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3 Ways to Reduce Customer Churn in Fitness Industry


One of the most critical stages of any business is finding customers. You market for it, prospect for it, get clients for it, and then, after everything you do, you are still at risk of losing them. A recent survey from Bain & Company found that customer churn has become a significant challenge for 66% of top global companies. Fitness businesses may not face the same financial pressure as these companies, but they are definitely no less prone to lose their members in this day and age. We are talking about this problem- the problem of member loss and how to prevent it - in today’s article.

Look beyond the catalogue

The best fitness streaming service is not the one that serves the best content.

Of course, that is not to downplay the importance of good content. But let’s face it – whether it’s music, videos, fitness and wellness tutorials, or sports, how you serve said content is what determines whether or not a customer stays.

Yet, the largest players are victims of the fear of the churn spiral.

While obviously what you offer is a huge factor, most experts agree that a churn rate of over 40% is indicative of either a deficient product or user experience.

That said, competition in the fitness industry is infamously fierce. Users have never been as spoilt for choice as they are now when they are looking for the best streaming service for their specific needs. And drawing away consumers who are already subscribing to other services is far from easy.

Or is it? After all, in both cases, if you can beat out your competition with a stellar customer experience, who’s to say that you can’t own the space?

Fixing customer experiences start with imbibing customer empathy.

There’s a lot more to understanding customer churn than finding the immediate cause for a drop-off. To get a clear view of the larger picture that leads to a drop-off, you need to trace back customers’ footsteps to identify the preceding little triggers that led up to the final decision to drop off.

For instance, when did engagement start to decline, and what caused it? Were there any changes in offerings that caused the apparent dissatisfaction, or were there other external factors at play that you neither considered nor have visibility into? Only when you truly practise empathy (by mentally stepping into each of your customers’ shoes) can you truly begin to understand the reasons for the churn that you are witnessing.

You also need to compare your churn rate with your user acquisition and conversion rates on a month-over-month basis to rebuild a new larger picture – one that portrays your churn rate against a backdrop of other related factors (such as, besides acquisition and conversion rates, frequency of customer support calls/ tickets, subscription period signed up for, and competitor pricing). This will give you a fair idea about where to focus your efforts in your bid to retain those precious signups.

If your monthly churn trend is reasonable and steady (i.e., you’re retaining a majority of your existing customers), you may choose to focus on new customer acquisition. But if your churn rate is trending toward the higher side, perhaps northward of 20%, it’s time for an intervention.

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Hyper-personalization is the name of the game.

Once you know what your churn rate is like, it’s time to dig deeper. You need deeper analytics that offers you precise, actionable insights aimed at maximizing customer delight – and thus, retention.

Industry-leading fitness providers and online gyms know everything there is to know about their audience – right from their age, occupation, and marital status to what kind of music genres they gravitate toward and their favourite colour (okay, so maybe the last one was a stretch, but you get the idea). And while they may broadly segment their audience for purposes of overall trend analysis and strategizing, their runaway priority is hyper-personalization. The reasons are obvious – while a pro athlete has vastly different needs and priorities from a real estate agent, it is ridiculous to thank that all pro athletes or all real estate agents are the same. Thus, each user experience needs to be distinct and tailored to the individual it is catering for.

Once you’ve come to grips with just how much more data you need to wade through to get to that level of understanding, it’s time to take action.

1. Keep the buzz alive.

Once your subscribers have signed up, don’t slack off. You still have tons of work to do. Keep a watchful eye on their movements, and look out for any indications of preferences (you can even straight out ask for these through surveys or cleverly crafted, inobtrusive feedback loops). When you have discovered what they are looking for, continue to reach out to them via push notifications, e-mails, and messages with intelligent recommendations or a sneak peek into what’s coming up.

CIPIO can automate this bit to help you scale and replicate this process across any audience base, regardless of size or diversity. Building and maintaining a buzz around your offerings is key to keeping users engaged and active.

2. Re-engage subscribers who have hit snooze mode.

The worst mistake you can make is to inadvertently let customers slip out of your net. That’s why it is critical to monitor all user activity at all times and to act the moment you see a dip in engagement. Maybe it just works, but maybe it’s an unexciting experience – would you be willing to take a chance? We think not. Find. Out. Why? And while you’re at it, continue trying to entice them back using targeted campaigns. The idea is to stay top of mind, remind them what they are missing out on, and make it super easy for them to get back on track.

3. Keep giving back.

Everyone knows it – people love free stuff. Sure, you can’t always give things away for free, but why not surprise your subscribers once in a while by giving them more than they expect? It’s one of the best ways to show them that you care. All you need to do is offer them something of value in return for their loyalty – such as tiered discounts or surprise giveaways. If they recommend you to a friend, surprise both subscribers with a bonus offer. As long as your subscribers feel valued and appreciated, they have a very strong reason to keep coming back.

In an industry characterized by churn, predict it – and manage it.

It’s a well-known fact that it is a lot harder and more expensive to attract new subscribers than it is to retain existing ones. In a landscape as competitive as that of the streaming industry, that fact takes on a whole new meaning, and with it, a load of pain. Plus, with so many players willing to offer free trials and obscenely low entry barriers, it’s all the harder to encourage subscribers who switch from one service to another to stick around for the medium term, much less stay loyal in the long term. Your best bet is to build a solid strategy based on even more solid data – internal and external – and to keep it agile as users grow and adapt to life changes over time.

With the right data and technology, the fitness industry can not only respond to these changes in real-time to keep pace with your customers but also predict them over time, thus helping you stay ahead of the game and prevent churn. Something you need desperately in these transient times, perhaps?

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