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How to Improve Client Retention


Did you know that it can cost as much as nine times more to acquire a new member as it does to retain an existing one? Nine times. This is a statistic according to a Club Industry Report regarding member engagement and retention.


Almost as shocking, most gyms lose 50% of their new members within 6 months. These glaring statistics illustrate a clear problem in our industry. So, how can gyms and training facilities work to solve this potentially debilitating problem?


Here, we’ll outline three key tips to improve your member retention.


Related: 3 Client Retention Tips for Sports and Fitness Businesses


Customer Onboarding

First impressions can go a long way when it comes to member retention. From the moment a new member signs up, walks through your doors and interacts with your staff, they are forming their first impression. According to an article by the NY Post, you have 27 seconds to make a good first impression. In those 27 seconds, a client could be deciding whether or not they sign up or leave. Because of this, it’s even more critical to have a customer onboarding process that will make those first 27 seconds memorable for each new client from the moment they walk through your doors. Successful customer onboarding can increase customer retention by 5%, which reaps a potential 25-95% increase in company revenue in the end.


Having a process in place is important, but it’s just as critical to have a well-trained staff to execute it. The goal of onboarding is to help new members get acquainted and comfortable with your facility. Your staff is ultimately that first interaction and therefore responsible for ensuring this happens. The process can and will vary depending on the specifications of your client personnel, culture and business model, and it’s important to ensure the staff is aligned and versed before they officially join your team.


Tip: Marketing surveys are a great way to learn if your new customers are being successfully onboarded. Through a survey, you can collect information about their decision to join, their expectations, and their previous experiences. This information will help you gain a better understanding of the clients you’re attracting and how to meet their expectations.


Additionally, when it comes to sports business marketing, new member surveys help you determine where most of your traffic is coming from. Are customers finding you via social media? Are they being referred to your business by other members? Once you have these answers, you will be able to make informed decisions that continue to encourage this behavior.


Upper hand – member retention


Open and Approachable Communication

There is a fine line between over communicating and under communicating with potential new members and existing members. A constant and open line of communication regarding facility updates is key to fostering engagement and keeping members informed. Successful gyms offer clients multiple avenues of communication, so the client feels comfortable reaching out with specific questions or requests. We’ve seen success with our customers offering the ability for their clients to contact them via phone, text and/or email.


Tip: Positive or negative, your customers are an extension of your brand. In fact, research has found that 13% of sales are driven by word of mouth. So, how can you ensure your customers feel valued and satisfied at your facility? How can you ensure they feel open to communicating with you about changes they’d like to see?


Regular customer satisfaction surveys can be used to better understand your customers’ experiences, as well as determine areas that can be improved. By monitoring customer satisfaction, you may be able to pick up on small issues that may have been overlooked, and be able to make improvements that increase satisfaction and reduce churn.

Download: 9 Free Marketing Survey Templates to grow your member retention



Growth occurs through feedback, so why not ask your customers how you can be a better facility for their needs? Not only does this provide you with valuable information to make changes, but it also makes customers feel heard.


An accidental missing piece of the feedback puzzle that we see our customers routinely skip is the regroup touchpoint following changes. Let the customer know that you listened to their feedback and are taking steps to implement those changes, and survey them to evaluate if your changes met their expectations. This additional feedback will either validate the changes made or elicit additional changes needed to make the membership the most valuable for customers. Keeping that constant stream of communication is key to customer satisfaction and ultimately, retention.


Tip: You wouldn’t start offering a new class unless you knew it was a good fit, right? Well, lucky for you, you can leverage marketing surveys to generate feedback on a specific class or offering. By surveying participating clients, you can gain a better understanding of their experience in order to continually improve and tailor your offerings to fit their needs.


Likewise, you can also gauge the success and impression of your staff members by asking your clients to provide feedback as it relates to the instructor of a class or lesson. By using marketing surveys to keep a pulse on your staff and your offerings, you will again be able to provide a premium client experience.

If you are struggling with client retention, you are not alone. But as we outlined, there are ways to collect data to help you improve this statistic. Implementing fitness and sports marketing surveys into your client communications can greatly improve your client retention. From gaining new member insights to uncovering reasons for churned clients, you will be able to gain stronger insights into your business that inform smarter decision making.


Upper hand – marketing survey template


Upper Hand is what studios, gyms, and academies use to grow their business. Get a demo today.