We asked Meredith Jurek, CMO at Self Esteem Brands (Anytime Fitness and Waxing the City) what technologies she is using to understand her customers, improve their experience, and keep them coming back. Here’s what she had to say.
The two main ways we use technology to help us understand and retain customers are through our retention and PLEASE scores.
Historically, gyms have measured retention risk by tracking visits, but we want to measure retention risk by overall engagement with the formula: Frequency x (Usage + Value + Digital) = Retention. For this, we look at group classes, email interactions, gym usage, and other activities. We bring all the research together by integrating technology tools like gym operating software and mobile applications.
What this technology has shown us is that the industry is plagued with two key issues: member retention and personal training income. Anytime Fitness has always been a team that can score (acquire new members), so now the focus is on playing solid defense (retention). Communication from fitness and reception staff is so highly valued that nearly nine in 10 members say they value fitness staff communication.
We now know that if both reception and fitness staff always speak to all members, it’s estimated that 44 percent of cancellations would be avoided. Additionally, if the fitness staff never speaks to them, the likelihood of a member canceling in a given month is around 3 percent. We’ve diagnosed the problem and have dug deeper into our research to find a solution.
In addition to our retention score, Anytime Fitness and Waxing the City leverage the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology to track the loyalty and satisfaction of active members and clients. The program started in 2013 for U.S.-based gyms and is currently rolled out to international gyms in various languages, making it a global program that hears from more than 250,000 members per year.
When members/clients provide feedback, gyms and studios are alerted so they can follow up to thank them for their feedback and take any action on improving their experience. With more than two-thirds of Anytime Fitness and Waxing the City respondents being promoters, the brand takes advantage of activating their feedback on social media and review sites.
Drivers of high scores in our business stem from the quality of our people. The biggest drivers of high PLEASE scores/NPS include engagement of staff, communication with the gym or studio, and results provided to clients. While technology engagement continues to grow, our people will always play a leading role in the retention and repeat business of our members/clients.
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