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Initiatives for lapsed members of a fitness centre

All too frequently, we spend so much effort trying to convince people to start practicing sports with the aim of improving their lifestyle and over time, the loyalty starts to drop off. It’s possible to lose roughly half of the original subscribers within the first six months of your fitness centre attendance.
The motivation to exercise can be put to the test by a series of factors that impacts a number of beginners to interrupt the habit of training, with the consequence of non-renewal if it is a pre-paid subscription or interruption in the case of a continuous course.
Investments in communication and marketing should ensure a more or less constant flow of new members and the commitment of the entire team, aimed at supporting the motivation and frequency and thus allow a gradual increase in the number of active users of the centre. Having said that, these elements are not always sufficient and the challenge is how to use initiatives to re-activate the former members.

Strategies and initiatives to regain trust of lapsed members

You can refer to them as lapsed or even "ex" customers, who were customers but for one reason or another are not at the time of analysis. It is therefore natural that the owner or sales manager is constantly looking for methods and strategies to regain their trust with the resulting registration. Let's try to classify these actions by ordering them from the least to the most effective.

Leave it to expire and then recall

Level of effectiveness: very low
Without any check on the expiring subscriptions, the staff in charge of proposing and selling the services of the centre periodically, typically once a month, take up the list of "non-renewed members" and contacts them again to know if they intend to re-register under the same conditions.

Letting their subscription expire and bidding back

Level of effectiveness: low and high risk
Similar to the previous one, this pseudo method consists in contacting former members to offer them an advantage, typically an economic one, in the hope of a new registration. Although we have become accustomed to similar behaviour on the part of service providers, such as charges for pay-TV or telephony, this is certainly not a virtuous behaviour that could benefit the reputation of the brand, not least because, unlike other situations, the relationship established with people is much stronger and, moreover, the catchment area to avoid diluting with inconsistent behaviour, is decidedly more limited.

If you put yourself in the shoes of someone who received the offer, it could be perceived that people only feel treated exclusively as an economic value and not a "partner" before their subscription expired was defined.

Another association that is detrimental to a good reputation of the fitness centre is the perception that the activity does not work well and then try to recover those who have not renewed their subscription, offering an advantageous price in spite of recoveries. And even if, as often happens, the voice of this custom spreads, it will not be surprising to increase the number of returns after the deadline at the expense of renewals of service at less favourable conditions. Therefore, very high risks exist with this strategy and, moreover, with very little effectiveness because, when it is time to understand why they abandoned they gym, there will be a reason and it won’t be the price element that can motivate a constant practice of physical exercise.

Proposing return through facilitation

Level of effectiveness: good
Leaving the logic of the discount it is possible to propose to former members specially designed service formulas that allow the re-activation after a period of new attendance. Particularly suitable for certain periods of the year, these initiatives must be perceived as a chance to try again with the aim of recovering what may not have worked. It is therefore possible to think of formulas for the summer that include different subscription periods to the classic proposals of the centre, even better if integrated with services of support to the result such as personal training, food programs with nutritionists and / or beauty treatments.

Alternatively or in addition, it is also valid to create short periods of free attendance reserved for former members who have their subscription expired within a certain period of time, with the aim of reassessing the quality of the fitness centres services, especially when there have been changes that have improved their perception of it. If investments have been made in the structure, equipment, staff or wellness experience in general, then it is a good opportunity to allow those who have abandoned, the evaluation of the change that, if not in new entry, will at least be useful to improve the memory and positive word of mouth. Show interest in their experience before their investment can be more effective in continuing the relationship and in this case the side effects are very minimal.

Propose highly customized solutions

Level of effectiveness: very high
Starting from the assumption that if the attendance is interrupted because something has not worked, it is up to the far-sighted professionals to question themselves and draw up a new path to involve the former members again.
The signals of response that come from the consumers in any field, underline a progressive decrease of the standardized and standard offer with respect to everything that is really personalized to meet the more or less evident needs of the consumers themselves. If this is true and is the way forward for the next few years, then it will be necessary not only to provide for all-inclusive and binding formulas, also modifying the structure of the price lists and the related services. Be careful however, we belong to a sector in which in the first experience the potential subscriber needs a Judgement, a path made of frequencies and activities aimed at achieving the goal because if at the time of the first fitness experience they were provided with too many possibilities, probably there would be a risk of confusion or worse, a choice towards what involves less effort, both physically and economically.
Proposing truly customized solutions following a period of knowledge and especially when the first experience has not led to the desired result of continuity, can be the right move because it combines the perception of the proposal in line with the needs in addition to making clear the dedicated attention. In order to implement this initiative some ingredients are needed that will increasingly determine the division between what is standard and associated with the mediocre value, compared to what is personalized and associated with greater value. The profiling of members and the acquisition and correct use of their characteristics, habits, tastes and information becomes essential to regain trust in the event of abandonment and even more to prevent it from happening.

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