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Drive retention with this group fitness survey strategy


Group fitness survey questions will give you the feedback and insights you need to improve your member experience and your overall retention rates – here’s how you do it. 

Retention is incredibly important to the overall success of your business. According to Bain & Company, as little as a 5% increase in retention can skyrocket your revenue numbers by anywhere between 25 to 95%. 

Why this topic matters: The goal of every gym owner is to drive revenue. And, while acquisition is important, retention is going to make the difference. Members bring in recurring revenue each month – this is guaranteed revenue each month. And if you can keep retention high, you are well on your way to long term success for your fitness studio. 

What you’re going to learn: In the article, you are going to learn the basics of a group fitness survey, how it impacts retention and practical survey strategies to increase retention. You will also here from member experience expert, gym owner and IHRSA board member Chris Stevenson on the importance of member feedback and how it will help your retention rates. 

Here’s what’s coming up:


What is a group fitness survey? 

A group fitness survey is basically a series of questions asking how the member feels about the service being provided in their fitness studio. 

  • Format of survey: The survey can be a physical sheet handed out by fitness studio staff or it can be sent out in a digital format over email. Typically, for a digital format, people will use Google Forms or Survey Monkey. You can find a list of free survey platforms here. 
  • Frequency it’s sent out: Some gym owners will send out a survey once a year, others will send them out more regularly or after a specific event like the onboarding process or a fitness challenge. 
  • Type of feedback given: Gym owners could seek “yes” or “no” answers, more descriptive answers or a numerical answer – like rating the experience out of 10 for example. 

A group fitness survey is a key cog if your overall member retention strategy and in the next part of this article we will hear some real world examples of how to use a group fitness survey effectively. 

Read more: Everything you need to know about member retention

What the experts say: Chris Stevenson

 “We have such great ways now that we can acquire member feedback and data, so again, go out and ask your members what they want and utilize that data.”

Chris Stevenson is members experience expert, IHRSA board member and the owner of a Be Military Fit franchise location in Los Angeles. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Chris has seen it all and done it all. 

When he joined us on The Fitness Founders Podcast, he gave some great insights into how using surveys to collect member feedback can enhance the member experience and ultimately increase retention.  

Here are two incredibly valuable points he made during that interview:

  • Feel vs real: When it comes to implementing a new idea, a lot of gym owners will say “I feel this is a good idea”, which is the totally wrong approach. Instead, look at the data and member feedback to see exactly what your members want from your service before making a decision. 
  • Feedback in action: Chris gives a really useful example of when member feedback gave him insight into an improvement he took action on. He had held out for a while on getting treadmills updated and when he noticed some members’ NPS feedback score going from 10/10 to 8/10 he discovered it was because people were unhappy the treadmills were not working correctly. He was then able to take action from that feedback to improve the member experience. 

This idea of “feel vs real” and the treadmill story as an example shows the importance of member feedback. While there was only a small decrease in NPS, the fact Chris identified it early through a survey meant he was able to fix things before they got worse. 

Will a group fitness survey increase retention? 

As we’ve seen from Chris Stevenson, a group fitness survey is very valuable for getting key insights into how your business is performing. But how exactly will a group fitness survey increase retention? 

Let’s look at three main reasons.

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  • Discover any unseen issues in your studio: As with Chris’s example, a survey can help you identify any issues you may not be aware of. This could range from issues booking into classes, to problems with any trainers and how they run classes, right through to any issues with equipment or the physical studio space. 
  • Intervene early to stop a member leaving: Surveys can help you intervene when a member is unhappy with their experience. If you see their NPS score decreasing with each survey, you know something is going wrong and they may leave soon. Another sign that a member is unhappy is a reluctance to engage and take surveys at all. 
  • Make decisions based on data and facts: The information you gather through surveys can help you with planning ahead for the future. As Chris pointed out, there’s a big difference between “feel” vs “real”. By making future decisions based on what your members want, you have a higher chance of retaining them. 

So we’ve gone through exactly what a group fitness survey is and how it can help you increase retention. Let’s look at a practical survey strategy you can implement in your fitness business. It will involve some expert advice from world renowned retention expert Dr. Paul Bedford. 

How to use a group fitness survey questionnaire to increase retention

A group fitness survey is a proven way to help you increase your retention rates. But it’s one thing to talk about the theory and another to apply it practically in the real world – and that’s what we are going to cover here. 

In this section we will talk about how a survey fits in your members journey, the type of questions and format you should use, why gathering an NPS score is important, the importance of taking quick action on the results, and what to do if you find engagement is low with your survey. 

Think of the member journey

When Dr. Paul Bedford joined us on The Fitness Founders Podcast back in 2020, he laid out the importance of mapping out a journey for the member, including different communication touchpoints where you engage with them.  

Included in this communication would be surveys to gather feedback on various stages of the journey.

  • After onboarding: Send out a survey to get feedback on their onboarding experience so you can make any improvements necessary
  • At the 30 day mark: Gather feedback on the members initial experience with your fitness studio. This is a crucial point in their journey so it needs to be of the highest standard. 
  • Regular intervals throughout the year: While you don’t want to overwhelm members with surveys, it’s important to gather feedback at various points of the year. Maybe send out one survey per quarter. 
  • After an event or challenge: Fitness events and challenges are a brilliant retention tool. See where you can make any improvements on the experience sending out a survey after the event. 

Be clear on the questions and format

When creating your survey, be clear on what types of questions and format you are using. In this day and age, you are better off using a digital format. Not only will it lead to higher engagement as every interaction in your studio is likely digitized, it will make it easier for you to gather and make sense of the data and feedback you gather.

Here are a few of the main survey platforms you can use for your business: 

  • SurveyMonkey 
  • Google Forms 
  • SurveyGizmo 
  • Survey Planet 
  • Survicate

Include Net Promoter Score (NPS) in your strategy

A Net Promoter Score is a one-question survey that lets members score your gym on how much they would promote your business. This quickly enables you to know which members are happy with your service and which are not. 

One-question surveys are ideal for finding out specific information quickly. As it’s such a short questionnaire, you can hold attention and gather valuable data. 

Take action quickly on the results

Gathering all this information is a waste of time unless you take meaningful action with it. If we go back to the Chris Stevenson example we can see he took action on fixing the treadmills once he saw that it was affecting his studio’s NPS number. 

Once you’ve gathered feedback from the survey, put a plan of action in place based on what you’ve gathered. This could be an immediate action to fix an issue like the treadmill or it could be something more long term. 

Offer an incentive if the uptake is low

People usually have a thousand things going on at once these days. Because of this they might not have the time to do a survey – it’s a common thing to happen. A good idea is  to offer an incentive for doing a survey. This could something like: 

  • A free class or a couple of free classes.
  • A free nutrition plan or personal training session
  • A free piece of swag or nutrition product. 

However be careful – the reluctance of a member to do a survey could be down to an unhappiness with their membership. This means you will have to intervene before the survey to pinpoint any issues with the member before they churn. 

In summary

Group fitness surveys are an excellent way to gather the feedback you need to make crucial decisions about your long term retention strategy. 

Here’s a overview of what we covered today:

  • The basics of what a group fitness studio survey is and its functions 
  • How expert and gym owner Chris Stevenson used surveys successfully
  • What group fitness surveys do for retention
  • How to practically apply surveys in your own fitness business. 

What next? 

  • For more information on how to engage your customers, download our expert driven customer engagement playbook directly below. 
  • Speak to a member of our team if you’d like to know more about how Glofox can drive your retention and member engagement – simply click on the Demo & Pricing button at the top of this page.

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Owner at Carpe Diem BJJ

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