Jason Silverman here from Powerful Words Character Development. Hope you’re having an awesome day!
As you know, when you are remarkable, you are remarked about…therefore, going the extra mile can do amazing things for both your member retention AS WELL AS your new enrollment. The sad truth, however, is far too many owners don’t take the time necessary to implement the easy systems to ensure that your clients are having an amazing experience. Regardless of whether you own a Martial Arts Academy, Cheer Gym, Gymnastics Club, Dance Studio or Swim School – these tips will be valuable to you!
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity (both personally at my facility as well as with hundreds of clients) to discover the Power of ensuring a Powerful Experience for clients. I know that at my academy, our retention rate always hovered around 99%, which meant that on a monthly basis, only 1% of my students would discontinue training. Unfortunately, as I speak to more and more owners in this industry, I’m seeing retention rates that are dramatically lower. That’s sad.
So, today, let me share a few ideas / systems that always proved helpful for me and are now proving helpful for many of my clients worldwide to ensure that all of their members become (and stay) absolute Raving Fans:
1.) Teach nothing but amazing classes. I know this sounds silly…of course we all teach amazing classes, right? Hopefully, the answer is yes. Take a really, really good, hard look at every class that’s being taught and make sure that it always contains SSL –> Sweating, Smiling and Learning. (With a nod to Mr. Dave Kovar for that one)
2.) Welcome New Members THE RIGHT WAY. Have a New Member Success System so that when a new member comes aboard, they feel comfortable with everything they need to know. Make sure that you’re sending them a welcome postcard (not an email) to add that little extra touch. For info about Welcome PostCards click here.
3.) The First 100 Days are crucial. Make sure that you have a “Stick System” (a system designed to help make the new member feel at home quickly so that they “stick around”. I strongly urge you or one of your staff members to implement a 2-4-6 call system. All this is, is a scripted series of calls made to each new member at the 2 week, 4 week and 6 week interval from when they joined. These calls allow you to nip any potential issues in the bud, ensure that they parents and athlete are happy, and potentially generate some referrals and some early testimonials. In addition to the 2-4-6 calls, I’ll urge you to use all the helpful technology you can as well — Message and mention them on facebook, text them to check in, tweet them (if they’re on twitter), etc. None of this is hard to do…just get in the habit of doing it!
4.) Make sure to “Catch them doing something great!” Every week, my staff used to go out of their way to notice somebody doing something extraordinary. It might have been a physical skill they’d been struggling with, or perhaps it was just how helpful they’d been in class. It’s amazing what sending them a “Your Rock!” postcard or simply picking up the phone after class and calling them to let them know how proud we were of them. Word got out in our town and people flocked to our facility – not just because technically we were the best (which we were), but because the process of becoming the best was so enjoyable. (ya know, outside of the pushups, abwork, bagwork, roadwork, etc.)
5.) Don’t be afraid to invest in your clients. One of our clients had seemed totally stressed out and overworked before heading to worlds this year in Orlando. We wanted to make her smile and hopefully make her life a little easier, so we ordered an enormous fruit and goodie basket be placed in her room with a small card from us. As it turned out, the contents of that basket were the only thing she and her staff had to eat during the competition. That made US feel great. I’m pretty sure nobody else did that. Over the years, I’ve sent clients books, videos, chocolate covered fruit, steaks, you name it. Not because I have to, but because I want to. It always strengthens the relationship. The key here though, is to EXPECT NOTHING IN RETURN. Do it because you want to, not as a “quid pro quo”
6.) Teach it ALL! That doesn’t mean teach all the classes. It means teach both the mental AS WELL as the physical side. Many folks know that I’m the CEO for Powerful Words Character Development, a program designed to help develop your athletes from the inside out. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. Many owners have come aboard as a way to offer more value to their members and the families of their members. Seriously – take a peek. As the industry’s #1 Character Development System (and the only one designed by an internationally acclaimed Child Development Expert who is often called upon as an expert for the Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, etc. If you want the best – you’ve found it. Take action! Here’s a quick video from our very own Dr. Robyn about having your school as a Personal Development Center – it’s worth a quick watch!
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7.) Over-Communicate with the parents. One of the biggest problems in the after school activity world is that parents feel like they don’t know what’s going on (regardless of whether or not you think you told them!) So, make sure that you are sending email blasts (at least weekly), communicating appropriately via text, adding content to your members only area, blogging a few times per week, updating your facebook page, your like page and heck, if your people are on twitter, make sure you’re tweeting too. It’s just that important!
8.) Ask for Feedback…AND LISTEN! It’s always great to hear when you’re doing a great job (and when you do – make sure to write it down and/or video it so you can use it in your marketing!), it’s not so great to hear when you’re dropping the ball…HOWEVER, it’s really important to know when you do, so that you can take action and fix it immediately, right? Make sure you don’t bury your head in the sand like an Ostrich if you hear something less than perfect. Evaluate if it’s actually a problem and if it is…FIX IT!
9.) Give them MORE than they Expect – Always OverDeliver! We all love to get great free stuff, right? Figure out how you can go the extra mile and overdeliver to your clients. It might be something as simple as providing some helpful videos in your members area (in the parent info center), to help them feel more “in the know”. Some of our clients add strength or flexibility vids so that there members can continue to train, safely of course, when they’re NOT at the gym. Make sense? If, for some reason you DO NOT have an effective Members Only Area on your site, please contact me immediately – we need to chat!
10.) Remember that every single member that you’ve been blessed with, could easily be somewhere else. I always remembered that my students were either one step closer to their goal, or one step out the door…the good news was that it was my choice since I was controlling their experience.
I’d love YOUR FEEDBACK please. Help me learn more about how YOU provide an amazing experience at your business. Please comment below or shoot me a quick note at firstname.lastname@example.org
Obviously, if you’re looking to discover how you can leverage the credentials as well as the media celebrity of Dr. Robyn Silverman and Powerful Words for YOUR ACADEMY, contact me immediately. Why wait?
Get out there and change some lives!