If you’re struggling with member retention and want to master the art of preventing cancellations and re-engaging members, you’ve come to the right place. In this installment of his three-part success series, the Retention Guru himself, Dr. Paul Bedford, tackles these tough questions:
- How do I measure retention and member churn?
- Who is responsible for member churn?
- What are the signs a member is considering canceling?
- How do I talk to members about cancellation?
- What are some innovative approaches for re-engaging members?
Start Thinking About Cancellations Early — and Often
The webinar kicks off with Dr. Bedford explaining the difference between retention and attrition, as well as who is responsible for each. The answer? Everyone at your club is responsible for keeping members engaged and happy.
Then, Dr. Bedford explains the importance of understanding the lifecycle of your members, so you can start to identify points when you can preempt cancellations — long before the thought even hits your members’ minds. If you plant the seeds early, you’re taking a proactive approach and preventing members from making reactive decisions about leaving later.
For example, after a member signs up online, it’s important to follow up immediately. This can prevent them from calling their bank and disputing the charge or canceling because of buyer’s remorse because they feel like a transaction rather than a part of your club community.
Ultimately, most members will let you know that they’re planning on canceling, which gives you the opportunity to do everything possible to avoid losing them (more on that in a bit). Dr. Bedford also offers tips for what to look out for that might indicate a member is considering leaving. Here are some behaviors to keep an eye on:
- Members not coming in as frequently
- Members not opening emails or unsubscribing from emails
- Members sharing complaints on review sites or social media
- Members sharing complaints with staff while in the gym
When you understand why a member might cancel, you can more proactively combat losing them. Active listening is a powerful tool for combating member churn, so train your employees, instructors, and trainers to be on the lookout for members who aren’t as happy at your club as they once were.
How to Re-Engage Members Who End Up Canceling
No matter how hard you try to keep members, you’ll still experience member churn. To make the exit experience as positive as possible, set up and provide canceled members with an exit survey. An exit survey can provide great insight into not only why the member canceled but also into what other members may be experiencing.
Be sure that you ask open-ended questions, rather than questions that can be answered with a quick “yes” or “no.” You want to truly understand why they’re leaving, which actually may help you re-engage them to come back at a different time.
When trying to re-engage members who’ve canceled, Dr. Bedford recommends creating a thoughtfully paced, limited-time re-engagement campaign. Don’t go too hard, but don’t ignore them completely.
“If they’re not unsubscribed, they’re interested in your content. Share content with them: fitness tips, workout of the day, workout of the month, challenges you’re doing,” he says. “Just stay in touch with them. You’ve got an opportunity to recover them if you stay in touch with them.”
For example, if a member left because of the cost, after a few weeks, let them know they’re missed, then share what they’ve missed since leaving, and finally offer a discounted membership or other offers to entice them re-join.
Watch the Webinar and Reduce Member Churn
Dr. Bedford ends the webinar by looking at current member behaviors (compared to pre-pandemic figures) and how the data can help you retain more members and create more compelling content.
Watch the Full Session Now
Are you ready to learn more about creating or revamping your club’s onboarding experience? Watch the complete webinar series now to learn how to build an effective and thoughtful member onboarding process.