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editor’s letter


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Editor


Kate Cracknell +44 (0)1462 471906


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creating fans


The fitness industry has a new weapon in its battle to improve retention levels: the Net Promoter Score (NPS)®. A customer survey based on one simple question – “how likely is it that you would recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” – respondents are categorised based on the score they award out of 10. Awarding a nine or 10 makes you a ‘promoter’, seven or eight and you’re a ‘passive’, and nought to six categorises you as a ‘detractor’. The percentage of detractors is subtracted from the percentage of promoters to obtain the NPS. Results of the first such survey in the fitness industry – carried out by Leisure-net Solutions in


conjunction with The Retention People – were released last month and reveal an industry average NPS of 21 per cent. Local authorities scored 27 per cent, trusts 12 per cent, and private multi-site operators minus 16 per cent. Compare this to the 50–80 per cent NPS recorded by some of the fastest-growing companies in their respective sectors – companies such as google, Apple and several of the top hotel chains – and it’s clear there’s vast room for improvement. Overall these results are unsurprising: the


It’s about delivering a ‘wow’ experience, sending members away buzzing. We need to look not only at empowering our employees to do this, but also at linking incentives to its consistent delivery


regularity with which we discuss poor retention rates is proof that we know we haven’t yet done enough to turn regular members into fans. The good news is that NPS gives clubs the tools to do something about this by providing a simple customer loyalty measure that can be tracked over time. Interestingly, in the recent fitness industry survey, 45 per cent of respondents were


‘passives’ – it seems many of our members don’t feel passionately about us one way or the other. Clubs may therefore be running the risk of members drifting out of the door without an alarm bell even being sounded, not because they’re dissatisfied but simply because they don’t see the club as an integral part of their life. Mere satisfaction, a sentiment felt by many passives, is not enough to guarantee loyalty. On a more positive note, someone scoring their club a seven or eight out is just a step or two from


being a ‘promoter’. A few improvements in service levels, for example, could transform the business. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a great example of a company that recognised the value of enthusiasts.


Customers who gave the highest rating were found to be three times more likely to rent again than those awarding the second-highest grade. Those reporting a neutral or negative experience – potential ‘detractors’ – were passed on to managers trained in how to apologise, identify the issue and resolve it. As a next step, staff rewards were linked to survey performance, whereby managers were not eligible for promotion unless their branch matched or exceeded the company’s average scores. This effectively gave customers the power of veto over pay raises. Scores continued to rise, and the company attributes this linking of customer feedback to employee reward as one of the key reasons for its steady growth. Ultimately, it’s about delivering a ‘wow’ experience, sending members away from every visit buzzing


about the time they’ve just spent with us. So perhaps we need to start looking not only at empowering our employees to do this, but also at linking staff incentives to the consistent delivery of this experience.


Kate Cracknell, editor katecracknell@leisuremedia.com


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