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Retention Convention 2019

Retention: The importance of self-knowledge

There’s no one thing that will fix your member retention, but clarity of mission, a strong culture and an eye for data will drive significant change. 

The fitness industry today is a place of blurred lines between a proliferation of business models. Before you can define your customer experience, or create your customer journeys, you need to define who you are.


Be absolutely clear about who you are and who you’re targeting, and build a company culture that reinforces this at every touchpoint. Only then will you be in a position to deliver the sort of compelling customer experience that will keep people coming back for more, and paying for the privilege.

California-based Chris Stevenson, owner of Stevenson Consulting and IHRSA Board member  – took up the theme of culture.

“Your company culture must revolve around creating an unparalleled customer experience,” he said. “Our mission statement is: ‘Everyone leaves feeling better than when they arrived.’

Jose Teixiera of SC Fitness in Portugal, "We also know they’re more likely to drop out if they don’t do an induction, or if they don’t work out in the first 30 days of membership; 49 per cent of those establishing this early habit are still active at 19 months, versus 37 per cent of those who don’t, so we incentivise it.  Based on this work the proportion of members still active past 12 months has also risen over the last few years, from 47 to 57 per cent.

Dean Hodgkin, speaking about his 28 years at Ragdale Hall. His key message: create meaningful interactions. “People come to Ragdale to create memories, not to consume products,” he said. “We need to make it memorable. “That starts with looking after our staff, because they then look after our guests better. And our staff do feel looked after: 139 of our 502 employees have been with us for 10 years; some have been with us for 30.”

A four operator panel discussed how they were ailing retention in their businesses, with contributions from, Stuart Martin (Active Nation), Dave Connell (Hertfordshire Sports Village), Ian Davies (Wellington Health and Fitness) and Caroline Martin (Yoga Squad)


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