Written by Julie Allen, Customer Engagement Coach
Whilst much of the fitness industry has reopened its doors across the UK over the past weeks, many members are yet to return.
In fact, research into over 8 million gym visits shows attendance is down by 44% year-on-year for the four weeks to 16th May compared to the same period in 2019.
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 yet.
To avoid these members becoming part of a cancellation statistic in the weeks and months to come, we need to proactively reach out and re-engage with them to win back their attention and attendance.
By understanding who hasn’t come back and why, we can work out what is needed to increase the chances of them doing so.
Here is TRP’s guidance for re-engaging your post-lockdown absent members this Spring;
Gathering Customer Feedback
The first step is to reach out to your absent members and ask them why they are staying away.
You should be able to pull a report from your member management system that will show you all your members who haven’t attended since reopening, which you can then upload into a survey tool to allow you to send out a short questionnaire.
You want to find out:
- Why they haven’t visited you since you reopened
- What you can do to get them back in your facility
Step two, once responses have been collated, is data analysis.
From your analysis, you should be able to identify key themes, for example concerns about social distancing or lack of direction in not having a workout programme, that will become the focus of your email communications campaign to rebuild confidence.
You have identified the common barriers and your job is now to help your members see past them. Try to put yourself in their shoes, what seems insignificant to you could be a major obstacle to them. Keep your language positive and focus on the end benefits they will get from working out with you. Help them imagine how good they will feel after their first visit back – make it worth them leaving their comfort zone for.
Think about your call-to-action. Once you have alleviated the member’s concerns, what are you going to say to get them to take action, now. A programme review, free coffee from your café, or bring-a-friend day pass are examples that could tip the balance.
Delivering Your Promise
For those members you do manage to turnaround, the first visit back is so important. If the experience in your facility doesn’t live up to the picture you painted in your comms then all your hard work has been wasted and you may never see that member again.
This campaign needs to be a joined-up approach between marketing and operations to ensure you don’t under-deliver.
Identifying these particular members isn’t going to be easy; they won’t be wearing a t-shirt that says “It’s my first time back!”. You’ll need to ensure that positive behaviours are embedded into your team’s daily activities so that every member coming through the door has a great experience.
Closing the Loop
Just as we started, customer feedback is crucial to how we end.
Using your survey tool, close the loop with a post-visit questionnaire asking questions such as;
- 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 genuinely care and are by their side every step of the way.
Contact TRP today to see how we can help you re-engage your post-lockdown absent members via our member engagement software.
Visit the TRP website here.