On Reopening:

How to get your clients to rebook, long term

Are you in the midst of the first weeks of re-opening your Pilates studio, or are you about to do so?

Would you like to know the 4 simple, but not easy, steps to have the majority of your clients rebooked back into their regular sessions for the long term?

This article is about how we did that at our Pilates Can studios in Canberra in the last few weeks.

We now have the majority of our pre-COVID shutdown clientele rescheduled into regular sessions on our timetables for the long term. This is an exciting place to be, after the business carnage of Pilates studio shutdowns.  We are sharing some of our practical strategies so that you can also make this happen more effectively for your studio/s. The main strategies include:

  1. The “secret ingredient” is the number one reason that all these other strategies listed below have worked so well. You already have this!
  2. How to spread the word to your clients who are happy to help = communication
  3. “The Free Survey”- this worked like magic when combined with all the other elements
  4. The specific spreadsheets reports that made sure “nobody was left behind”.

Many Pilates Businesses around Australia are in the middle of grappling with this process, and others are still yet to open.  Let’s look at these 4 elements in some detail, starting with the most important and moving on through all the practical strategies that any motivated studio owner can implement.

Key elements: the details

So the number one thing that allowed us to bring over 200 of our clients back into their regular studio based Pilates sessions, has definitely been the very strong connection that those clients have with their regular instructors, other clients and our studio culture in general.  This is the “glue” that has held us all together and made this process a pleasure in amongst all the work to “get it done”.

A fantastic example of that glue, is a client reaction back in the days (seems years ago now) just after “shutdown”, when we were “Pivoting” clients from their studio sessions to our then very new, in fact only just conceived, “online, interactive Pilates sessions”.

I was providing technical support for one of our many new online semi-private sessions.  Some of our clientele were struggling to connect due to being “technically challenged”.  One particular client finally connected and on seeing her instructor on her monitor could not help but clap her hands together and exclaim with absolute unbridled glee “I’ve got Kirrilly!“. Wow, now that’s connection.

Whilst that example is on the extreme end of the curve for positive connection, I believe that all Pilates studios have similar connections to various degrees.  This is the nature of our business and one of the reasons that we stick with it.  We are not gyms, right?

So how do we build, and maintain, that sort of connection?  Well that would need a whole series of podcasts and a book.

How we leveraged our positive connection to spread the word to our clients, has been a combination of personalised and bulk emails along with social media posts. These have been aimed at keeping in touch with the clients and keeping them updated as the situation constantly changed.  Here is the link to our “Health Maximisation Update Page” which has been particularly effective.

You can find a variety of communication strategies on that page including a generic version of the personalised email that we sent to all our clients asking them to fill in a “Very Important Survey”.

That survey cost us nothing other than a little bit of creativity on our free “Survey Monkey” account.

A spreadsheet with the following headings is how we kept track of the survey responses and used those responses to reschedule regular sessions onto our timetables (scroll to see all column headings).

Survey Monkey Responses - Pilates Can Re Open Studio
No in SurveyLast NameFirst NameOnline SessionServiceDayTimeInstructorIn StudioServiceDayTimeInstructorClient CommentsPriorityPilatesCan CommentsAction TakenSent Email

We were absolutely blown away with receiving over 200 responses to this survey, within 48 hours of sending it as part of a personalised email to every client. Almost 75% of clients committed to their regular studio sessions & almost 20% committed to continuing with their online interactive option.

Now, a couple of weeks later we have 230 responses and are left with following up just a relative handful of stragglers, a few of whom will be lost forever…  Only losing a few is fantastic!

With the studios re-opening we are also experiencing a higher than usual increase of new clientele.

We are using these “unglamorous” spreadsheets to ensure nobody is left out in “Shutdown Land”.

No Survey Received - Received via Email Responses - Pilates Can Re Open Studio
NoLast NameFirst NameOnline SessionServiceDayTimeInstructorIn StudioServiceDayTimeInstructorClient Comments via EMailPilatesCan CommentsAction TakenSent Email

At the time of this article being published, there are only about 20-30 names now on this list that are yet to be properly followed up. We have lost very few clients through this unprecedented rough time.  And we have hit the ground running fast and free after re-opening….YIPPPPEEEE!

Follow ups by Phone Call and Text - Pilates Can Re Open Studio
Call Follow UpText Follow Up
ClientPhoneEmail AddressFirst Survey Email DateFollow up Survey Email Date1st Attempt DateRep2nd Attempt DateRep1st Attempt DateRep2nd Attempt DateRepResultPilates Can Comments

All the best to all you Pilates champions.

 

Guest article by David Gunther, Co-Owner Pilates Can Pty Ltd

david@pilatescan.com.au