Understanding and measuring member experience at your club.

The member experience is known as the cognitive or emotional assessment of all encounters a customer has with a firm that relates to purchase behavior. It’s a critical component to the success of any gym business, with research showing direct impacts on visit frequency, retention, profitability, and word of mouth along with a host of others.

A problem many gyms are confronted with is measuring and understanding the customer experience they provide their members for making informed business decisions and improvements at their club. This article is going to help you understand the member experience and how to measure the member experience for your gym as a means to enable you to improve and enjoy the benefits listed above.

understanding the gym member experience

Understanding Member Experience

Before making any changes to improve customer experience, it is crucial that you a) understand the needs of your customers and b) have a measure in place to track whether your changes are affecting your business positively or negatively.

Better understand the needs of your customers in a number of ways, the most obvious is to just get out there and being involved with them. Talk to members in person, get to know them and why they love coming to your club and how you can improve to make their experience more enjoyable. Alternatively, you can make use of customer reviews and feedback left on online review platforms or your social media pages. An analysis of this content will also yield similar insights into your customers’ perceptions of your club. Both of the aforementioned methods for gathering information on these customer views enable you to better tailor your offerings to suit the needs of your customers and subsequently improving the overall experience a member has with your club.

A customer experience which meets the expectations of customer leads to satisfaction and will keep them coming back, an experience which exceeds customer expectations, however, will lead to delight. Delight is a construct not only resulting in retention, but will directly boost customer advocacy and word of mouth behaviors – which means more members for your club, but without you having to spend a dime on advertising.

Measuring Experience and Member Satisfaction

Due to the number of variables that influence a customer’s experience with your brand – such as employee responsiveness, personalization of service experience and consistency with your marketing material. It can be difficult as to how you can best conceptualize how your members are perceiving their interactions with your club. However, it is crucial to do so – if you are investing capital into your business it is important to understand whether or not these improvements are achieving the goal you are setting out to achieve, ensuring you are receiving a positive return on investment.

Figure 1: The Net Promoter Score

A screenshot of a cell phone Description automatically generated

Source: Net Promoter

Thankfully, Fred Reichheld has developed a scale that has been largely adopted by both marketing academics and partitioners for measuring customer experience and with GymMaster, you can use this tool very easily. It’s called the Net Promoter Score. It is a 0 to 10 scale which measures customer experience, and it’s implemented with just a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?. Based on the numbers you are given you can determine how your member has found their experience with your club and which category of customer they fall under: detractor, passive or promoter.

Detractors can have a negative impact on your brand, passive have little or no influence while promoters are active advocates of your business. As the colors suggest, promoters have a positive impact on your business and the more customers you have under this category the more successful you are likely to be. The NPS can also help you identify at-risk members, and by looking at members with a lower score and getting in touch with them specifically you may be able to improve retention also.

The Net Promoter Score can be implemented in the form of a questionnaire or survey sent to your members, or you could create a form to collect this data on your member portal which you then could ask people to fill out after a class or workout at your club. To measure the overall customer experience which is being provided to your members you take the percentage of your customers which are promoters less the percentage of your customers which are detractors (as per figure 1) this will give you your Net Promoter Score. Periodically sending these surveys out to members should allow you to monitor any improvements or detriments which changes to your business has had.

You can click here to learn how to make a custom field and use it in a report with GymMaster by following the same steps shown in this article, custom fields can be used to collect net promoter scores left by each member and display these in a custom report. This will make the process much quicker and easier when it comes to assessing your overall customer experience.