By Rick Coyne & Gary Eversole
Amazing feedback from last week’s case study on the Dunes Golf and Beach Club and their continued success a decade after the membership process was introduced. Several general managers wanted to know how the Club managed to retain nearly 93% of the new members over ten years later.
MembershipRx was never designed to be only about membership growth. As many clubs have realized, it’s fairly easy to attract members when price or clever incentives are the strategy. What’s generally missing is a strategy and plan to keep members. MembershipRx was developed as a total membership solution including growth, retention, enhanced member utilization and creating raving fans.
Members have evolved consistently with the considerable growth in clubs and competition. In some cases, members can be lured on price or incentives, but if the club doesn’t live up to expectations, often as not, they become the casualties of attrition. A study by a major club management company several years ago concluded that nearly 25% of new members were lost in the first year. What if there was a system to prevent this from happening? Well, there is!
Members consider many things when joining a private club. Women and men, families with children, younger members versus older members all have differing needs and expectations. When they make their decision to join, keeping them requires a team strategy and systematized listening process to ensure that you are delivering on the new member’s needs. Very simply, no matter how “convenient” or “inexpensive” it was to join, if you are not providing what they want, they will never become a raving fan. What if you could improve net retention 10% to 50% more than you are currently. The key, of course, is in understanding individual member’s attitudes and expectations and not assuming that one size fits all.
Many believe that tracking usage and flagging significant declines in usage provides the information necessary to manage retention. Research has shown that attitudinal shifts occur long before actual changes in behavior. Leveraging current technology and cross-industry best practices enables Club’s to proactively identify potential shifts and enhance retention.
To that end, Gary Eversole, along with the ClubInsights team have developed the MembershipRx blueprint for optimizing member retention. This blueprint leverages 30+ years of cross-sector expertise in experience management, loyalty, and retention. Additionally, it is supported by Michigan State University Master of Science in Marketing Research.
The MembershipRx Blueprint for Retention = Engagement + Experience + Sentiment
- Onboarding Efficacy – personalized integration of new members (and family) into the club’s culture and activities to foster usage, connection to other members, and satisfaction.
- Programming Effectiveness – creating and ensuring life-style relevant, diverse, and attractive programming for all demographic segments in your club driving usage and member inter-connectivity.
- Issue Management – it is vital to proactively identify and resolve issues before they are the “talk of the four-some” or reach the board level. Identifying issues is especially important for those members who may be hesitant to complain in person. Research has proven that if a member does have an issue and it’s resolved in a timely and appropriately manner, their satisfaction is actually higher than if they had no problem.
- Continuous Experience Improvement – By knowing what members are thinking and making them part of the experience improvement journey you create a bond and ambassadors for life all while arming your departments with the information to drive meaningful change.
- Emotion – recent research indicates that intangibles like personalization, strong ties to other members, confidence in the club, and a shared destiny mindset form emotional connectivity to the club’s brand. Emotional connectivity is a powerful bond that creates raving fans and members for life.
- Perceived Value – overall members assign a value to the sum of their experiences and bond to the club. Regularly evaluating the club’s value perception can provide invaluable information to guide future efforts.
We would love to provide more detail and truly do suggest that before you commit to any course of action in developing your membership program or strategy, give us a call. We create lasting solutions through listening and enhancing the member experience. I can be reached at [email protected] or direct line 214 679-8496
Rick Coyne, President