There’s no point trying to be delicate about the situation: the outbreak of coronavirus has caused upheaval in our personal and professional lives. No one is unaffected and many people are scared. And because the best way to slow the spread of the virus is to practice social distancing, businesses like yours are suffering.
We don’t yet know for how long social distancing will be a part of our lives, and across the world businesses like gyms and fitness studios are being asked to shut their doors. Even knowing that temporarily closing is the right thing to do, it’s ok to feel frustrated by this. It’s ok to feel worried about your business prospects.
As a business owner, the most important thing you can do right now is to follow the safety recommendations and protocols from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and your country’s government. The second most important thing you can do is communicate regularly with your clients.
Clarify your COVID-19 Plan
If you haven’t already emailed your customers, now is the time to do so. Keep the message serious but hopeful; acknowledge the uncertainty they feel. In the email, let them know the status of your business and what your plan is if you have to cancel classes. Make sure to cover:
- What happens to clients’ passes and plans if classes are cancelled?
- How will you treat memberships?
- How you are sanitizing your facility to promote client and staff safety
If there are any updates to your policies or status, update your clients to let them know. The more informed they feel, the more in control they’ll feel–and we could all use a little of that confidence right now.
Take Your Community Online
The great thing about social media and the internet is that our communities can exist online. Use this time at home to really bulk up your social media accounts. Share links to home workouts, offer fitness tips, and post articles you think your clients would find interesting.
Some gyms may be able to offer their classes remotely, but others aren’t able to. That said, you can still consider hosting a workout online, just for fun. Even if it’s just through a Google Hangout, it’s still a way for your community to come together, get moving and have some fun. It’s also another way to stay connected to your clients to keep retention rates up.
Maintain Email Contact
When you can’t see your clients in person, it’s even more important to maintain consistent communication online. If you don’t already send out a newsletter, consider starting one–even if it’s just temporary. Use it to share interesting, fitness-related content, give updates on the state of your business, and invite client engagement. Staying in touch now will help things return to normal more quickly once social distancing measures are lifted.
COVID-19 won’t be around forever and one day, hopefully soon, your doors will open again. Let your clients know that you’re planning great things for that day and that you can’t wait to see them again. Maybe take some time now to develop new classes that you can get clients excited about.
Taking a hopeful tone during a scary time is important for client retention and for soothing anxiety. Give them something to look forward to, and they’ll stick with you. Remember, we’re all in this together.