Broaden your vision

“Minimize Cancellations And Grow the Bottom Line” by Karen Woodard-Chavez (Fitness Business Pro Magazine, April 2009). Ms. Woodard-Chavez makes a number of good points. She must be commended for her guestcentric approach. To her list we would like to add a few things that didn’t make it into her must-read one-pager:

1) Analyze the triggers  that got members to sign-up. Maybe there’s a particular promotion, message, channel, publication, etc.  that drove in more cancel prone individuals that others. Look at those details and try to figure out what went wrong. In other words, maybe it wasn’t them, maybe it was you.  In theory it’s possible to reduce cancellations but trying to target people who are less likely to get cancel. Maybe there’s a profile for such people? Be proactive.

2) What about ongoing relationship maintenance? Instead of waiting to the end, why not follow up with members a regular basis to see how they feel? What they like? Or don’t like? A simple greeting as they walk in isn’t enough. Instead of being reactive at the end, why not be proactive throughout their entire membership? Again, maybe there a profile that develops. It would seem that typically most people are probably gun-ho when they first sign up and then taper off and time goes on. Well, find out where and when the threshold is for a canceler and then get to them sooner.

3) Don’t just listen to what they tell you, take that feedback and do something about it. Listening is great but if there’s no procedure in place to actually address the info collected then the same issues can in theory persist for a long time. Over reacting to each and every canceling member might be overkill but any trends should be tracked and addressed.

In summary… Avoid marketing to targets who are likely to cancel… Be proactive with staying in touch with the wants and needs of your guests… Don’t just listen but be prepared to act on what you hear.

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