The Art of Breaking Up: How To Make Sure Cancellation Isn't A Workout

Tell me how to get 5-star reviews from my happy customers!

Trainer and client working out at a gym

Today we're going to cover a customer service issue that you've probably all thought about, at least a little bit: membership cancellation policies.

We all know that when clients join a gym feeling like they're about to embark on a new fitness journey, only to realize that they don't actually enjoy the experience of going to the gym, it's frustrating when they feel like they have to go through a series of obstacles just to get out of it.

I'd go as far as to say that cancellation fear is one reason why you may be leaving potential members on the table, and one thing is for sure: you don't want to miss out on membership revenue because leads have a fear of cancellation issues.

So let's get to some ideas on structuring your cancellation policies in a way that is friendly to customers, but also makes sense for your business.

First things first, make sure you're familiar with state law. For example, In Massachusetts, consumers are allowed to cancel gym memberships or health club contracts for any reason within “three business days after the date of receipt by the buyer of a copy of the written contract or written receipt indicating the buyer's payment for health club services.”

It's important to make sure that their cancellation policies comply with state law and are fair to customers.

Personal training cancellation policies are important so you can schedule trainers and ensure that their employees are being compensated for their time, but the policy should not be so strict that it punishes customers for missing a session due to unforeseen circumstances.

I'd suggest preferred 48-hour cancellation policy with a minimum of 24 hours should suffice for training sessions.

Now, let's talk about the actual cancellation process. Here are some best practices:

  • Make contact. Ensure that their customers speak with someone directly about their cancellations so that they can lay the groundwork for a follow-up to get them back in.
  • Resolve problems. Find out why customers are cancelling and try to mitigate the situation. For example, if a member had a bad experience with a trainer, offer a free session with a different trainer, and take time to understand the client's goals so you can make a great match.
  • Track data. Whether you use a simple spreadsheet or a more sophisticated system, keep track of why customers are leaving and check data monthly to see if there's anything you can do to reduce cancellations and improve your customer experience.
  • Be polite. When clients feel you genuinely want to see them back again soon, you leave the door open for them to return.
  • Follow up. If you can't mitigate the problem and customers leave, ask if you can check in with them and see how they are doing in the future to get them back into your facility. If you've done a good job tracking client goals and data, it's really easy to call and ask if they've lost the extra 20 pounds they mentioned at sign up!

Bottom Line: don't make it harder for people to leave your gym than it is to escape from Alcatraz. Make it easy for people to come and go, and you'll have a much happier customer base.

Did you know it's a lot less expensive to retain customers than to market to get new customers? We've got retention tips too:

Smart Client Retention Strategies: How to Win at Keeping Clients at Your Gym

Do You Know How Much More It Costs To Acquire New Clients vs. Retain Current Clients?

When you do right by your clients and make them happy, you should be sure to ask for 5-star reviews.

It's important because they help you get good credibility with Google so they'll move you to the top of local gym search results so you can get more local leads. 

 Want some tips on generating positive Google reviews to support your local marketing efforts? We've got you covered.