How Do You Ensure Every Member Feels Valued Enough To Get Referrals Without Overkill

March 26, 2012

There’s a fine line between making new members feel special and constantly making them feel pressured to try new services. We’ve all heard the horror stories of new members who felt like the personal trainers in gyms were like vultures circling around fresh meat. While that may seem overly dramatic, it happens far too often and is not good for anyone involved.

Since we all know that happy members, especially new ones, ultimately lead to more referrals, how do you leave new members feeling special and valued without overkill? A good rule of thumb is to set a clear and concise process for your staff to follow with new members. Then OVER COMMUNICATE with your staff to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to new member protocols.

Here are some basic, but important, tips to share with your team to keep your new members coming back for more:

  1. Give new members special attention – when a member scans their key tag and their name pops up on the screen, any staff member standing there should greet them with a smile and say their name, while making eye contact. And when a member leaves, a staff member should tell them goodbye and to have a nice day/night when they leave. This seems like common sense but is largely overlooked when the front desk staff is busy signing up new members. These little gestures make them feel like you’re always happy to see them, and give them a much needed pat on the back when they leave.  You can use DataTrak’s alert system to identify new members by join date to help the front desk with this key process!
  2. Define your process for how your trainers interact with new members – it’s a great idea to make new members aware of your personal training programs and any classes available to them, but too often this can lead to overkill. It’s critical that you set up a standard process for introduction and follow up, so that the member does not feel overwhelmed. Be sure to answer the questions of who should contact new members, why they are contacting them, how to contact them, and when should they contact them. Ultimately, the more comfortable your new members are in the club, the more likely they are to use your services. Define the interaction, so that your staff knows exactly what you expect.
  3. Offer special deals, discounts and coupons – if you want to encourage more referrals and cross-market your products and services, you offer some sort of incentive to new members and prospects. Many times the only way some people will even try new things is if there’s a discount or coupon involved. And what better way for new members to get more prospects in your door then by giving them the exact tools to do it with. It’s so easy for new members to share their experiences with a co-worker about your gym by simply handing them a 10% off coupon or no joining fee card to try it for themselves.
  4. Take complaints and suggestions seriously – for some members, it takes a lot of nerve for them to complain or make a suggestion, while others may never be satisfied, but you have to treat each complaint or suggestion like they plan on telling 10 other people about your gym when they leave that day. We’ve all heard the saying that one unhappy customer tells 10 of their friends, so why not use this as motivation for yourself and your staff to give this new member excellent customer service? This could be a story they tell their friends about how they mentioned something once and it never happened again because the people at your gym really listen to their concerns. Take complaints seriously, take action to fix them and turn a complaint into a referral!