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Can Member Relationship Management (MRM) Software Really Help Gym Owners with Member Retention?

Retention

When you consider business and revenue growth, winning new customers seems like a key, but it isn't always as cost-effective and beneficial as you may think. Interestingly, Bain & Company research found that increasing customer retention rate by just 5% can increase profits by 25 to 95%. This applies to all business sectors, including the fitness industry too. 

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So if you're a gym owner, rather than simply focusing on the acquisition of new members to hit your growth objectives, invest your effort and resources in retaining your high-value assets — a.k.a. existing members. After all, every single member is hard-earned. And, every satisfied and loyal member is likely to sing your gym's praises and refer their family and friends, bringing in new members, free of charge.

Is MRM Good Enough?

In this pursuit of managing customer relationships, a commonly given piece of advice is to purchase a member relationship management (MRM) software that would help you understand your members' needs better and avoid the risk of losing them over time. 

But is MRM software enough to help you gain deeper insights and widen your personalization net for each of your members to perfect their membership journey? The answer is no; it isn't.

You might have shelled out big dollars to get and deploy MRM software, but your gym members might feel their journey becoming more and more impersonal. Isn't that why you purchased the MRM software in the first place?

Well, your members might feel that in the name of personalization, all you're doing is taking their basic identity attributes like name, age, etc., and sending them batch-and-blast emails in static templates. It might deflate them enough to look for a better, more personal fitness experience elsewhere.

No, we're not against the use of MRMs. But, we believe that you must know exactly what value you're not getting out of traditional MRM software so that you're better informed to take the right steps in personalizing your existing members' experience and even win an uphill membership retention battle.

To deliver a fully personalized and memorable experience in this phygital or hybrid economy, you need a holistic and accurate picture of your members' common touchpoints, behavioural patterns, and interactions with your services team. Revisiting this data will help you paint a complete representation of your customer journey and significantly improve your customer retention rate. 

Infinite Data Sources, MRM Limitations

With a sea of data points available across several digital channels to navigate and the gargantuan task of building point-to-point connections, organizations are finding it increasingly challenging to manage customer relationships easily with a CRM.

Unable to address diverse business needs:

Traditional MRM software is incapable of addressing such complex and diverse business needs like support tickets, payment solutions, mobile applications, desktop applications, and many more. Also, most often, a particular department gets an executive buy-in to purchase this software to meet its specific needs. It leads to bolted-on applications with other departments lacking visibility into the application. Hence, every department has a different view of the underlying customer profiles. Also, most businesses often don't tend to think of CRM suites.

Over-reliance on MRMs leads to diminished customer loyalty:

Most often, gym staff becomes over-reliant on MRM software. This reduces their focus on dealing with members' queries. They tend to appear helpless while fielding questions from members when the information isn't available on the software, and the situation calls for real-quick lateral thinking for problem-solving. This directly impacts the customer experience, and members may become deflated and start evaluating other gyms to join.

Potential security issues:

Although most MRM software claims to be secure and all members' data seem to be housed in a centralized location, it might be a threat to your gym business. Imagine a scenario where one of your resentful employees deliberately adds incorrect data to the system, lacking encryption safeguards and strict supervision. Handling such mismanagement of members' information can have a disastrous effect on customer relationships and, ultimately, customer retention.

Other significant limitations of MRM software:

As discussed earlier, many members touchpoints across different data sources and MRM software practically cannot unify all that information. In lack of complete and accurate membership information, it's hard to glean meaningful and actionable data intelligence and suggest correct predictions and recommendations. Imagine how greatly you would have tapped an opportunity if you had reached out to your members with personalized recommendations. This would have helped you stay on top of mind, offer support even when they may not realize they need it, and exhibit your fitness business' values to deeply understand your customers.

Obviously, in lack of all this, it can significantly impact your member relationships, engagement and members' retention. You might also miss out on many opportunities that would have helped you forge stronger relationships with your members, leading to diminished revenues.

Unfortunately, due to these limitations, traditional MRMs cannot deliver you the real value for keeping your members engaged with your fitness business. Hence, winning a membership retention battle may seem like an uphill battle if you currently have MRM software for handling membership relationships in your gym business.

What's Next for Fitness Business Owners?

We live and operate in a business intelligence dilemma. Thanks to disparate data sources and multiple systems of records!

As your fitness business evolves, there's a critical need for you to have accurate and consolidated data sets with clean, aggregated data from your key data sources so as to be able to connect and unify the information contextually and offer your members personalized recommendations at the right time across the right channel.

All you need is a strategic solution that can help you organize, streamline and interpret the data, from all touchpoints, of your gym members to help you engage with them at the right time with the right communication to improve members' loyalty and retention. 

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