Business Strategies

Empower Your Fitness Instructors to Increase Retention

Nicole Cier | August 12, 2019

It’s not a secret that acquiring new customers costs much more (time and money) than retaining current ones, especially in the boutique fitness industry.

Fitness requires consistent effort to yield results, which means that retention at your studio is particularly important to keep an eye on. Providing a great experience can prevent clients from choosing to continue their fitness journey elsewhere. And in such a saturated market, it’s more important than ever to make your fitness studio stand out from the competition. 

What better way to keep clients engaged than through the people that engage with them the most?! Your instructors are one of the most valuable resources at your studio to retain clients — they spend the most time with them and have the most opportunities to strike up a conversation. Help your staff foster more meaningful interactions with their fitness students, and form a community to retain them, using these instructor tips:

Socialize Beyond the Classroom

Being available to speak with clients immediately upon their entry creates a friendly, supportive atmosphere. Have your instructors stand behind the front desk or in the lobby during check-in time for their classes, if possible, to greet clients before class. This provides the opportunity to learn each client’s name and call them out during class to compliment their performance and motivate them individually. Clients will be able to inform the instructor of any injuries in case their workout will need a modification, and they can use that extra few minutes before class to get to know each other.

If you can, try to schedule classes with slightly longer transition times, so that instructors have more time between each session to interact with clients or address any concerns. Students can sometimes feel rushed out of the room to make room for the next class, implying that the studio is all about the money and numbers, rather than promoting a community feeling that nurtures each individual customer. Being open to conversation before and after class allows for a more connected and productive bond between your instructors and clients.

Help Clients Achieve Their Goals

Instructors are the “experts” in the eyes of clients and are often the go-to person at the studio to share their questions and goals with. Encourage your instructors to ask their clients about what motivates them, and what goals they would like to work towards by participating in their classes. They can provide tips, knowledge, and inspiration to keep them on track to achieve these goals (while strengthening their own credibility). Recommend that your instructors check in with each client about their individual goals from time to time, and track their progress. Show that they truly care about their individual progress and satisfaction within the studio.  After all, clients are at your studio to reach their fitness goals in the first place, so the ideal outcome is to have them come back for classes that will help them achieve these goals!

Boost Energy & Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is contagious — spread it by allowing your instructors to express themselves and truly have a good time in each session. Let your instructors curate their own playlists for class so they have creative freedom (within reason) to provide a unique experience each time a client attends their class. Moving to the beat of their own drum — literally — fosters a more genuine passion for their classes and can increase their energy and engagement, which clients will notice. 

Encourage instructors to attend other classes at the studio, either as participants or to co-lead a class with another fellow instructor. This serves as an endorsement to your other instructors and classes and can introduce clients to different types of classes they can discover. It also allows clients to get to know other staff at your studio, strengthening the community relationships that are vital for retention. 

Use Valuable Retention Tools

There are plenty of ways to strengthen community ties within your fitness studio, but what about once clients head home after class? Communicating beyond the classroom keeps the studio fresh in the mind of clients, and provides the extra personal touch that will draw them back. Having your instructors follow up with their students after class, using the FitGrid Pro app, gives your studio a competitive edge by motivating customers one-on-one. Instructors can customize their follow-up messages to reflect their personality, and can even include social media handles to further enhance the feeling of connectedness. Messages are sent quickly and easily with a few taps on the app and allow clients to reply, sparking up a conversation. It’s these individual interactions that clients will remember, and that can make the difference between a client that fades away and one that forms genuine relationships at your studio and feels a part of the community.

Instructors have the power to shift the dynamics at your fitness studio — why not leverage that to form better client relationships and boost your retention? The more involved your instructors are at the studio, the more excited your students will be to see them, time and time again! 

BONUS: Does you speak your clients’ preferred language—emojis? Here are the most effective ones to use, according to our analysis of nearly half a million messages sent to fitness studio customers. To learn more, get our free “Guide to Effective Client Interactions” 


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Marketing Intern at FitGrid, Strategic Communication & Marketing student at Rowan University.

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FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level