Club Insider

Seven MUSTS for a Healthy Draft

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Melissa KnowlesMelissa Knowles

The monthly EFT draft is the lifeblood of most fitness businesses. You put in the work to grow your member base and achieve your business model's goal for recurring revenue. When you finally attain it, you breathe a little easier. The draft is there like a big blanket, keeping your business warm and cozy during the coldest nights. Or, as is generally the case in fitness, the slower sales months of summer. Something so precious to your business should always be top of mind. You should nurture it with new sales (obvious), mind your cancellations (still obvious) and ensure you have a good system in place to pick up missed monthly payments (totally obvious, right?). That last piece is where this article will focus. Because, while obvious, chasing past due payments is something that frequently falls by the wayside for many fitness businesses. Somewhere between driving new sales and running your club, this vital process gets relegated to a task on the front desk staff's daily task list. Maybe it gets done; likely, it doesn't.

A healthy draft requires a systematic approach and constant work. Our Past Due Communications Team here at GYM HQ works with successful ClubReady clients across the country to ensure no member is left behind! But, if you're stuck tackling the chore yourself, here are seven key steps to ensuring your hard-earned draft doesn't slip through the cracks:

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The absolute best way to maintain a healthy draft is to prevent past due payments from ever occurring. Ensure that good billing information is captured at point of sale. If your billing system allows for two payment methods (ACH and credit card), obtain both. Inquire if your system or merchant provider can set you up with an account updater service. This will help pick up the new card data for many cards (due to changes in card number or expiration date).

Make sure you can reach all your members. Capture ALL contact information from ALL members at point of sale. In order to clear up a past due balance or update billing information, you must be able to get in touch with the member. It's also a great idea to run member rosters from time-to-time and spot-check the data. Is your team filling in real email addresses or are they using na@na.com? Are they capturing cell numbers? The more contact points available, the more pathways you have for resolution.

Have a system and schedule for contacts. How often will you contact your members? After how many days past due? For how long? How will you make contact (email, phone, letter, SMS)? What will your message be? In business, everything needs a process, and this is no different. To be effective, it should be clearly mapped out and followed consistently. This includes considering which team member(s) is/are responsible for making the contacts. Dependable, consistent contact provides the best chances of successful resolution.

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