It’s January, and new students are streaming into your classes. Your regulars are inspired to up their commitment. There’s an energy and buzz to your fitness business. So how do you keep your students coming back, after those New Year’s resolutions fade?
We talked to the experts to get the lowdown. Here are our Top 5 Tips for Creating an Extraordinary Customer Experience (That Will Keep Them Coming Back!)
If you’ve got a small, boutique fitness or yoga studio, your advantage is that your environment is more intimate than giant gyms and clubs. Increasingly, people are seeking out supportive, friendly and low-pressure places to get fit and healthy. Maximize this by making a specific goal for you and your instructors to ask your students about themselves, their lives outside the classroom, and their biggest health and wellness aspirations.
With the right wellness management software (Check out Punchpass’ client notes feature), you can type quick notes on each client into their profile. Train your instructors to read these and update them after classes, so they can personalize their interactions with each student.
One simple, yet powerful way to reinforce this connection is to make a point of calling your students by name, inside and outside the classroom.
“I remember many moons ago, someone told me something that stuck to the inner regions of the brain and soul: The most pleasant thing a person can hear is the sound of their own name. They were right then, and are now!” said Laurie Towers, fitness entrepreneur and owner of Physical Advantage, an award-winning sports massage brand. “Not getting lost in the shuffle, and having your credit card carrying, check writing, faithful followers feel they are being heard is a guaranteed way of keeping your finger on the pulse of not only breeding a more satisfied customer, but a steady stream of income.
Distinguish your fitness or yoga studio by offering students programs and support that they can’t get anywhere else. Reece Mander runs two small gyms in London, UK, and has an 80 percent retention rate after seven years in business. She says her focus on personalizing each client’s fitness program has been the key to her success.
Her gym offers students complimentary personalized nutrition coaching, supplement plans, lab testing, hormonal profiling and body fat measuring.
Reece also pioneered a buddy system where workouts include two students with one trainer, instead of the traditional 1-on-1 method.
“It breeds such a different atmosphere where everyone pushes themselves just that little bit harder because someone else is there too,” said Mander. “It also improves your environment around you and you build friendships, which keeps you coming back to your sessions and for the experience.”
Whether you own and operate your own space, or rent space to teach classes, you can focus on a few simple upgrades to delight your students inside and outside the classroom. A welcoming environment should include pleasant smells – consider diffusing oils – lighting that not harsh or too bright, and décor that’s uplifting and inspirational. Make sure fixtures are in working order and the toilets are clean!
“Taking the time to keep the interior clean, beautifully and tastefully furnished, with essential oils and candles as well as well-placed motivational quotes, pillows and decorations can make the world of a difference in providing a welcoming atmosphere customers want to come back to,” said Stacy Caprio founder of Growth Marketing.
Consider creating an inviting space for students to gather before and after class. As bonus, offer tea, healthy snacks or green drinks.
Another great way to keep students engaged is to offer how-to’s, moves of the day, or poses of the week. You can communicate these to your students in multiple ways: through social media posts, with online videos, and through emails to specific clients after a class or workshop. (Punchpass offers a simple, easy to do email follow ups.)
“The success of your boutique studio lies in a strong relationship with your members. You need to add value to your business and your members,” said Daniel DeMoss, personal trainer at Matrix Gym in Denver, CO. “Whether it is blogs, videos, photo sharing, or by using any other quick tip, you should educate and inform your clients. This customer experience based on knowledge sharing has long-lasting attributes.”
Another simple, and powerful way to build community and loyalty online is by featuring your most inspiring students on social media, said Nicolle Harwood-Nash, writer for The Workout Digest.
Create a “student-of-the-month” and tag their story. You can even print a poster with their picture and hang it outside your classroom. As a bonus, give that student a free class or training, as a reward.
Lastly, you can distinguish yourself and create true connection with your community by emphasizing your gym or studio’s special personality, and by taking your passion for helping others out into the community. There’s nothing more powerful than leading by example, and living your own talk. Consider yourself and your instructors as brand ambassadors everywhere you go.
“When classes that were once full are now half empty, it has nothing to do with the weather (on vacation, holidays, etc.) or equipment (newer bikes won't fill classes),” said Barbara Chancey, founder of Barbara Chancey Design, a boutique fitness firm focused on studio interiors.
According to Chancey it’s all about people, and how you and your team bring the love of what you do to each student, day-in and day-out. Being yourself, and avoiding copy-cating your competition will help you stand-out.
“Instructors are the heart and soul of every successful studio, and their creativity and ability to command a room are essential for success,” Chancey said. “Harness the power of creativity to spark imagination and curiosity to make your clients keep coming back for more.”
We’d love to hear from you! What amazing, creative ways have you discovered to wow your clients and keep them coming back for more? Drop us a line and let us know!