For most businesses in the health and fitness industry today, it’s not just about one visit or one class attendance anymore, it’s also about how a customer feels after leaving your business, and whether they’ll come back.
So how do you maintain that?
Building Stronger Client Relationships Throughout Their Buyer Journey
Just like in any relationship, client retention is hard work that requires putting in the effort in the various areas within your business that connect you with your clients. But lately, the key area that has become more important for business owners and service providers, is the post-purchase engagement period.
These days, personal training software allows you to streamline your next interactions by creating buying or service journeys for your customers. Using mobile push notifications, in-app messages and regular check-ins are now key components of the buying journey.
1. Create a culture of accountability
There are many ways to track client progress; one of the most effective ways is by encouraging tracking workouts as part of a bigger picture of building healthy habits and contributing to sustainable lifestyle changes. For example, a fitness business should focus on implementing the ‘staying fit with a coach’ as a way of life, versus just focusing on selling one-time personal training sessions.
As Bianca Carew, from Gym Junkies states, “In my experience, clients approaching personal training have one thing in common… they want accountability. Using software such as Trainerize & Mindbody has allowed me to ensure that even with a large number of clients, I am able to regularly check up on each and every one of them to make sure they are following my plans and turning up to their agreed sessions.”
2. Streamline and optimize client schedules
Several trainers seem to agree that creating schedules for their clients to adhere to is one of the best ways to give them structure and help keep them on track to hit their goals.
Andrea Leipert, Owner of MyTrainer365, says “A scheduling system is a must. It keeps clients more accountable and organized.”
Michelle Roots, owner of Core Conditioning, concurs, but her program has a mix of automated and personal messaging. She says, “You can increase client accountability by setting their training appointments weeks in advance, scheduling progress checks, and checking in on their short- and long-term goals so that they know what they need to do.”
Having personal training software that not only schedules workouts and progress checks but also allows other personal touch points seems to be the recipe for success.
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3. Give and thou shalt receive
Investing in that extra effort for each client from the beginning of their fitness journey has proven to pay off in dividends. Happy customers stick around longer, and they are the ones who refer you to their friends and family, so the service you provide is paramount.
From the wise words of Cody Rzeznik, Founder of Rezolution Fitness, “Always over deliver, especially to start off. This might mean adding some personalization to someone’s program even though they signed up for your low ‘template’ tier and not the personalized tier. It might mean daily messages in Trainerize to remind them of their workouts because you won’t retain the clients that always miss workouts.”
4. Automate as you grow
If you’re lucky and your business is growing to the point of you not being able to manually check in with every client regularly, some automation of systems is necessary.
Rzeznik advises to only use it when needed, though. “Don’t worry about automation right away. Put in the manual work to start. Now, don’t get me wrong, automation can be great especially when looking to scale.”
Automation will allow you to continue to give personal attention to customers, even as you expand. For example, automated email messages, notifications, or even in-app messages can be sent at the exact right times during a client’s journey.
To start automating your business, look for some of the easier but more time-consumer tasks you complete on a daily basis—like messaging your clients or sending out emails to your mailing list. Chances are, there’s a way to automate them! Then, as your business progresses you can look into automating more complex structures, like payment collection and program delivery.
5. Acknowledge results (or lack thereof) with honesty
One of the easiest ways to check in with clients is to recognize when they’ve hit a personal best, achieved a goal, lost weight, or lowered their body fat percentage—and you’ll know they’ve hit one of these milestones if you are using a software like Trainerize to track it. Clients appreciate being given a pat on the back for their success because it reinforces that their hard work is paying off and motivates them to stick with it.
On the other hand, clients who are not committing to their goals also need to be acknowledged. Rzeznik suggests, “When they miss workouts, very passively ask if something came up or if they are planning on making it up. Sometimes they just needed the reminder.”
Never forget how much influence you hold as the “watchful eye in the sky” looking over your clients’ progress. Having you there plays a powerful role in a client’s success, whether that means continuing on the right path or getting back on track.