I was asked to represent the fitness industry at the physical activity and community sport conference in Budapest in Hungary. I thought I had 90 minutes until I got there when I was told you have 15 minutes. So this is the result.
Below is a transcript of the Move Congress 2019
I'm Dr. Paul Bedford. I have a PhD in behavioural psychology, applied to fitness environments. I started in the fitness industry having spent 12 years as a plumber. So by trade I'm a plumber. And then I got into fitness because I was into exercise and I worked in my local YMCA, which is a charitable organization in the UK as a volunteer instructor. They then gave me a job. I moved up through that organization till I was running their facilities and then I've moved on to work in both public and private sector. But there was, I've always been a drive for me to understand why people start, but don't keep going with exercise. So after a number of years, I did a master's degree at City...
This article first appeared in Fitness MANAGEMENT international (Germany)
In this article, we want to explain the factors that have a lasting influence on member retention for fitness studios, as well as provide food for thought and possible solutions for your studio practice.
In the first part of the article in fMi 1/2021 we illustrated the two basic factors for effective retention of your members in your studio: the regular visits of your members to the studio as well as the finely "dosed" interaction with members and prospects.
As the third most important aspect of member retention, we have identified "programming" in the team. This refers to the training offered in the studio in general as well as its individual design in the form of training plans. What training options does the club offer its members and how does it communicate them to its members and interested parties. In order to be able to better understand the mechanisms in this area, we divide...
The blog was originally written for the Fitness Business Podcast. If you would like to read it in its original location click on the link at the bottom of this page.
While most people today know me more for work on retention, attrition and member loyalty, the first half of my career was as a fitness instructor, a personal trainer and a trainer of trainers. Much of this time was focused on anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and exercise program design. I thought I was pretty good at exercise program design but I could never understand why customers and clients wouldn’t stick to these programs that I had crafted for them, and that’s why I began to study psychology.
Two masters degrees, numerous short courses, workshops and a PhD later I am still just a focused on improving exercise adherence and retention.
Much of what I have been reading in the past two years has been in the area of experience design. My rational is if members have a better experience they stay...
I’ve said it in meetings, at conferences and in webinars that the member experience and member service is one of those parts of your business that you just can’t afford to get wrong. The recent pandemic has seen many businesses relocate staff from brick and mortar to work from home environments. Often without sufficient training or the technology to support such interactions. I have changed my business banking and telecoms supplier during this time simply because my existing providers were not able to meet my self-service needs. Yes I do want to be able to do some things using self service tools, particularly if they are routine behaviours.
With so many more interactions and transactions taking place online, members are really getting an insight into those businesses that have evolved and those that are still lagging behind.
Think about how uncomfortable you feel when you hear someone speak negatively about their experience with your business and how often is it because...
Your business is constantly experiencing change. Whether caused by the global pandemic, fitness trends, new technology implementations, procedural updates, department reorganisation, or customer/member service improvements, change is constant and necessary for growth and profitability.
Developing a consistent approach to the measurement and management of your retention processes will aid in maximising the impact it has on your customer/member s and staff.
One of the most common challenges operators describe to us about tackling retention, is there are so many things they could do, but they don’t know where to start. What should take priority, what will have the biggest impact and what will be the easiest to deliver.
In this blog I will talk about the planning and communications required to develop a successful retention plan.
1. Begin with the End in Mind
Yeah one of Stephen Coveys seven habits, but it’s a concept that has been around since the beginning of time....
Q1. If you were to pick just three KPIs for clubs to focus on around member retention, what would they be and how often would you be tracking their progress daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
The first thing I would look at measuring is the retention time and I'd be doing this perhaps every four months, maybe twice a year. Certainly at the beginning of a project, we will always use survival analysis to measure the gap between when people join and when they leave and when people join and when they stopped paying. So we use survival analysis to do that.
That gives us a curve that allows us to see where to intervene in order to improve customer retention. If the curve looks like one of those Olympic ski slopes that the ski jumpers use and there is a cliff almost straight away, that tells us there is a different problem than if there is a fairly flat line for the first three to four months, and then it starts to drop away. So the first thing we would measure would be the time that someone...
This week, on the Fitness + Technology podcast, host Bryan O'Rourke welcomes special guests from across the industry in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. As leading thinkers and experts in fitness and club operations, listeners will hear their foresight into the future and how you can stay prepared in this time of uncertainty. The upcoming podcasts will be a series of interviews we hope will be of value to you as this situation unfolds. If there is anything we can do for you, please reach out @bryankorourke or at [email protected].
Please know, we will get through this. We send our prayers and best wishes to you and your families.
One Powerful Quote:
Retention is the period of time between when someone joins and they either stop exercising or when they stopped paying. Depending upon the markets we work in, it depends which one of those two or if we measure both.
Attrition is the number of people that cancel from your business. So one is measured in months and the other is measured in people, so they're not the opposite of one another, Like many people think. They're related, but then they are separate measures completely.
Lots of people say, oh well if your retention is this, then your attrition is the opposite.
We use traditional statistical analysis that's found in medicine insurance companies to actually track and plot what people are doing. Some of the things that the Fitness industry use to measure attrition just have no value. You might as well measure the size of a room with an ice cream.
Retention needs to be measured in people, not percentages.
The approach that's most appropriate, is called survival analysis. Survival...
No staff who sit on treadmills while clients workout are NOT what I am looking for in staff. Our research has shown that staff to member interaction has been hugely effective at increasing member retention. One of the characteristics of clubs who retain their members for longest, is the staff they hire.
The most effective clubs hire employees with specific traits and characteristics that will enhance the business. Hiring the ideal member of staff is not just about who is the most knowledgeable because information, technique, and systems can be taught. Recognising the best qualities of an ideal candidate is important in order to determine who will work best with other members of staff, who is most apt, and who will also become a strong asset. Assuming that our fitness staff have an appropriate qualification to do their job the following 10 items become the essential criteria for recurring staff that can assist in the development of a member and increase retention.
Here are 10...
In the final part of our series on customer retention, Digital intervention for retention not sales we explain how to use CRM systems as a digital intervention for retention…
Most CRM and marketing systems are all aiming to resell. Think about your Facebook feed, if you click on an ad you’re then haunted for the next three months by the fact you searched for a new greenhouse for your Grandfather! But it doesn’t have to be like that. You can use the same technology when someone has joined your club to send reassuring, supportive messages.
So, when a new person signs up from your joining page, send them a thank you note and use a retargeting pixel to interact with them via pop up messages during their first three months of membership, such as ‘How are you finding the club?’, ‘We're glad you're part of our community’, ‘Here's a testimonial from someone who's achieved similar things to you’. You can simply...