As a fitness studio owner, keeping your clients happy is essential to the success of your business. But there’s a difference between complacent customers and happy customers. Ideally, you want your class members to be so satisfied with the experience you provide that they start to act as a type of free marketing for your studio – recruiting friends and family members to come in and sweat along with them at their favorite workout.
If only you knew what your customers were thinking, right? And while asking students about their thoughts on the new schedule or adding certain amenities can help, it’s tough to get the type of constructive criticism you’re looking for from classgoers who don’t want to hurt your feelings. We asked a few fitness enthusiasts to tell us what they wish studio owners knew – and they didn’t hold back! Here are a few things you might want to consider at your studio.
#1: More flexible class times
There’s no sweet spot that you’re going to hit to appease each and every client’s personal work schedule. But for Jill, 30, finding a studio that offers classes that work with her schedule is the deciding factor for where she’ll workout.
“As a daily yoga class taker, I’ve grown to love my studio and teachers – however the studio’s class schedule has become inconvenient for my daily work schedule which has forced me to find a new studio (sadly!)” she says. “The earliest class is from 7:30 am-8:30 am which doesn’t give me enough time to shower and get to work, and the evening classes are at 6 pm (which I can’t get to in time from work), and 7:30pm which doesn’t allow me to get home until 9pm – so it’s too late!”
It’s helpful to make small adjustments to your schedule every quarter or so as a test of engagement. Even moving your 6:00pm class to 6:15pm could make the difference for members. Just keep an eye on your traffic to make sure you’re making the right changes.
#2: Free towels
Determining which amenities to offer and where to save costs is a delicate balance for studio owners. For Zach Hendrix, co-founder of Green Pal, deciding where to work out comes down to one small (but important) deciding factor. “The one thing I can say out of the six different studios I have tried in the last couple of months around the Nashville area is that I wish studio owners knew that we need towels,” he says. “Some studios offer free towels and some do not. What I’m finding is I will literally make my decision on if they have towels available or not. I recently have lost 80 pounds in the last 12 months but I still sweat profusely and I feel embarrassed in front of classmates if I’m not able to regularly dry off!” If you’re considering offering towel service, check out our lowdown on laundry to get a better sense of the economics.
#3: Correcting form
You never want to have an injury happen as a result of one of your classes, so employing instructors who are properly trained and know how to spot incorrect form is key. For Christina, 28, taking class at a studio where instructors are emphasizing the right way to do each move is important. “I wish more teachers corrected form,” she says. “There’s also a class I take that provides modification for specific bodies. Everyone’s form will always look different depending on flexibility, injuries, etc.” Personal attention is always key and often the reason students choose to come to a studio over working out on their own, so be sure to provide modifications when you see them.
#4: More time to stretch
There will always be those students who skip out on the post-workout stretch – no matter how important you tell them it is. But for Catherine, 29, a thorough stretch is something she looks forward to. “I love a good workout class and love that instructors try their best to squeeze in as much workout in an hour as possible,” she says. “But I wish a little more time was dedicated to showing everyone how to properly stretch afterwards. I’m willing to cut a few minutes off of my workout, or stay a little longer, to stretch because I know I’m not going to do it when I get home!” As an instructor, give students the space to leave if they need to know, but offer those extra juicy stretches for anyone who wants to properly recover post-class.
#5: Diverse playlists
Trying to appeal to every class member’s taste in music is virtually impossible. But for Kassie, 28, her favorite class instructors are the ones who take the time to diversify their playlists to try and have songs that’ll suit a wide range – and make the workout flow more smoothly. “The right music can make or break a workout,” she says. “After a long day, the last thing I want to do is listen to the same Top 40 hits that I can’t seem to get away from. Some of my favorite new bands have come by way of my spin instructor – who should really be a DJ, she’s that good!” Check out some of our top tips for creating new and inspired playlists!
#6: Welcoming beginners
You want to set your new students up for a successful workout. But for Becca, 31, having an instructor who knows how to make her feel welcome without singling her out is key. “I hate being the person who has to raise her hand as being the new girl,” she says. “One of the big reasons that I joined my local kickboxing studio is because at my first workout, the instructor approached me before class, introduced herself and took me through what the class would involve without pointing me out to everyone. I think that’s a better way to go about it – and it definitely made me want to come back a second time.”
#7: Free water
It’s probably one of the most expensive freebies to offer to your customers – but for Kayla, 26, having access to either water bottles or a place to fill up her own bottle makes her workout more effective. “There’s nothing worse than showing up to a new class to find that the only option for filling up a water bottle is trying to angle it a certain way in the bathroom sink,” she says. “Even if you have a Brita filter available out on the front desk, it’s better than nothing!”
Learn more about the surprise amenities clients love.