 55 AUGUST 2612 59 STEPTEMBER 2612 54 OCTOBER 2633 50 NOVEMBER 2632 62 DECEMBER 2638 63 TOTAL 2598 708 Please note: These figures are hypothetical and not intended to reflect those of a real club. Member Attrition=Annual Cancellation (708) / Average Monthly Membership (2598) x 100 MEMBERSHIP ATTRITION= 27.25% MEMBER RETENTION=72.75%
  6. 6. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. Tracking Membership Length Possibly a more important measurement of health club performance is the average membership length. The longer a member is part of a fitness club, the greater the likelihood they will be retained. How do we measure membership length? 1. Total the number of cancelled members for the month. 2. Calculate the membership length of each member by comparing start date and cancellation date. 3. Add all membership lengths for all cancelled members then divide by the total number of cancelled members. EXAMPLE Cancelled Members Member- ship Start Member- ship End Member- ship Length (months) James 12/12/2008 30/06/2010 18 John 21/08/2009 30/06/2010 10 Eamon 3/03/2009 3/06/2010 15 Ruben 5/06/2008 28/06/2010 24 Lucy 14/06/2009 7/06/2010 12 Average Membership Length = 15.8 Months Please note: The data used in the example is NOT indica- tive of a typical health club. As a club works to improve their retention, average mem- bership length should begin to slowly increase. We recommend that these two metrics become a con- stant focus for any health club. What should our retention level be? As previously discussed, most health clubs have retention rates of around 50-60%. This suggests that there is signifi- cant room for improvement. U.K. fitness industry research has found that the highest recorded retention rates for clubs are over 90%. At the op- posite end of the scale, some clubs have recorded annual retention rates as low as 30%. Every club will experience some attrition due to factors outside their control such as members relocating etc. It is estimated that these factors account for around 20% of the total attrition rate. Therefore, clubs performing at levels of around 75-85% retention are likely to be per- forming at close to peak performance and should focus on maintaining these levels. The best starting point for clubs is to establish their cur- rent retention rate. A 75% to 80% retention rate should be seen as a long-term goal with focus on a short term increases of 1-2%. Once these short term goals are set it is time to consider the appropriate strategies for improving retention. “Industry research has found that the high- est recorded retention rates for clubs are over 90%. At the opposite end of the scale, some clubs have recorded annual retention rates as low as 30%”.
  7. 7. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. Why Members Leave Retention is a complex issue that involves many factors. Several in-depth studies have been done into the attri- butes of high retention clubs. Research indicates that people who join fitness centers have various levels of motivation to exercise. Only about 30% can be considered highly motivated; in other words, left to their own devices, these individuals will tend to stick with exercise. The percentage of members with lower levels of motivation will often quit if they do not receive additional guidance and support. Joining a health club is a significant learning process for many new members. A large percentage of new members will have minimal experience within a health club. They must learn to use the equipment, manage their time and remain focused on their goals. Essentially, new members are often learning a completely new skill set. Recall the first time you drove a car: You were uncertain, uncomfortable and uncoordinated. After additional sup- port and guidance from your parents and driving instruc- tor; combined with ongoing practice and persistence, operating a car became an unconscious habit. A new member’s journey must be viewed in a similar manner. Those who lack experience must receive ongo- ing support and guidance through the very early stages, whilst they learn to feel comfortable with exercise. A recent study,“Why people Quit”, looked into members’ first impressions of their club. Of those interviewed, only 37% indicated they had received sufficient orientation; 24% of members said they were not impressed by the professionalism of the staff and only 21% felt that the staff took a personal interest in them. These findings clearly demonstrate that many new mem- bers lack the support they need to implement the habit of regular exercise into their lifestyle. The key for clubs is to activate new members and get them on the right track. Clear processes and support systems must be in place for trainers to guide members through the early months of their membership. In fact research into the correlation between facility usage and retention demonstrates how vital these early stages are for member retention. Findings from a U.K. fitness industry report, suggests an almost direct correlation between the frequency of visits in the first month of membership and the annual reten- tion rate. These findings clearly demonstrate that many new members lack the support they need to implement the habit of regular exercise into their lifestyle. In other words, the more frequently people visit in their first month, the more likely they will be retained long- term. The annual retention rate for those utilizing their club less than four times in the first calendar month after joining, was 59.1%.This compares to member retention rates of 67.3%, 72.2% and 78.2% for once weekly, twice weekly and at least three times weekly, respectively. An IHRSA study into retention exposed the major per- sonal reasons for leaving a club. The top reason at 43% was,‘member did not make enough use of their member- ship’. This further confirms link between facility usage and retention. Another interesting statistic noted that only 6% of low frequency users in the first month, managed to increase their frequency to at least once per week, by month three! This emphasizes the importance of acknowledging low frequency users early in their membership. It also highlights the importance of being proactive rather than reactive. Relying on the reactive approach to reten- tion; where the club’s attempt to re-activate people after several weeks or months of non-attendance, seems like a significant waste of time and energy. From this research, we have concluded that the introduc- tion and integration of new members to the club envi- ronment, is the most vital aspect in retention. Members who lack support, often feel overwhelmed, confused and frustrated; then to their own detriment, simply end up quitting.
  8. 8. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. 10 keys retention principals From our research and the considerable time we have spent with clubs the following strategies have been prov- en to have a significant effect on improving retention. 1. Focus The obvious first step to improving retention is to com- mence a strong focus in this area. This starts by determin- ing the facility’s current retention rates. Meeting with health club owners and managers has opened our eyes to the sheer number of operators who simply have no concept of their current retention rate. Clubs that measure their retention rates have the oppor- tunity to measure the impact of any strategies imple- mented. Managers should educate their training staff about the importance of retention, as well as develop a number of processes and expectations for staff to achieve. Retention should be one of the main points of agenda for every management meeting. An ideal, long-term reten- tion rate should be determined in addition to some short- term retention milestones. For example: If the current retention rate of a club is 52%, the manager may first set the goal to increase this rate to over 55%. It is by consistently measuring the retention rate that we identify the impact of any retention strategies being implemented. 2. Increasing Member and Trainer Rapport Extensive research has shown that clubs that have a strong member-to-trainer connection, maintain signifi- cantly higher retention rates than clubs that do not. Mem- bers who have a strong rapport with their trainer feel a greater sense of comfort within the club and are more likely to ask for any additional assistance if required. Ensuring staff engage with members on the gym floor is a great place to start. Personalized communication is very much the KEY and should take place early and often. Instruct trainers to record rapport building information about the member such as their interests and hobbies. Take the time to email or personally contact a member within the first week of their program commencement, to ensure they feel comfortable in the club. Clubs need to develop a structured and efficient follow- up process to guarantee all members receive adequate support. “Members who have a strong rapport with their trainer feel a greater sense of comfort within the club and are more likely to ask for any additional assistance if required.“
  9. 9. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. 3. Member Integration Clubs should have a clear process in place to introduce new members. 40% of these members have little or no experience in a health club. They are often overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. By having clearly defined member integration protocols, clubs can encourage consistent performance as well as provide all new members with the support they require. Make sure that all new members undergo a health evaluation and receive a structured exercise program to provide them with a basic understanding of exercise technique and how to effectively operate machines. A clubs retention process should be tied into the member integration process. All new members should be con- tacted by their trainer one week after their orientation to ascertain that they feel comfortable with their new program. A key area where clubs often fall short is after a member has completed their initial orientation. Often members lack support after this period and can lose their way, slipping out the door unnoticed. Offering regular re- assessments and program updates are vital as they serve as a consistent reminder to the member about achieving their fitness goals. It is an unrealistic expectation for trainers to be in contact with new members all the time during this period. In fact research has shown that staff can only support around 5-15% of members during any given week. This is where having a retention system that identifies drop-out risk members can be very handy. By identifying the mem- bers who pose a drop-out risk, the training staff can then focus on directing their limited resources towards these members. We will now explore this concept in greater depth. 4. Identifying drop out risk members As mentioned previously, when a club grows, their resources are stretched. With only 5 – 15% of members receiving adequate support, this leaves the vast majority of members receiving limited time, on a daily basis. In any club there will be a varying range of experience levels within the membership base. Some members will be veterans who have a long history of exercise, whilst others will be complete beginners. The chances of these veteran members leaving a club are significantly lower than a member who is new to exercise. As health clubs have limited resources and time to spend with their membership base, it makes sense to spend more time supporting and educating members with minimal experience, through new member orientation processes. But how do clubs identify members who need more sup- port after the member has been introduced to the club? In addition to‘risk rating’members at the start of their journey, we encourage clubs to be proactive in iden- tifying critical members over the first three months of membership. This can be done by gauging exercise consistency and facility utilization, which we will discuss in further depth shortly. Clubs need to carefully monitor individual member exer- cise patterns. This allows them to be proactive and iden- tify members who are on the decline and pose a retention risk. Is your club tracking member utilization?
  10. 10. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. 5. Facility Utilisation Research from several sources demonstrates the link be- tween facility utilization and retention. A decline in usage is a sign that a member’s perception of the value of their membership is moving in a negative direction. Often clubs wait until a member has not entered the club for up to a month before they make contact with them via letter or phone call. Often this time period is too long and too late. Being able to identify members who are likely to drop out by analyzing their exercise patterns enables training staff to devote more effort supporting these members. Facility usage in the first month seems to be the most important consideration in retention. Members who exercise less than four times in the first month of their membership have an average retention rate of around 59%. This can be compared to 73% for those who exercise at least twice per week. The goal for clubs is to ensure new members are exercis- ing twice per week on average. A further study showed that all members sampled were using the facility less than twice per week when they left. This highlights the importance of computerized tracking systems that allow clubs to see the exercise patterns of new members. By identifying a decrease in utilization, they can effectively support these members to keep them on track, before it’s too late. 6. Member to Member Relationships Our research has shown that members who exercise with friends and family have a higher retention rate than those who exercise alone. Multi-service clubs that offer multiple services such as swimming, aerobics and tennis also tend to have signifi- cantly higher retention rates than straight forward health clubs. Clubs should encourage members to participate in the variety of options on offer. We advise clubs to run social events where members can interact and get to know other members. Additional activities that promote the member-to-mem- ber interaction within a facility should be another vital ingredient in your retention process. Activities such as cir- cuit classes, boxing and other group fitness classes are a great way to improve the relationships within the facility. A final consideration for increasing member-to-member connections is to offer promotions and discounts for those who refer a friend, or join as a couple or family. 7. Tracking member exercise perfor- mance Tracking member exercise has two important benefits: The first we have discussed in great depth, which is the ability to analyses workout patterns and facility utiliza- tion. The more a member uses a facility, the more likely they will be retained. The second major benefit of exercise tracking is the mo- tivational effect on new members. It has been found that members who track their progress feel a sense of achieve- ment every time they complete a training session. This feeling becomes more and more powerful as they gain momentum in their exercise and results start to show! Clubs should encourage all new members to record their exercise including resistance, cardio and group fitness. This can be done on a standard card system or on elec- tronic systems through touch screen kiosk technology. “Facility usage in the first month seems to be the most important consideration in reten- tion”
  11. 11. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. 8. Keep workouts shorter One of the key reasons why people leave a health club is because they cannot fit exercise into their lifestyle. People have become busier juggling work, family, friends, fitness, and finances. The list goes on. When developing an exercise program and schedule, customize it for the member to realistically implement into their lifestyle. Take into consideration the individual’s time constraints and other lifestyle commitments. Provide members with a plan for achieving their goals and a schedule that fits around their day to day activity. It’s no coincidence that express workout options have become such a popular option for busy people. Half-hour workout programs allow busy people to retain consisten- cy whilst maintaining their other commitments. Avoid prescribing long and comprehensive, two hour exercise programs. Consistency should always be seen as a priority for any club. As members link their usage with value, the more you can encourage regular and consis- tent visits and the less likely it will be that members quit. 9. Set Goals Measuring members’progress is a further key to reten- tion. Most members join a health club with a genuine desire to improve their health and wellbeing. A member’s goals are a vital leverage point that should be used every time they enter the gym to get them focused and in tune with the reasons they started their journey. A long-term goal should be broken down into smaller short-term goals that the member can successfully achieve. Often the achievement of a long-term goal such as losing 15 kg can seem overwhelming and may pose a road block to gaining momentum. A great strategy is to set some goals that the member will achieve very quickly. This can include consistency goals eg: complete minimum two workouts per week for twelve weeks or physical goals such as, decrease waist circumfer- ence. This is why tracking progress can be such an effective strategy for improving retention. When a member can see progress in the early stages of their program, they will sense achievement, which will fuel continued application Finally, find a way to celebrate the achievement of each of their goals and recognize the levels they’ve attained. Members gain a great sense of significance when they are praised for their efforts. 10. Incentive programs Research has shown that if a new member can exercise consistently for three months, a positive lifestyle habit will begin to form and their chances of drop-out decrease dramatically. Well designed incentive programs can be a great way to motivate new members during the early stages of their membership. Develop reward points for members who use the club. This should include a clear pathway for members to prog- ress towards their goals. Set a number of goal levels and link rewards to these milestones. Rewards can include free personal training, membership discounts and mas- sage. In the past, clubs have struggled to implement such reward systems as monitoring member points has proved quite difficult. This is where technology can be used to implement such systems. Now we have a deeper understanding of some of the key principles surrounding retention, we will explore the power of technology and how this can be used to auto- mate and maximize retention processes.
  12. 12. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. Using technology to improve health club retention One major obstacle health clubs face is the complexity of implementing the necessary processes and policies to improve retention. Technology now provides clubs with the greater leverage to reach and support more members. We have explored some of the key factors of improving health club retention such as increasing member-to-train- er rapport, improving member-to-member interaction and monitoring member facility utilization. We will now explore how technology can be used to effectively imple- ment systems and strategies to apply these principles. 1. Measuring Facility Utilization Technology allows us to carefully monitor the facility utilization of members. As discussed earlier we have seen that those who use their club less than four times within the first month have a retention rate of around 59%. Conversely, those who use their club more than twice per week in the first month of their membership, have a retention rate of around 73%. Tracking the facility utilization is a powerful resource as it provides a key measure of the effectiveness of our reten- tion strategies. This can be viewed in two ways: The first is to look at the average facility utilization. If a club has an average facility utilization of 0.9 visits per member, per week, it is highly likely that this club has an average to poor retention rate. If a club has an average, fa- cility utilization per member, per week of 1.5 visits, we can assume that this club is more likely to have a significantly better retention than the previous one. Clubs are well advised to measure this metric and aim to slowly improve and increase it overtime. The second key utilization metric to track and categorize, is the percentage of members who complete less than 4, 4 – 7, and 8+ facility visits in their first month. Our aim is to get a higher percentage of members into the 8+ visits category as they will typically have the highest retention rate. A member management or exercise tracking system should provide you with these key reports. If your provider does not provide these reports, discuss your requirements with them. They may be able to provide you with custom reports for these metrics. 2. Communication As we discussed earlier, member-to-trainer connection is one of the most important factors in the retention puzzle. Most clubs face the problem of limited staff. Technology such as email and SMS allows us to more quickly and easily engage with members. This can be a powerful tool when linked with a member’s‘risk rating’. By using these technologies to engage and support‘reten- tion risk’members, we can limit the number of people who slip through the cracks. Providing members with email support from their trainer allows any questions they might have after their initial program start, to be addressed. This constant connection between trainer and member increases the opportunity to offer personal training and assures them that they are supported. Another‘must’for health clubs is to mail-out a monthly e-newsletter to their client database. This can be used to inform members of new and updated services available, as well as creating top-of-mind awareness. “Technology such as email and SMS allows us to more quickly and easily engage with members”
  13. 13. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. 3. Identifying Critical Members How do we identify members who are losing motivation and on the verge of leaving a club? Computerized member feedback systems can provide health clubs with an array of useful information. The prob- lem many clubs face is that tracking member progression and goal achievement with the conventional workout card system is time consuming and provides little feed- back on members. By tracking member exercise patterns we can monitor the‘retention temperature’of each member. If a member completes less than four workouts in the first month of their membership, this particular member has a higher possibility of quitting than a member that has completed ten workouts in their first month. Tracking the workout patterns of members through feedback systems allows clubs to be proactive in their approach to retention. The member with less than four workouts can be engaged and offered additional support such as personal training, to ensure they feel comfortable and remain on track to reach their goals. These systems are most effective when the system auto- matically detects and compiles a list of critical members for staff to follow up and engage with. 4. Incentive Systems Activating members during the first three months is vital. Using incentives and linking these to rewards are a great way to engage members in the goal setting process. In the past, monitoring and implementing such incentive programs have been difficult and time consuming. Tech- nology now allows clubs to track and implement these programs with greater ease. For example, the MobileFit Wellness Points System is an incentive scheme that monitors a member’s progress and rewards them points for completing regular physical ac- tivity. When a member reports feedback using MobileFit, they will receive points for whatever exercise they have completed. Clubs are best advised to reward members early as this provides them with a sense of achievement and excite- ment which can provide a platform to launch from. Be sure to offer long-term rewards that a member will value. For example, some clubs have provided free massages, iPods and even accommodation for members who dem- onstrate outstanding, long-term facility usage. 5. Staff Accountability Quality staff members are one of the most important aspects of retention as they are responsible for the direct interaction and support of members. New technology is allowing clubs to monitor staff performance and follow up with members. Imagine being able to see if your trainers have actually followed up with retention risk members. This reporting is often called a staff engagement report. It is designed to measure the number of required, follow-up actions that a trainer is expected to take. A follow-up ac- tion may be an email message to a‘retention risk’mem- ber or a phone call to book an appointment. The engagement report can provide key data on staff per- formance including the average time staff are taking to complete required follow-up tasks. This form of report can be integrated with staff perfor- mance incentives to reward staff for high performance. Staff that fail to support members effectively can be iden- tified and provided with additional training or replaced with more compliant staff members. “The process of friendly reminders for members due for re-assessment can significantly in- crease the uptake of re-assessments.“
  14. 14. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. 8. Store Member Talking Points Technology can be used to keep notes about a mem- ber’s interests, hobbies and fitness goals. By storing this information trainers can review it before re-assessment to broaden the conversation and interest in that member. This strategy is most effective when all trainers and even front-of-house staff have access to this information. One problem health clubs face is that when staff mem- bers move on, a large amount of important information about member’s interests and history can be lost as it is held in the memory of the staff. Information should be gathered on a member’s goals, hobbies and passions and available to other staff mem- bers for rapport building purposes. Example: Member James’goal is to improve his cardiovascular fit- ness and leg muscle strength for a marathon in June. The benefit of technology in this instance is that clubs can quickly access and review this information with the click of a mouse; rather than sorting through a filing cabinet to access this powerful rapport building material. Linking a member’s information profile with photos can multiply the effectiveness of this strategy. 9. Assessment Reminders Despite the fact that most clubs offer free re-assessments and program updates to members, we have found that only a very small percentage of members book a re-as- sessment. This means that a large percentage continue to use a program that is out-dated and no longer suited to achieving their fitness goals. We have found that the process of friendly reminders for members due for re-assessment can significantly increase the uptake of re-assessments. This strategy is difficult using the traditional approach to storing assessment data on a card, as staff must sort through this information to determine who is due for re- assessment. This is often why clubs leave the responsibil- ity to the member themselves. Fitness assessment software is the best way to monitor members who are due for re-assessment. This can be linked to email or SMS technology using reminders for members who are due and would benefit from re-assess- ment. Reports can be generated for members who have not been assessed for a specified time period ie: six weeks This simple strategy can help ensure members continue on the path to their health and wellness goals. 10. Personal Training Create a personal training funnel! Personal training is a great retention tool. Members who take up personal training receive more support and guid- ance. This can be a great way to activate new members whilst the habit of regular exercise forms. Clubs are well advised to convert as many new members to personal training as possible. The best way to achieve this is to focus on new members and identify members who have dropped out in the past. Technology that gauges a new member’s experience and motivation levels are great as the can provide clubs with a report on the members who fall into these categories. Create a monthly newsletter that promotes the benefits of personal training and target this at your inexperienced list. Personal training should be presented as an option for new members that are struggling within the first month. This is where predictive retention‘drop-out’reporting can be powerful. Discounted, promotional personal training packages should be offered to these critical members as a way to keep them on track.
  15. 15. MobileFitUsing Technology to Improve Member Retention. We have covered a considerable amount of information regarding health club performance and retention in this document. We encourage clubs to consider some of the suggested strategies in this book and develop their own unique retention strategy. Clubs must find what works for them. Let’s summarize the key points of discussion: • Most health clubs in Australia are losing significantly more members than they should! • Small improvements to retention can have incredible impacts on health club profitability • A large percentage of members will likely drop out of a health club within twelve months if they lack support and guidance • Health club utilization is closely linked to retention • Clubs should consider having strong and clearly defined member integration process to assure new members receive adequate support and follow up. • Clubs should develop a system to identify‘drop-out risk members’to minimize attrition. • Increasing member-to-trainer connection and identify retention risk members are two key principals of retention • Gym floor staff should be responsible for engaging and supporting‘retention risk members’and should be rewarded for high performance • Clubs should encourage participation in group activities such as group fitness classes and circuits or exercising with friends. • Technology provides clubs with greater leverage to monitor connect with and support members. We hope this document has provided some great new ideas and inspiration to improve retention in your club.

×