The fitness industry has evolved exponentially within the last few years. Long gone are the days of fitness enthusiasts signing up for gym memberships at one gym instead of another based solely on equipment, classes, and the cost of the monthly membership fee. While getting a good workout used to be the most important aspect of a gym-goer's experience, in 2021 this is no longer the case.
Please don't misunderstand. Providing your gym members' with heart-pumping, blood-flowing, sweat-inducing workouts is vital to the success of your fitness center. But even more vital is the all-around experience that your particular gym can offer. And offering your members an excellent "experience" is all about providing excellent customer service.
Unlike businesses in other industries, such as retail, the customer service experience that takes place at a fitness center is much different. Your gym probably doesn't have a customer service counter like the kind you would find in Wal-Mart, and it doesn't need one, though it wouldn't hurt to bookmark How Customer Service Impacts Your Loyalty Program to read later.
For fitness centers, great customer service boils down to offering your members enhanced experiences that they won't be able to find at your competitors' gyms. In this article, you will learn about those enhancements and how you can integrate them into your customer loyalty rewards program in order to "wow" your current members, attract new ones, and expand the reach of your business beyond the geographical radius of your gym's location.
DECOR & ATMOSPHERE
Did you know that the way in which you arrange your cardio machines and weightlifting equipment throughout your gym can have a direct, albeit subconscious, effect on your members? The same is true for how you furnish and decorate the lounge, juice bar, and various workout rooms. The colors used on the walls can either energize or relax gym-goers. Call it Feng Shui or color therapy, the fact of the matter is that the decor of your gym will influence the atmosphere of your business and ultimately influence your members. Consider painting bare walls with stimulating colors such as red and yellow; stencil motivational phrases and incorporate your logo on either the floor, archways, or walls; and be honest with yourself if areas are too cramped with equipment and make adjustments accordingly.
ACCOMMODATE THE FIT & THE FIT-NOT
Observe your current membership and ask yourself, does everyone appear to be cut from the same cloth? Or rather, molded from the same clay? Hey, it's great if the majority of your members have managed to achieve sculpted physiques, but where you see living testimonies of how effective your gym is, others might see meat-heads and gym-rats they find intimidating. Further, if you're maintaining social media accounts for your fitness center and aren't consciously curating your posts, people could be intimidated without ever having to set foot inside your gym. Be sure to tailor a portion of your social media posts and advertising so that you're targeting everyone, especially people who aren't necessarily fitness inclined. You can also offer a full range of exercise classes that accommodate different skill levels. Most importantly, try to be conscientious with how you represent your gym in reality and online. Remember, all of it impacts your brand.
OFFER ONLINE FITNESS CLASSES
Have you ever felt too fat to work out? If not, you're lucky, but there's a whole demographic of people out there who honestly feel that they need to lose weight and get into better shape before they'll feel comfortable enough to show up at your gym. And guess what happens? When left to their own devices, they rarely pull themselves together--mentally and physically--to actually come in, sign up for a membership, and get into a solid health and fitness routine. This is where offering online fitness classes can help expand your business' reach. When you enlist cardio, training, and toning instructors to host online group classes, you will attract new members who prefer to work out in the privacy of their own home. Plus, you can even launch an online-only gym membership program, which can help you reach a national--or possibly international--audience. Using social media marketing, attracting new members from all over has never been easier. Not to mention, your current members will appreciate the option on days when inclement weather would otherwise prevent them from working out.
OFFER CONVENIENCE ITEMS
Have you ever checked-in at the counter only to realize you forgot your water bottle, hair elastic, or weightlifting gloves at home? Maybe it was a yoga mat or protein bar that you left behind. The last thing you want to do is go home to get it and wind up missing the entire class or worse, arriving home and losing all motivation to head back out again. Gyms that have these kinds of convenience items for sale end up greatly enhancing the overall customer experience for their members. When you offer items like towels, mats, energy drinks, and even headphones that can either be bought or redeemed for loyalty rewards points, then your members will feel like you're looking out for them and can meet all of their needs, even before they know they need it!
EXTEND YOUR HOURS
In recent years, 24-hour fitness centers have grown in popularity, and accommodating this 24/7 need has been a long time coming. While most people really are 9-to-fivers, there are a little over 5 million Americans out there who work the "graveyard shift" and an additional 2.4 million who are assigned rotating shifts that have them working those wee-hours of the night. You don't have to be open 24 hours a day to attract this untapped pool of potential gym members, but by extending your hours of operation, you'll certainly increase your chances of gaining new members who would otherwise be sleeping during your hours of operation. If you usually close at 9pm, try staying open until 11pm. Or if you usually open at 7am, experiment with opening just one hour earlier. If your business is located in a rural area, this might not be cost effective. But if you're in a city or the suburbs, extending your hours could have a direct impact on new enrollment.
ASK FOR ONLINE REVIEWS
It's not as awkward as you might think! In fact, the majority of your gym members would be more than happy to write a positive review about your gym to post on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other business review boards. But they aren't going to do it unless you ask them, not because they don't have great things to say, but because the idea just simply hasn't crossed their minds. It's just one of those facts of life. The only time consumers jump to write a review all on their own is when they've had a horrible experience and they are trying to exact their revenge--insert wicked cackle here...muahaha, muahaha, muahahaha! You can incentivize your members to write positive reviews online by giving them a modest freebie from your items, such as an energy drink, or by offering them rewards points if they're enrolled in your customer loyalty rewards program. Either way, racking up positive online reviews is an important aspect of growing your business and establishing the value of your brand.
LAUNCH A LOYALTY PROGRAM
Customer loyalty rewards programs have the power to increase gym membership enrollment, sell merchandise and other amenities, and stimulate free word-of-mouth and social media marketing, all of which can help to grow your business and solidify your brand within the fitness industry. If enrolling new members into gym memberships is a priority, then signing your current gym-goers up for your loyalty program must be just as much of a priority. The good news is that when you include information about your customer loyalty rewards program in your social media posts and other online platforms, you'll be able to attract even more customers who will want to take advantage of both.
Here are some fun ways to get the most out of your loyalty rewards program:
Freebies--Who doesn't love free stuff? Crazy people! When you provide loyalty members opportunities to receive freebies, you can quickly increase rewards program engagement. To get "earn and burn" momentum, offer your loyal customers ways to easily rack up points that can be redeemed. Even classic punch-card strategies can work well in a gym setting, such as buy 10 post-workout smoothies, get the 11th one free! You might want to set up a loyalty-members-only Swag Shop. What Is The Swag Shop? is a great article to read if you're interested in learning more.
Member Discounts--Personalize the loyalty rewards you offer by setting your program up to assess member favorites and automatically extend discount incentives on those items. For example, if one of your members is in the habit of always buying a bottle of water and protein bar upon arriving at your gym, then your loyalty program will identify those items as that member's "favorites", and you can leverage that data to boost both sales and member satisfaction. By extending a discount on those items "if and when" the loyalty member follows-through with certain calls-to-action, such as leaving a positive online review, or simply by discounting those items as part of a "surprise and delight" campaign, you will effectively increase loyalty engagement and strengthen your relationship with that member.
Referral Rewards--The most valuable free marketing around will always be word-of-mouth marketing! For more detailed information and advice on that, please bookmark How to Build Word of Mouth Marketing and give it a read when you have time. The bottom line is that referrals work. These days, most consumers will trust their friends' recommendations before they'll trust a well-crafted advertising campaign. You can encourage your loyalty members to recommend your gym to their friends and family by offering them a $15 discount on their next month of service for every new member that they get to sign-up at your gym. You can implement the same strategy for your online-only members, too, who get others to enroll in online-only memberships with your gym.
Believe it or not, this article only scratched the surface in terms of detailing all the ways in which your customer loyalty rewards program can enhance the customer service experience that your gym members have on a day-to-day basis. If you would like personalized, hands-on help with launching a customer rewards program at your fitness center, our loyalty strategists can assist you in getting started with Loyal~n~Save.
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.