Concrete Loyalty: 4 Ways to Make Your Fitness Clients Love You …Forever
One of the greatest challenges that we face in the fitness business is client retention, and this is largely the case because our clients’ needs will often change from season to season. It’s also one of the primary reasons why we often find ourselves with a reduced number of session bookings and gym memberships in the middle and end of the summer months.
However, let’s not forget that this is the an issue, which just about any business (whether or not we’re talking about the fitness industry) has to deal with. These days, companies are understanding that it’s time to revitalize the way we think about customer care, because that’s really the biggest issue that differentiates between keeping customers for years or losing them in a matter of weeks.
So here are 4 ways to keep your clients falling in love with your fitness business, so that your off-seasons are busier and your on-seasons provide even more opportunities to grow.
# 4 – Flexibility Means Client Convenience
In recent posts, I’ve discussed how important it is for fitness pros to provide a wide variety of payment methods for their clients. Whether it’s inventory, scheduling, or forms of payment: the company that adopts more options for their customers, increases their opportunities to do business.
For example, if a client wants to pay via digital wallet -and the company doesn’t have that payment option- then this opportunity might be lost. It’s not that the client couldn’t pay the fee or that the business couldn’t provide the service. The money was on the table, but the company didn’t have the means by which to put that cash in the bank …and in my opinion, that’s a huge waste, especially with how much technology there is available for companies to bridge this gap. According to Adobe’s Marcel Boucher, this need is actually quantifiable:
The numbers also shed light on just how important a focus on convenience can be to any new product release. According to ADI, 23 percent of mobile purchases used alternate payment methods, such as digital wallet payment options, while 19 percent went to tablet users, leaving 16 percent of alternate payment methods stemming from desktop use.
This is why using apps, several different payment methods, and a variety of scheduling options offers clients a higher level of flexibility -and these days, it’s far cheaper and easier to do so, than in previous years.
#3 – Show Appreciation
If you’re in search of ways on how to create concrete loyalty amongst your client-base, then believe it or not, you could simply start by remembering the following information about your clients:
- Client names
- Names of client’s family members and friends (when it comes up in conversation)
- Birthdays and important dates
- What they like to do for fun/hobbies
- What they do for a living
Obviously, you don’t to be creepy about obtaining all this info; but if it comes up in conversation, then say it in your head 6x and then write it down in your go-to notebook after the session. This kind of tactic is among some of the long forgotten customer appreciation strategies that you might find in How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie), and trust me when I say that it works wonders. How so?
It shows that you appreciate them enough to remember things that are important to the client, and thereby, it makes the client feel important. That’s called a relationship, and is the bedrock of all thriving businesses.
#2 – Underpromise and Overdeliver
When it comes to generating customer love, one of the most interesting aspects about the topic is that it’s not really about the quality of products or services (as long as they’re up to basic standards and the prices make sense, of course). Actually, it’s mostly about customer perception. Here’s a fantastic video from Rory Sutherland, which sheds a tremendous amount of light on the topic:
For instance, one of the best ways to alter customer perception is to address the issue of timing. People have trouble with negative uncertainty, which is one reason why a company will promise delivery of an item in 5 business days -while delivering in 3 business days after it was purchased from the online store.
So for fitness trainers, you could set your prices at a certain rate, but make a habit of knocking 5% off the price just because the person had an awesome session. The client’s pleasant surprise will generate a feeling of gratitude and appreciation for the gesture. And that’s the power of positive uncertainty.
#1 – Celebrate Their Successes
This particular tip is unique to the fitness business, especially due to the fact that the vast majority of us are ‘goal-oriented’. Clients come to us, because they’d like to accomplish something important to them, through using our services. So in a way, you could say that our primary service/product isn’t necessarily the fitness training or workout sessions themselves -as much as it’s the accomplishment of reaching the client’s fitness goal.
With that said, the more we feel a rush for accomplishing our goals, the more we find ourselves drawn toward achieving more …it’s probably the healthiest addiction known to humanity.
This is why I see tremendous value in celebrating client successes, especially because it increases the value of our product in the client’s perception. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Offer a celebratory promo to the client.
- Give a gift card, or products from your nutrition business, or even the gym you’re meeting them in.
- (With PERMISSION) Post the client’s success on your social media pages, because recognition and support is a massive morale booster.
Celebrating the client’s reached goals provides them with a sense of belonging, a sense of appreciation, and gives them just another reason to keep up their hard work and commitment to their health and well-being.
20/20 Hindsight: Brainstorm From the Client’s Perspective
Think back when you were training under your coach. What would you have liked to see your own fitness trainer do back in those days? What was it that made you stick with that trainer or gym? What was it that made you leave (or even avoid) other trainers or gyms in your area?
Overall, your best bet is to look at your customer service from the client’s perspective, especially since loyalty depends on client perception.
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