The Power of a Nudge to get People using your Club

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When you doubt the value of a CRM system look at the evidence.

Whether it provides your exercise team with an organised way to email their clients or to provide you with an organised way to schedule motivational calls to your members, remember this US walking study.

Unable to push herself to exercise, Ruthanne Lowe joined a research study aimed at motivating the sedentary with a surprisingly simple technique—an occasional telephone reminder.

“It really did work,” says Ms. Lowe, a 66-year-old housewife in San Jose, Calif. Three years after the study ended, she says, “I’m doing more exercise than I ever did in my life.

The study, conducted by Stanford University, belongs to a growing body of research showing that small amounts of social support, ranging from friends who encourage each other by email to occasional meetings with a fitness mentor, can produce large and lasting gains against one of America’s biggest health problems—physical inactivity.

Only 48% of Americans say they meet the federal recommendation for exercising half an hour most days of the week, and the actual percentage is believed to be much lower. Exercise researchers estimate that nearly all sedentary people at one time or another have resolved and failed to maintain exercise programs.

In the Stanford study, 218 people were divided into three groups. After an introductory session, during which Ms. Lowe established a goal of walking half an hour most days of the week, a Stanford health educator called her and other members of her group every three weeks, on average, for a year to ask about their compliance and to cheer them on. A second group of participants received calls not from humans but from a computer programmed to make similar inquiries.

The caller, whether human or computer, asked the participants to recite the amount of exercise they performed during the past week. Participants were then congratulated on any exercise performed and asked how the level might be increased in the week ahead. When lapses occurred, as they invariably did because of illness, travel or unforeseeable events, the goal was to impress upon participants the importance of resuming the workout as soon as possible. All questions were designed to encourage rather than to scold.

After 12 months, participants receiving calls from a live person were exercising, as a mean, about 178 minutes a week, above government recommendations for 150 minutes a week. That represented a 78% jump from about 100 minutes a week at the start of the study. Exercise levels for the group receiving computerized calls doubled to 157 minutes a week. A control group of participants, who received no phone calls, exercised 118 minutes a week, up 28% from the study’s start. “When you knew you were going to have to report back on what you had done, it motivated you,” says Ms. Lowe.

It’s clearly the small things, the top of mind touches that make the difference in making customers advocates of your club.

It can’t be stressed enough the importance of staying in touch with your new inexperienced members. If you want to reduce attrition and increase the magnetic pull of your member referrals, then use these techniques to support your new members and help them get results. The evidence of this study and many others clearly support it.

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