What Impacts My Retention Rate?

What Impacts My Retention Rate?

What Impacts My Retention Rate and the Three Types of Retention

If you came directly to this article, please make sure you’ve already boned up on “How To Measure Your Retention Rate” so that you have great context as you read this article. If you’re good to go on that math and what retention even is, let’s press forward.

In this article, I want to talk about what big things impact your gym’s – or your coaching – retention rate on an ongoing monthly basis. I think you’ll see retention rather differently after you read this article!

What Causes Higher Or Lower Client Retention Percentages In A Gym?

When you look at retention, it’s important to understand that you are going to have clients who leave (churn) no matter how hard you work and how effectively you execute. Because of that, I believe it’s critical to view retention in 3 buckets:

  • Retention that is out of your control
  • Retention that is partially in your control
  • Retention that is in your control

Retention that is out of your control

Even if you are outstanding at building relationships and getting results for your clients, there are still some pieces that are out of your control. The reason we begin with this category of retention is that we want to get as much percentage of your client churn in this bucket. If you only have churn that comes from things that are out of your control, that means that your gym is doing everything it can to retain your clients.

When it comes to what you can’t control that leads to churn, you’re looking at things such as:

  • When your clients move away from the area
  • When your clients have major life events or illnesses that take them out of the gym

Whenever there is something out of your – and often out of your client’s – hands, that is client churn that you can’t be upset about because you didn’t do something that lead to clients leaving. It doesn’t mean you will be happy when clients leave, but it should be less concerning to you.

Client churn that you can’t control is the main reason that you should never expect to retain 100% of your clients on a bigger picture basis

Learn how to improve your client retention here.

Retention that is partially in and partially out of your control

Because it always depends, there are some things you can think about when it comes to things that are partially in your control. Some of those partials are:

  • When your clients have job and or money changes – The reason this is partially in your control is that you have the ability to help them through these trying times, and if you do it well you’ll create clients for life.
  • When your clients have injuries – **big caveat here, you should do everything in you power to give your clients the right program for them with the right intensity and volume so that they do not sustain injuries, but there are times when somebody twists an ankle on a run, etc.

Because these things are partially in your control, you always need to be mindful of how you’ll support your clients prior to, during, and after these types of life events happen to your clients. It’s up to you to provide an outstanding environment for your clients to feel supported. If you do, you’ll see your retention move up

Retention that is in your control

When you lose clients because it’s “your fault,” it can sting. And, from my experience, where gym owners and coaches get into the most trouble is when they screw things up that are in their control. When clients leave, it is very often based on a poor client experience. It’s not usually one instance, it’s multiple or numerous small things that “pin prick” clients into ultimately leaving.

Here are some things that are in you control that can lead to retention issues:

  • Your service isn’t consistent – One of the reasons McDonald’s has been so strong for so long is because people know what they’re going to get when they show up. Micro gyms often have inconsistent service and it kills their retention.
  • Your gym is dirty or broken down – plain and simple if your gym is trash, your retention will be too.
  • Your coaches aren’t relationship builders – So many coaches can’t bring energy and conversation like the owners can. That kills retention.
  • You or your coaches aren’t competent – You do not need to be a Ph.D. by any means, but you need to be able to help your clients solve their typical fitness challenges.
  • You don’t send your programming to your clients on time – Enough said; that really annoys your clients which leads to retention issues.
  • You don’t show up on time or your leave early – It shows a lack of care and respect for your clients which leads to retention issues.
  • You don’t get your clients results – Yep, you better win with your clients.
  • You don’t support your clients off of the floor – I do not mean that you need to be best friends; far from it. You do need to help them achieve their goals outside of the gym by supporting them through fitness inside of the gym.
  • You don’t treat all of your clients the same – Often this manifests itself in overly caring for a small group of your clients by spending more time conversing, coaching/cueing, or chumming with them. It’s very important that you treat all of your clients the same so that nobody feels as if they are getting a raw deal.

Certainly, there are other things that lead to retention issues, but these are the major players, broadly, when you’re looking at what will inevitably lead to higher client churn.

Now, how do you actually improve your client retention now that you have the foundational understanding of retention in the first place?

Summing Up

I always like to write articles to give you as strong of a foundational understanding as I can. I don’t think it’s appropriate to blindly give you “answers” unless those answers have no way of changing in the future. If I can help you see broad principles and frameworks with which to learn about and make better decisions, and then if I can help you build habits to improve your coaching business, both you and I will be in a beautiful place!

If you want a quick reminder about how to measure your retention on both a monthly, annually, and rolling averaged way, click here.

If you want to continue moving forward with our retention conversation and learn about how you can improve your gym’s or coaching retention, click here.

Learn how to improve your client retention and overall business practices with this free Coach’s Toolkit.

Fitness Assessments for New Clients