PushPress Talks How to Use Their Software to Improve Client Retention
Ten years ago, LAX CrossFit gym owners Chris McConachie and Dan Uyemura were frustrated with the lack of effective gym management software available to small gym owners.
Their frustration, along with their desire to help other gym owners, led them, along with Brian Aung, to found the gym management company PushPress in 2013.
Nine years later, the company has become one of the most popular ones in the functional fitness and CrossFit space, and McConachie and Uyemura insist it’s because, not just them, but pretty much their entire staff has gym ownership experience.
“We learned through the experience of running our gym what we needed to build,” McConachie said, adding that their second big weapon is their willingness to adapt and constantly grow.
This was the case since the beginning. When they built the first edition of their CORE client management software, for example, they quickly realized, “Oh, everyone runs their gym differently. Like very differently…that was eye opening for us,” McConachie explained.
As a result, the company has taken the time to get to know all kinds of business models in the industry, and today they have an umbrella of 2,000 facilities that include, not only CrossFit and functional fitness gyms, but also MMA gyms, yoga studios, pilates studios and dance studios.
And one thing all of the latter facilities have in common is a desire to keep their clients, because as any gym owner or coach knows, it’s a whole lot easier to work with an experienced client you have a relationship with than it is to have to rely on bringing on brand new ones all the time.
This is also why all of PushPress’ various features and apps are designed to make focusing on client retention easier.
Five Ways to Improve Client Retention
When you have 50 members, it’s relatively easy to keep track of them all and to intuitively know who you haven’t seen recently.
But once you hit 100, 150, 200 members, the task becomes harder, and all of a sudden that client who used to show up to the 6 a.m. class four days a week hasn’t been in for two weeks and you haven’t noticed. Another two weeks go by and you finally realize you haven’t seen Jim, and now it’s too late. Jim has a lot going on in his life and he puts his membership on hold.
The key is to nip it in the bud, so to speak, and catch “at-risk” clients, as PushPress calls them, before it’s too late.
“People used to fall through the cracks all the time because we didn’t have a good follow up system, or sometimes something would happen like their credit card would bounce for four months and we didn’t even notice.”
The PushPress Core software makes it easy to do that, Uyemura explained, as the dashboard shows all of the at-risk clients, making follow-up simple and automatic.
Carl Neidholdt, who opened CrossFit Cerberus in Kansas City in 2012 said that using PushPress has made a huge difference to his client retention.
“People used to fall through the cracks all the time because we didn’t have a good follow up system, or sometimes something would happen like their credit card would bounce for four months and we didn’t even notice,” he explained, adding that PushPress is so easy that he has managed to outsource the follow-up duties to one of this coaches.
“They check the dashboard twice a week for at-risk clients who need attention and follow up with them,” he added.
Accountable Goal Setting
It goes without saying that when people have goals they care about, and that they’re actively striving toward, they’re more likely to be invested.
However, as any coach knows, sometimes follow-up can get lost in the shuffle, especially if you don’t have a good system for it. Sometimes it is because you have some clients texting you, others sending emails, others resorting to WhatsApp for communication, and others still sending direct messages to you on Instagram.
This is where the PushPress Train app comes in. It’s a single platform that allows clients to track workouts and progress, all the while allowing the coach to communicate with the client in one place, making accountability and goal setting follow-up—both on the client and coach end—that much more simple.
Offer New Programs
Similar to goal setting, where new goals keep it fresh for the client, offering new programs provides a similar benefit.
And while it can be time-consuming to constantly develop new specialty programs for experienced clients, PushPress user Rachel Wilson, the owner of Terrain Fitness in Wayne, NJ, has found PushPress makes this easier.
Wilson has used the Train app both to roll out specialty programs, such as a pulling program, for those looking to get their first pull-up or muscle-up.
“I think I will also create Level 2 programs and make it available so people can buy it on their own and I don’t have to be hands on…If you can write something once and be able to hand it to all these different people, then it’s priceless…that’s money coming in without doing anything,” Wilson said.
More than anything, though, he has found her pulling program brings people together, as they “band together and stay after (class) with their friends,” which only makes them “10 times more likely to do it,” she said.
And 10 times more likely to keep coming to the gym.
Be it a nutrition challenge or a Member of the Month online challenge, have you ever had a client win a challenge and quit the next month?
Again, Wilson uses Train to roll out various challenges to her members designed to keep them engaged and accountable, and ultimately sticking around the gym.
One challenge she rolled out on the Train app was a glute challenge designed to “force everyone into doing extra accessory work to strengthen their glutes,” she explained. She simply posted the accessory work each week, and clients could complete it on their own time.
Most recently, Wilson put out an outside walking challenge to her clients—where they uploaded pictures of their walks directly to the Train app—and said the initiative was great for community-building and keeping clients engaged with the community.
Find Ways to Save Time
The biggest limiting factor for the gym owner or coach to actively prioritize client retention might just be a lack of time.
Uyemura and McConachie know this, which is why they have devoted their lives to creating software that does just this: saves the gym owner time.
Last year, for example, they rolled out Grow—a platform that automates processes that generally bog the gym owner down—the goal being to automate tasks that a robot can do so coaches can devote the necessary time and energy to their clients.
And they’re currently working on their biggest project of all—a revolutionary AI assistant called Pressly, which Uyemura said is expected to be a three-year project.
Essentially Pressly will be able to handle even more robotic tasks than PushPress software currently does, freeing up the gym owner even more.
For example, when it comes to at-risk clients, Pressly might recognize that, even if a client has still been coming to the gym, maybe they haven’t been engaging on social media anymore, or maybe they have stopped making retail purchases at the gym.
“There are way more signs and signals that a person might be on the brink of quitting than just coming to the gym less,” Uyemura explained.
Alas, Pressly’s job will be to track client behavior and then report, for example, “Janice is 2.3 times more likely to quit in the next 30 days,” Uyemura explained. With that information, the gym owner can decide if and how to reach out to Janice.
In this sense, Uyemura likens Pressly to creating “a self-driving gym,” one that helps the client, the coach and the owner, but without taking away the human aspect of the experience.