Written by Julie Allen, Customer Engagement Coach at The Retention People (TRP)
Whilst we have reopened our doors across the UK over the past weeks, many of our members are yet to return.
In fact, research into over 8 million gym visits shows attendance is down 46% year-on-year for the period.
Now, whilst some of this will be down to members attending less frequently as they get back into their routines, and some members will, unfortunately, have dropped out, a proportion must also be attributable to a group of members who still hold their memberships but haven’t returned for some reason.
If we want to avoid these members becoming part of a cancellation statistic in the weeks and months to come, we need to proactively reach out to them to re-engage them and get them back in.
It starts with understanding who hasn’t come back to exercise with us, why not, and working out what we can do to increase the chances of them doing so.
The first step is to pull a report of these members from your member management system and import it into a survey tool. From here you can send them a short questionnaire which will allow you to understand their concerns.
Your key questions are:
- Why haven’t you visited us since we reopened?
- What can we do to get you back in the club?
Keep it short and snappy to increase response rate. And if you can use multiple choice questions rather than free text, it’ll make the next stage must easier.
Once you have received your responses it’s time to get into data analysis mode.
From your analysis, you should be able to identify key themes, and these will become the focus of your comms to rebuild confidence.
Because these members aren’t coming into our facilities, we’ll need to utilise our digital communication channels, most commonly email and social media.
These mediums can be effectively used in combination to build a strong, rounded picture.
For example, posting your Covid-security measures and sharing photos of happy members in your club on social media as social proof will paint the right picture which email can reinforce and ultimately drive action via incentives to return such as offering a programme review, a free protein shake from reception, or a bring-a-friend day pass, for example.
Whilst a large proportion of the population is happy meeting friends, going shopping, and eating in a restaurant many still aren’t. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has worked from home for the past 12 months, has their groceries delivered to their door, and has been getting by on home haircuts. They have had full control over their environment for such a long time it is really going to take some courage to throw themselves back out there into the wild. Do I need to wear a mask or don’t I? What if someone gets in my personal space? What do I say to the receptionist? Without your support and reassurance, it might just all be too much, and the easy option is to stay away.
It’s all about making your members feel comfortable, easing their anxieties, and building their confidence.
But all your hard work will be undone if when that member does build up the courage to visit, the expectations you have created aren’t met.
This isn’t something you can turn on and off, they won’t be wearing a t-shirt that says, “it’s my first time back!”, so you’ll need to make it part of what your staff do day-to-day, if it isn’t already, for every member who comes through your doors.
I am sure your hygiene and social distancing is on-point but think about your customer experience. How are you welcoming your members into your facility? From reception through to the gym floor. Social interaction is more important now than ever before and that all important first impression will set the scene for that member’s entire visit; make or break.
The journey finishes right back where we started, in your survey tool, closing the loop with a post-visit questionnaire.
Was the visit as expected? What went well? What do we need to work on? When will you be coming back to see us again?
Not only does this survey provide immediate invaluable intel, but it also reinforces to the member that you care. You’ve been with them every step of the way and are committed to helping them get back into their healthy lifestyle.
Contact TRP today to see how they can help you re-engage your post-lockdown absent members via their member engagement software.
Visit the TRP website here.