By Trever Ackerman, Chief Marketing Officer of Fitness Together®, a one-on-one private, personal training franchise focused on changing clients’ lives with improved fitness and health.
Our passion is to make a positive, life-changing impact on each of our clients. The most rewarding part of my role, as Chief Marketing Officer, is receiving feedback, such as, “my trainer made me a better version of myself” or “being a client is really like being part of a family.” This is what we live for at Fitness Together. With over 22-years of experience, the Fitness Together franchise system has established a client journey that is proven to attract and retain personal training clients while truly establishing a connection between the client and the Fitness Together brand. This journey is at the heart of the process and philosophy we have built for Fitness Together franchise owners system-wide.
So, what are the secrets to creating truly meaningful client experiences?
Fitness entrepreneurs are looking for that silver bullet in attracting and retaining clients, but it usually can’t be found in a traditional business or marketing plan. Many brands make the mistake of mapping the client journey from their internal perspective based on profitability or other business initiatives.
When it comes to cultivating a meaningful connection with your client, shift perspective to the eyes of the client and you are sure to not only retain your client base, but referrals can become your greatest source of revenue growth. This philosophy is what Fitness Together lives by, and we have seen the positive results of it firsthand. Here are the top five ways to create long-term loyalty and client engagement:
- Lay the foundation, listen and learn.
- Take the time to understand client behavior.
- Measure client engagement.
- Continually seek feedback.
- Give clients what they want.
Just like the beginning of any relationship, when laying the foundation for an effective client journey, it is important to do your research and get to know the client. Do your homework on your target market and provide opportunities for clients to easily share feedback. Sometimes, the simplest tip is to take a step back and listen.
What are the competing or substitute services that your best clients prefer? How does their experience with those brands compare to your own? Focus on the most typical or common client profile and work on getting that experience right.
Develop a foundation that allows you to measure client interactions across touch points—both online and offline. This will provide you with the necessary inputs to create data-driven insights to improve your brand experience going forward.
Seek feedback from both implicit and explicit sources. Explicit feedback – or what your client tells you—is what you most commonly think of—survey results, client comment cards, online reviews, conversations, etc. Implicit feedback is what can be learned through their behavior – this might include things like the number of referrals they generated, the frequency of their visits or re-purchase, or the monetary and transaction value trend over time. The old saying, “actions speak louder than words” really does pay off in this case, so look at both.
Through my experience implementing strategic client journey programs for national brands including Fitness Together, FIT36®, and Elements Massage®, I have learned there are five aspects of loyalty that clients seek including value, time, access, learning and, above all, personal relationships.
Finally, don’t underestimate the value of a smile and friendly welcome. These little things can go a long way to driving loyalty. Plus, working with a savvy consultant or franchise to help provide a high-quality turnkey customer experience is always a great option too!
In fact, joining a franchise organization like Fitness Together can help support an individual owner’s ability to provide an enhanced client experience through a proven processes and shared best practices. Rather than developing a personal training customer journey for your business from scratch, you can rely on experts like Fitness Together to help you foster positive, meaningful and lasting relationships and a proven client journey.
Fitness Together Franchise, LLC began franchising in 1996 and has approximately 140 locations across the United States. To learn more about the brand and owning a Fitness Together franchise, visit www.fitnesstogetherfranchise.com.