When a member fails to pay their membership dues, it’s helpful to try to work out the issue directly between your gym and the member. If that fails to work, you can then send the member to the collections process to see if a third party is able to recover the lost dues.
But what if the member returns to your gym at that point? How do you navigate this situation? Here are our three recommendations.
1. Resolve the Balance Directly
Once you have passed a member’s information on to a collections group, you might think it’s best to have a degree of separation from then on. But, if a member responds to the collections process by contacting your gym in an attempt to pay the balance, it’s beneficial to help them right then and there.
When you work with Aldous & Associates, you don’t have restrictions on where a member can pay their balance. You have the flexibility to take the member’s payment when the situation presents itself and a member is willing to resolve the balance. In fact, it’s preferable to take advantage of the moment. If you instead tell them to contact the collection company, odds are they won’t take that next step and you’ll miss out on the payment. After all, they came directly to you instead of responding to the collections communications.
2. Try to Retain Their Business
Customer retention is an important part of running a successful gym, or any successful business for that matter.
Gym member retention:
- Comes with a lower cost than gaining new members
- Keeps a continuous stream of membership
- Provides word-of-mouth marketing
Every gym should make it a top goal to focus on retention whenever possible.
While the collections process seems more about an ending than a continuation of a relationship, it can actually provide an opening. Since the member is returning to your gym directly, this shows an opportunity to keep them as a member. After all, they could have avoided your gym altogether and directly paid the collections company instead.
Take the opportunity to waive fees or offer the member another incentive if they sign up again with your services. If the member feels good about how they were treated during this interaction, they may want to stick with your gym for the long run and recommend it to other people. At the very least, they won’t have a negative experience to share with others.
That said, make sure to avoid pressuring the person too much, and make it just as easy for them to decide to cancel the membership. You’ll create a more positive experience by making it convenient for the person to continue with your services without feeling pushed.
3. Create Distance from Difficult Situations
With some members, you will face a negative situation. A member may respond to the collections process in a hostile, rude or otherwise aggressive way. They may be unwilling to work with you but want to take their frustration out on your staff members.
In this kind of scenario, you can use your relationship with a third-party collections company to your advantage. Your staff members shouldn’t have to deal with irate members. Instead, teach them to gain distance from this type of person by communicating that the matter is out of the gym’s hands. Your staff has the freedom to tell customers their information has been sent to a collections company and that they will need to resolve the problem through collections instead of through the gym.