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Member retention success: Understanding surveys and feedback loops

 

How can you use surveys and customer feedback to attract new members to your club and, more importantly, make sure they stay? In this blog I’m going to share with you some invaluable tools that you can use to gain important information about your customers. I’m also going to tell you what you can do with that data in order to create member retention success. 

A robust methodology

If you want feedback from your customers, always think about why you're actually asking them questions. What is it you're trying to understand by getting feedback from your members? Who are you wanting to hear from and who is actually responding when you send out a survey? For feedback to make a difference to your business, you need a robust methodology.

Think about the timeline of them being a customer before you survey them. Are you going to ask them for feedback on day five, day ten, day 90? Or maybe your goal is to get to know what’s going on with your customers at different points throughout the calendar year; Where are they in terms of experiencing some of the products or services that you're providing?

What’s the most appropriate measure to get the type of information that you want in order to make improvements within your business?

 

The power of in-person surveys

 

Now, I am a fan of in-person surveys. In fact, I cut my teeth on in-person surveys when I was commissioned by Life Fitness here in the UK, as well as when I worked for David Lloyd Health Clubs.

In-person surveys are a great way to not only gain feedback about your club but also show members that you care about their views. By being face to face with your customers you can pick up on nuances in their answers. You can hear pauses in their sentences. You can hear how they put an emphasis on certain words and not others. You can also see when a customer is thinking about their answer and changing their mind before they actually say what they're going to say.

The other thing is, in-person surveys allow you to get feedback immediately – and take immediate action when necessary. When members are leaving your club, make sure your staff ask them how their workout was. If their response is negative, take action. If it's positive, at least the customer leaves the club that day with a positive memory as they're walking out the door.

Remember to keep your surveys short. Ideally, no more than 10 questions.

 

Not all surveys are equal

Not all surveys are equal. Before you start asking customers about their club experience, make sure you understand what you are trying to achieve with the data. Consider how frequently you are going to survey your customers, the sample size of those surveyed, the time you conduct the survey, the methodology, the representative sample and non-responders.

Customers who've been a member of your club for four years or more have 48 months’ worth of experience in using your facility to draw upon. And people's opinions of your club can vary over time. For this reason, try to sample the same people each time.

 

How to measure member experience 

Even though Net Promoter Score is the main score used across the industry, there are other types of scores that elicit different information and should be used at different times.

 

Think about using the Customer Satisfaction Score, the Seamless Experience Score, and the Contact Resolution Score. For example, if someone makes a complaint, is it dealt with? And how long does it take to get a resolution for the problem? Also think about an End to End Experience Score which looks at how the customer felt about your business before joining and after leaving. 

If you want to focus on Net Promoter Score, make sure it includes feedback from your employees. There's a strong relationship between happy staff and happy customers.

 

Understanding sentiment

You don’t just want to pick up on data points when you do customer surveys, you also want to understand the sentiment behind the answers that your members are giving to questions.

For example, let’s look at customer Joe’s experience: from joining, downloading the app, booking an appointment, attending the appointment and so on. If, after four visits, we conduct a Net Promoter Score and get 3, we should really try to understand what the sentiment is around that. Why is it that after joining and visiting the club four times, Joe only gives us a score of 3? What’s going on?

There is some great software out there that can help you measure sentiment such as Medallia by MXM.

 

Case study: University of Hertfordshire’s Sports Village

The University of Hertfordshire, located just north of London, is an academic institution that has students and commercial customers using their Sports Village but had a problem: they weren’t able to retain customers.

By using surveys and various methodologies to gain an understanding of their members, their Director of Sport, Dave Connell, began implementing powerful changes to the business. These measures resulted in more people wanting to use their facilities.

They’ve seen a 35 percent increase in revenue over two years and a membership retention of 73 percent after 12 months. They’ve also reduced staff attrition from 50 percent to less than 10 percent.

 The key to their success? A desire to really want to understand their customers and provide a great service. 

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