Customer Retention 3 Ways To Deal With Client Cancellations


“We are competing with all these commercials on TV for low calorie diets, We have to be more.”

Building a business of loyal recurring clients in the fitness industry is not an easy task. Unfortunately when signing up for online training many clients are acting on emotion and are most commonly looking for a quick fix.

We live in the age where preaching “eat healthy and exercise the right way in order to get steady long term results” might not work for some people. We are competing with all these commercials on TV or online for low calorie diets, “fat sucking” surgeries, and many other quick fixes (that from our standpoint may not be the healthiest of options, but give those clients the instant results they are looking for).

I am not saying every client you get is going to want this, however, one of the main reasons a client might cancel their online training with you is because they are not getting the results they want, right?

This is not necessarily a result of poor training or poor nutrition advice on our part, however, it could be that the client is left on their own for too long without a check-in or is not getting enough motivational support from their online trainer. Motivational support and accountability are the most important challenges we face with our online training clients, compared to our in-person training clients. In-person clients have to see us on a regular basis and have to answer to us face to face if they have not been getting their workouts in, or if they have not been following their nutrition plan. How do you get the online training clients committed enough that you avoid them stirring off their training plans and eventually cancelling their plans?

Once you have them, keep them!

The hardest part of building a successful online training business is just getting people to sign up, but once we have them we have to keep them! Keeping clients happy by learning as much as you can about how much motivation and guidance each client will need to be successful is key in keeping them paying and avoiding client cancellations.

What should you do when you get that dreaded “thanks for your services, but I have to cancel my membership” message? People will normally provide one of a few common reasons:

1. “I’m not using my online training plans as much as I thought I would, so I feel like I’m paying for nothing.”

Response: “I’m sorry to hear you are not getting all the amazing benefits out of your online training program, but before we cancel your subscription, I would love to have a chat with you about how we can figure out a way to make it work for you. Perhaps we can get to the bottom of why you are not using it (workouts to easy, bored of the workouts, no time to go to the gym, etc.) and figure out a way to help you get the most out of online training plans. I would hate to think you spent money already and do not feel like you got anything out of it. When’s a good time for you to link up on Skype or for a quick phone call?”

2. “I can’t afford to pay for it anymore.”

Response: “I’m so sorry to hear that perhaps your financial situation has changed, but I do enjoy training you and I don’t want to set you lose until you have reached all your fitness goals. We offer packages and price points to suit any budget, so maybe we can work out something else. I would love to chat with you about the many affordable and online training options I can offer you that might suit your current budget better?”

Compare to explain: “Less than the cost of a coffee per day!” — Just an example – always compare to coffee – people love coffee!)

3. “I don’t feel like I am getting the results I thought I would from this type of training.”

Response: “I am sorry to hear you do not feel like you are getting the results you want from your online training plan. We have many people who have been very successful through our online training program and would love to chat with you about why you feel this is not working for you? Perhaps we need to adjust your workouts? Perhaps we need to alter your nutrition. We are just (enter a time frame here ie. One week) away from your next check-in, why don’t we see where you are at with your progress during our next check-in meeting? We can then see where we are in reaching your goals and figure out how we can alter your plan to better suit your needs. I am here to help and would hate for you to have wasted any money on your online training, let’s make you a success story! Let’s set a date to chat on Skype or via phone next week to do your check-in and talk about where we go from here! What does your schedule look like for next week?”

These are obviously just a few examples of a few common cancellation reasons as well as responses that you can use to try and prevent a client from cancelling. I hope this helps you out if you receive one of those dreaded emails from a client wanting to cancel.


Michelle Roots

Michelle is the resident fitness expert for Trainerize. She has 8 years’ experience in the fitness industry training clients through her own business including: professional and elite level athletes, celebrities, online clients, and average people with fitness and fat loss goals, to name a few. She holds a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA) and a certified level 1 Nutrition Coach. Michelle wakes up happy every day because she is able to do what she loves for a living.

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