Marketing

6 Reasons Why Gym Members Quit And How To Retain Them

Vaishwi Sinha

A lot more people seem to be interested in working out and staying healthy over the last few years, and the fitness industry has sat up, taken notice, and changed the way they operate. The focus now is all on customer experience.

For example, boutique gyms and fitness studios are all the rage, unlike the sprawling branded gyms of yore. Another notable change is that most fitness businesses no longer tie members down with a yearly lock-in contract. Now, a person can decide to pay a monthly membership fee and stop whenever he feels like it.

It is no surprise then, that as many as 50% of all new gym memberships are discontinued within the first three months. This is a serious concern for business owners since it puts pressure on their marketing mechanism to constantly find new customers.

A lot of business owners are hesitant to find out why their gym members are quitting, often because the reasons may show their gyms in an unfavorable light. However, if you own a fitness business and want to get to the root of the attrition your gym or fitness studio is dealing with, this short read may prove to be an eye-opener.

We’re breaking down the top 6 reasons why gym members quit, and what you can do to retain them.

The importance of retention in the fitness industry

Getting in new members is always great for a gym, and that’s the reason why every fitness business needs a strong marketing strategy. However, acquiring a new customer will cost your business five times more than retaining an existing one will.

Simply put, you will save money by putting in efforts to retain customers who want to discontinue their membership, and we have some helpful tips on how you could do that.

Top 6 reasons why gym members quit

Very often, the reasons why someone may want to discontinue their gym membership are easily addressed. Here are the top 6 reasons why people leave their gym memberships.

1. Goals aren’t being achieved

The reasons why most people join a gym are simple. They either want to achieve that perfect beach body, lose weight or just start living a healthier lifestyle. Some of them may choose to pay extra for a personal trainer or a dietician, while others may stick to group classes and look to the internet for knowledge.

Either way, one of the main reasons why people quit their gym memberships is that even after putting in what seems like a lot of effort, they do not see themselves achieving their fitness goals.

2. No sense of community

Remember when you were a kid and you joined a new school? The first few days would have been miserable until you started making friends.

Working out at a new gym feels pretty similar, especially if you do not have anyone to buddy with or keep you company. A lot of new gym members quit their memberships because they don’t feel like they’re a part of a like-minded community, or that they belong.  

3. Lack of appreciation

Let’s use another childhood example to drive this point home. Imagine a kid gets straight A’s on all his tests in school, and his teachers just hand him his papers without a word of appreciation. That child is going to be crestfallen and crushed.

That’s pretty much how a person who hits the gym regularly and pushes themselves every day to do better feels when they don’t get any motivation or appreciation for their efforts. They feel demotivated and over time, will lack the drive to continue working out.

4. Boring workout routines

A common occurrence in a lot of fitness studios is that while members are full of enthusiasm for the first couple of months when they join the gym, they run out of interest before long, causing them to lose focus and eventually drop out altogether.

The main reason for this is that the workout routines they are made to practice are often repetitive and unimaginative. As a result, they become bored with the same routine week after week and may either stop working out or change gyms in search of different experiences.

5. Poor customer service

When a member has great experiences with you and your staff consistently, they’re bound to tell their friends about your gym. As a result, you can expect membership numbers to not only stay constant but to increase.

However, customers who have been treated badly will not only discontinue their membership with your gym, but they will also talk about their bad experiences. This could mean you lose out on their business and risk your reputation being tarnished.

6. Outdated facilities

You may think your gym has everything a person needs to get or stay fit, and while you may be right, you may want to stop and check if you’re keeping up with the times.

Outdated facilities come in all shapes and sizes, including the type of gear you use to what you offer in terms of customer service, membership renewals, courses offered, facilities, scheduling, and more.

All customer-centric businesses are now making improving their customer experience and engagement their top priority, since that is primarily what drives customer loyalty in today’s day and age. Maybe it is time for your gym to work on some of these aspects as well.

Retention solutions

Now that we know what some of the driving factors are for people quitting gyms, let’s take a look at how you could address these problems.

1. Set practical goals and expectations

It is very important to first understand where a person stands in terms of physical fitness and body types when they join your gym. This, combined with what their fitness goals are, should help you set practical timelines and expectations for them even before they start working out at your gym.

For example, a person who needs to lose a lot of weight has to understand that it will take time, but by putting in consistent effort while exercising and by following a healthy diet, they will see their desired results.

2. Build your own community

Building a community in your gym is important, and customer engagement is key to building that community. Here are some of the things you could do to build your own community in your gym:

  • Encourage your members to follow you on social media, and follow them back.
  • Keep them updated about what’s happening in the gym by creating a group on Telegram or Whatsapp.
  • Host weekly or fortnightly group sessions, allowing members to interact with each other.
  • Encourage advanced members to mentor newer members. This will give them a sense of ownership while giving the new members an opportunity to get to know others in the gym.

3. Recognize milestones

People come to your gym to achieve their fitness goals. Every time one of them reaches a fitness milestone, laud their efforts in front of their peers, and even post about it on the gym's Instagram page. This will make them feel appreciated and motivate them to push even harder.

4. Mix things up with workouts

No one likes being stuck in a rut, and that holds true for workouts as well. Keeping individual capabilities and tastes in mind, mix things up in the gym when it comes to workouts.

For example, you could have yoga or pilates sessions once every couple of weeks. For the more boisterous ones, you could make them train outdoors a couple of times a week. Things like climbing or a weekly sport are also great ways to break the monotony while still keeping the focus on physical fitness.

5. Spend time and effort on staff training

Whenever you hire someone new, be sure to spend enough time and effort training them to not just handle their responsibilities, but to understand the brand values you built the business on, and to share in the vision you have for your gym.

Another important aspect of training is to focus on developing communication skills, so your staff knows exactly how to handle different situations and types of customers, from the irate and aggressive ones to those who may feel too shy to communicate their needs.

But most importantly, treat your staff well. Recognize their efforts, reward their loyalty and be ready to support them when they’re down and out. You will earn their respect and loyalty.

As a result, you will also see that the way they treat your customers will also be a lot more positive and that your attrition rates will drop.

6. Get an efficient gym management software

We said it before, and we can’t say it enough. It’s all about customer experiences. When you invest in efficient gym management software, your members get to renew memberships from their homes if they want to, use your website to schedule their training sessions remotely, and even get their friends to become members online, without having to step foot into your gym until their first workout session.

Are you struggling to understand what your retention is?

Do you know that your retention rate is the most important factor when it comes to growing your business?

We understand that it can get a little difficult to draw insights from your retention values, which is why we have created a guide for you to decode your retention and take intelligent business decisions.

What is your retention and how to use it to grow your business?
Vaishwi Sinha

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