How to Retain Clients When the Only Constant Is Change
By Trey Nordone
Remember Zumba and Tae Bo? What about those in-your-face, late-night Bowflex infomercials? If we’re getting into some fitness nostalgia, who can forget the incomparable Richard Simmons and those outfits? Whatever happened to all of those fads? We see it all the time in the health and wellness sector. One day everyone is into CrossFit and Keto, and the next day, everyone is talking about goat yoga and goji berries. The only thing more frustrating than staying ahead of the trend curve is trying to combat high churn rates, especially among younger gym goers. By looking at how experts monitor and predict trends on a national and global scale, we can learn a thing or two about modern member retention.
How the economy affects fitness trends
A combination of economic and lifestyle factors shape emerging and popular fitness trends among various demographics. Much of the time, it’s about innovation striking at the right moment in the economic climate. For example, in 2008-2010, the Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends saw a shocking rise in the popularity of things like fitness balls, core training, personal trainers, and pilates. The financial crisis saw a decline in expensive equipment like stationary bikes, making way for much cheaper props and aerobic activities. An influx of educated and certified personal trainers in the market made that route more accessible and affordable for consumers. As the economy has improved, however, we’ve seen a return of heavier equipment like rowing machines, bikes, treadmills that are being incorporated into the personal training and group exercise settings.
Economists and industry leaders pay close attention to these relationships in order to find any indication of future trends and the staying power of current ones. Just as constant collection and analysis of industry data is important on a macro level, so too is it crucial to scale for your own business. Customer feedback is one of the most effective ways to discover trends and influences, internal and external, among your own members. While economists and industry researchers are often shackled to hindsight, however, you have the advantage of being able to gather and act on data in real time.
How feedback can increase client retention
Incorporating the right customer feedback tools and practices is the key to a winning retention strategy. Aggregating feedback responses in real time and in one place allows you to spot patterns at your locations, better train your employees for more positive interaction, and follow up with any potential issues before they become system problems. Not only can you recognize what members like and dislike about your operation, but you cultivate a sense of belonging and care for each member through your efforts. While we all hope to establish a lasting relationship with members right away, relationships grow and change. Just as it pays to study overall industry trends, it pays to listen to trends on a personal level. By creating and maintaining this dialogue, you and your members can work together to become a lasting brand that you’re all proud of. After all, stellar customer experience is no passing fad.