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The fitness industry is all about improvement. Improving performance, building muscles, losing fat. But what about improving your business?

If you are looking for ways to improve the services at your gym, surveying your members can help.

But what insights can you gain from member surveys, and how do you create and deliver effective surveys? Read on to find out. 

Insights Your Fitness Center Could Gain from Member Surveys

Goals of Member Surveys

Before you create your survey, you first want to establish the goal. Is it gym improvements, customer retention, or something else? This goal will inform what you ask your members and the types of questions you ask. Specific goals are far more effective than broad ones. 

Types of Questions and Their Analysis

When writing your survey, consider the types of questions you want to ask. The question type is just as important as the content of the question, so put some consideration into this.

Here are a few question types you might like to consider: 

Likert Scale Questions

These questions determine how your members feel about a particular thing. They give 5 options for how likely someone is to do something: 

  1. a) Very Likely
  2. b) Likely
  3. c) Neither likely nor Unlikely
  4. d) Unlikely
  5. e) Very Unlikely

You can also use Likert Scale Questions for agreeing or disagreeing. 

These are highly easy to analyze and gain insights from, as you can calculate the percentage of people who have selected each option.

Multiple choice

These questions give your members several options to pick from a list. They can be useful in helping you determine what changes you want to make, or what the most popular item is from a range of choices. 

Like Likert scale questions, these are highly easy to analyze and gain insights from.

Open-Ended

Open-ended questions allow your members to speak freely. They are not locked in or restricted by given options. 

However, these are the most difficult to analyze and gain insights quickly. When evaluating responses, look for trends or similar replies to group together.  

Insights Your Fitness Center Could Gain from Member Surveys

Survey Delivery and Format

Consideration of how you will deliver your survey to your members and the format you will use are important decisions to make in the planning phase. How you will deliver it often informs the format you'll use, which is why these two sections are together. 

Delivery

Once you have your survey written, consider how you'll deliver it to your members. There are many options here, and what works for one gym may not work for another.

Consider the size of your gym and the culture. In a small gym, talking to gym members in person is exceptionally powerful. However, some people may be put on the spot. For a larger gym, this may not be realistic. Do you have a mailing list you can use to send your survey out to your members?  

Format

Whether you email your survey or have people complete it in person, using a digital survey form has many advantages. You'll be saving trees by not needing to print survey copies, you won't lose any responses, and most survey software will collate your data for you. 

Google Forms

Google Forms lets you create a simple form with a range of question and answer types. Best of all, this is completely free.

Typeform

A step up from Google Forms, Typeform allows you to create a more sophisticated survey with multiple pathways and options. There is a cost associated with it, so allow for this in your budget. 

Survey Monkey

Similar to Typeform, Survey Monkey is another software that will let you create sophisticated surveys and collate your insights for you. 

Collecting Responses

While surveys are extremely valuable, getting members to respond can be a challenge. Generally, response rates for market research or customer satisfaction surveys are within the range of 10-30%

It is generally best to steer clear of incentives or rewards, as it can seem unethical to offer a reward and often positively skew your data. 

If you intend to email your survey to members, research shows that personalizing emailed survey invitations can increase the response rate by as much as 7%. 

Consider creating a window of time when your survey will be running to create a sense of urgency for your members, increasing the likelihood of a response. This will also make it easier for you to process and collate the results. 

 

Insights Your Fitness Center Could Gain from Member Surveys

Top 5 Questions for Member Surveys

The member survey questions below are a great starting point for a gym wanting to make improvements to support member retention. Consider the number of questions you want to ask. A survey with too many questions will negatively impact the response rate

Question 1: How long (on average) do you spend here? 

Insights gained: 

This will tell you if members work out for an extended period, immediately leave, or use the gym as a social environment. If they're social, consider if you cater to this with the spaces in your gym. 

The more comfortable and at home your members feel, the more likely they will refer friends, upsell and renew their membership. Remember that retaining members is five times cheaper than getting new ones.  

Question 2: How many pieces of equipment do you use when you're here, and do you find it easy to use? 

Insights gained: 

This will tell you how comfortable your members are with the equipment you have on offer and tell you if any pieces of equipment are not being used. 

Placing some additional trainers around the gym or having trainers make periodic laps of the gym floor can make people feel like they have access to someone who can help them during their session. Ultimately they're going to feel more comfortable at your gym, driving your retention rates up. 

If you think your equipment may be too difficult to use, consider looking at the top equipment brands of 2021. You might also like to consider if any different and new equipment that you haven't used before would be beneficial. 

Question 3: How often do you attend any of our classes or challenges? 

Insights gained: 

From this simple Likert Scale question, you can determine the number of your members who engage in community-based activities at the gym. 

Fitness challenges are a great way to foster a sense of community in your gym and increase retention. Consider the types of classes and challenges you are running. Are they inclusive enough that there is something for everyone? 

Question 4: What could we do better? 

Insights gained: 

This depends on what your members say. However, this question has the potential to be extremely beneficial. 

Asking your members this makes them feel heard and valued. It's important to include an open question like this one as it is assumption-free. This question ensures you allow members to comment on aspects that you may not have thought of. A key tip is never to put this question last, as putting it last gives the impression that it is least important. 

Question 5: What barriers stop you from coming to the gym? 

Insights gained: 

Learn why your members are sometimes prevented from coming or struggle to get to the gym and identify areas that you could solve. 

Often it can be easy to dismiss barriers such as "I finished work late" as things that are not your problem or responsibility to solve. However, asking this question has a dual benefit.

First, you make your members feel like you care about their health and fitness all the time, not only when they're at the gym. Second, solving problems that others in the industry feel are not their responsibility to solve is how many successful businesses have flourished in their respective industries. Take Phillips, for example, who solved the annoyance of limescale from tap water in tea by adding a simple filter. 

Insights Your Fitness Center Could Gain from Member Surveys

Processing the Insights

Once you have your survey results, collating the data and deciding where to enact change can be challenging. Look at your survey results and consider what the results are telling you.

There is more than one solution to a given problem. Members may be asking for childcare, but what they're really saying is they need greater flexibility. Consider other ways to solve their problem, such as using virtual training software, helping members to take care of their fitness both in and outside the gym. 

Consider areas for growth in simple places. These could include changing the way you conduct fitness assessments using a 3D body scanner to keep clients engaged and informed.

Identify 3-5 changes you can make and are willing to make based on your survey results. Then develop an action plan for each. 

Most importantly, tell your members. Let them know you have looked at the survey and what they can expect as a result. 

Get Started With Member Surveys Today

When created and implemented effectively, member surveys can be extremely powerful, helping you improve your member's overall experience, increasing your retention and upsells. 

Staying up to date with the most recent fitness research and technology can be challenging. Subscribe to our blog for all the latest updates. 

Giselle Naranjo

Written by Giselle Naranjo