Once you have a great staff in place, member services can also keep your retention rate at a respectable level. This goes along with customer service, as your services and programs should be ones that your members actually want and will use — they should be an actual “service” to your members.

Some services that WellStar provides its members are free strength consultations and dietary consultation as a part of their memberships. It also offers free lectures on various topics throughout the year. For a nominal fee (or free, depending on the event), it provides regular screenings, health fairs, flu shots and other health services. And, because of the population it serves, it directs people for physician referrals and follow-ups, and helps those without physicians find one.

Service is also part of Valley Fitness Center’s (Renton, Wash.) member retention plan. One member service it offers is a new one-hourmember orientation. Members meet with a fitness instructor to discuss goals, create a fitness program and receive instruction on how to use the equipment. A few weeks later, members have a weight-training orientation, and fitness testing and functional assessments are also offered. Laura Seuferling, health promotion coordinator, says, “All of these services are included in the membership, at no extra cost, and our members report (on our annual quality assessment evaluations) that they like the one-on-one training provided… thus making them more likely to come back.”

Regular communication is also a part of the new member service. The fitness instructor who performed the original new member orientation calls the member at two weeks, three months and six months to see how their exercise program is going. If the member hasn’t been in for a while, the instructor will schedule an appointment to encourage the member to come back.

Valley Fitness Center also offers a unique service that is appropriate for its market. Since it has many older members who go to warmer climates for the winter, it offers flexibility in its membership contracts. The facility accommodates these members by letting them put their memberships on holdfor one month for a $10 fee. Or, for a $50 fee, they can put it on hold for two to six months. Says Seuferling, “This encourages them to keep their memberships, rather than quitting and potentially losing them for good. We also allow members to go on a medical hold for up to six months (for no fee) if they have a letter from a doctor explaining why they can’t exercise.”