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31 May 2022

Harnessing the power of member engagement

Nothing quite says "we care (but not really)" like the automated weekly check-in form...

At the absolute heart of a successful small group training gym is customer experience, engagement, and a genuine care for your members.  However, so many SGPT facilities find themselves simply ticking boxes.

We send out weekly check-in questionnaires because our "business guru's" tell us that's what we should be doing, right? However, in doing so, we tend to spend little time in considering what we're trying to actually trying to achieve, let alone the experience and relentless drudgery we foist upon our members.

In our guide, 7-lessons, we talk about "closing the loop". Feedback and engagement is a critical element for:

  1. having your members meet their goals;
  2. them staying motivated and enjoying coming to your facility; and
  3. them continuing to renew their high-value memberships with your gym.
Weekly check-ins and member engagement

But ask yourself these questions?

  • Beyond coaching a session, how often do I actually interact with my members on a regular basis?
  • Do I actually look at the responses to the 'weekly check-ins' that I send out?
  • Would I notice someone that is struggling and needs help, especially if they have asked for it?
  • Do I 'close the loop', acknowledging and reacting to interactions that I receive from my members?

 

I don't have the time/resources?

Unsurprisingly, this is the most common retort from SGPT gym owners when they are asked about their interactions with their clients. It's an easy, dismissive answer, right? And, what's more, it's probably fairly true.

This is the scenario typically found when a gym owner is busy building themselves a 'house of cards'. Typically they are on the constant hunt for new members, due to attrition out of the bottom end. Chances are that they have more members than they can comfortably handle, because they are charging too little for the service that they are attempting to deliver.

Many facilities operate a grim hand-to-mouth existence, because they are constantly on the hamster wheel - trying to keep the business wheels turning.

Cultivate success through engagement

Whilst many gym owners perhaps see it as a bit of a chore, effective engagement with your members is what will enable your business to thrive and be profitable. By fixing the leaky bucket, your members will see better results; be more satisfied with your level of service; be more likely to renew their memberships; and be willing to pay higher membership fees.

The common misunderstanding that engagement requires a lot of time from you and your team. Whilst it requires a little, what it requires more is a commitment... A commitment to consistency, processes, and to closing the loop.

An example I have given previously is the all-too common "bulk recipe drop". Within our sector, a vast number of gym owners buy the recipe packs available from providers such as Exceed Nutrition. Whilst these are fantastic resources, the benefit to both the gym and its members are almost erased by dropping a 60Mb+ PDF file on them in one hit by email - often leaving members bemused and, quite amazingly, both overwhelmed and underwhelmed simultaneously!

Successful SGPT facilities understand the power of the 'drip-feed'.  They send out recipes over a period of time. What's more, they give them context and tie them into a broader community activity - such as with SGPT Infinity's "Friday-night Fakeaway".

Implement practices that scale

Automations, workflows, and processes are essential to be able to deliver a high-quality of service to your members. However, these automations need to work with you and your team, as opposed to instead of.

There is an art to setting up effective workflows.  It takes time.  This is where the experience of the Quoox team and the comprehensive nature of a SGPT Infinity subscription can make a fundamental difference to the viability and success of a SGPT gym.

The manner in which you engage with your members can play a big part in your success and their perception of your business. Presented with the options of email, SMS (text) message, push message, or phone, many facilities will opt for the cheapest option. With the aim of saving literally a few pence per member, the knock-on affects and eventual, consequential losses from making a poor choice of communication medium can be considerable.

EMAIL

An email is the cheapest method for communicating with your members. They are perfect for long-form messages, such as newsletters or updates and, when written in an immersive format, can be engaging.

Typically, emails should encourage feedback, and the reply address should come to a mailbox regularly monitored by your team.

PUSH NOTIFICATION

Push notifications are great for sending short, one-way messages to your members, such as "don't forget this Sunday's bootcamp". However, statistics show that as many as 60% of members have push notifications disabled.

Psychologically, push notifications aren't viewed with the same level of importance as text messages. Moreover, their "one-way" nature does not promote conversation and interaction.

SMS/TEXT-MESSAGE

Whilst they incur a nominal charge, text messages carry more psychological weight than push messages. Delivered via the member's default message app, they are a medium in which the member can engage and respond, but they can do so in a manner than is convenient for them. Too many app developers get drawn into the mistake of thinking messaging is their domain, and thus requiring users to move between a multitude of apps to consume their correspondence.

TELEPHONE/VIDEO CALL

Besides in-person, a telephone or video call is, of course, the most personal of communication methods.

If, for example, a member indicates that they have sustained an injury, a phone call to check on their progress and recouperation is invaluable in terms of customer service. A genuine care is what your members crave, and will go a long way to helping you build a successful training business.

If you are delivering high-ticket memberships, your members expect you to provide regular touch-points - and there is absolutely no excuse not to meet these wishes.

Every member of a SGPT training gym should be assigned a "mentor" or staff member who is responsible for overseeing the well-being of that individual. This person needn't necessarily be their coach, or even be a coach at all for that matter.  Their role is to stay in regular contact with the member, and ensure that they are receiving a high-quality of service and care.

With most gym members attending twice (ideally three times) per week, and with small group sizes typically being 4-8 members, it is not difficult to ensure that every individual receives a "personal touch" every 2-weeks or more. This is beyond saying "hi" to them as they arrive or leave a session, but spending a few minutes to check-in with them, ensure they are happy & progressing in their training; check they are aware of and are accessing their membership resources; and addressing any issues that may be raised (following-up as appropriate).

Touch points and issues should be recorded and logged against the member's record so that, in the mentor's absence, another staff member can pick-up seamlessly.

By engaging your members in an effective, personal 2-way interaction they will likely benefit from the superior service and achieve better results towards their own personal goals. They will value their membership more, likely be willing to pay higher fees, and will keep renewing.
Find out how we can help your SGPT gym...
Written by Chris Windram.

Alchemy

Alchemy provides the system, resources, and the practical advice & support that gym owners need to operate a profitable, "high ticket" membership, small-group training gym. Alchemy is the ultimate "SGPT toolkit".
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