Net Promoter score is a great way to improve your club
Wed, October 2, 2013 at 15:12
Brad Spiegel in Brent Darden, Joe Moore, Net Promoter Score, Research, bonomo, the retention people

Being a service industry, it is imperative that health and fitness clubs make the customers happy and leave them feeling good about their experiences. 

Currently The Retention People (TRP) is conducting its Member Loyalty Survey for the North American fitness industry. The results are being used to determine the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a member loyalty and retention tool.

The most up-to-date numbers shows North America clubs checking in with a 44% NPS. To compare, The Retention People conducted the survey for the UK fitness industry a couple years ago and it came back with 21%; nationally recognized companies like (76%), Trader Joe’s (73%) and Apple (71%) all made the top 10.

The survey asks one question, “How likely are you to recommend your club to a colleague or a friend?” Respondents answer on a scale of 0 to 10. Scores are divided into three categories – detractors (0-6), passive (7-8) and promoters (9-10). Passive is thrown out and then TRP takes the promoters percentage (if there are 10 respondents and 4 were promoters, that is 40%) and subtracts the detractors percentage) from the promoters to get the NPS.


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Phil Bonomo, director of TRP, said that North America’s 44% is not a number that should have fitness professionals calling consultants to overhaul their facility. However, there is room for improvement.

“A 44 is not a very favorable score for any company or industry that is service oriented,” said Bonomo, a former IHRSA employee in the Marketing department. “A lot of hotels use NPS and a 44 would not be acceptable. While it is good on a comparative basis, it does warrant improvement. I don’t see why the fitness industry couldn’t score in the high 50s or low 60s. It is OK but not great.”

Brent Darden, IHRSA board member and owner of TELOS Fitness Center in Dallas, noted that despite being known as an industry that mostly works face-to-face with its members that doesn’t always mean it does a good job.

“As an industry, the reality is that we have never been known for the service in our clubs,” Darden said. “In some ways this seems counterintuitive, since we generally pride ourselves on hiring friendly, positive, outgoing team members. I believe the missing link in many cases to better member experience is more of a systems problem.”

So, how can clubs use NPS to improve their scores and the scores of the industry as a whole?

The Member Loyalty Survey has space after the question for participants to expand on their score. This is an opportunity to explain specific areas that were the reason for the score, or maybe it gives suggestions on how to improve.

Bonomo explained that there isn’t a fix-all. It obviously depends on what is noted as the issues. But he did say that it is a continuing process and management has to step back and “look within itself” to see where the problems lie and what needs to be done to change.

“If a club doesn’t have a culture that is willing to change then the NPS will continue to be poor,” he said.

“When you see the companies on top of the (top scores) list … Immediately you know it focuses on customers.”

Darden said that his facility has used the NPS for the past couple years and despite receiving favorable scores management find plenty to work on. Obviously not everyone is a promoter and thus there are comments and constructive criticism that gives TELOS an opportunity to improve. He said any club can do the same – whether it has received a NPS score in 70s, a not-so-good score of -20 (negatives happen), or hasn’t been given a score at all.

“Providing more comprehensive and structured service training for employees and implementing an accountability tool for measurement of service delivery will drive improvement,” he said.

Joe Moore, president and CEO of IHRSA, said that regardless of the score NPS is a great tool for clubs and the industry as a whole.

“The NPS is a valuable tool because it allows you to learn how your clubs compare to others,” he explained. “It gives you unbiased information about the views of your members.”




Article originally appeared on IHRSA (
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