Customer databases: the principals are the same but the tools are different now
You may think you know all you need to know about your clients and can keep a database “in your head” with a few post-it notes scattered here and there to remind you.
Yes, that can work when you first start out and you’re not too busy, but if you are planning on growing your business as you should be, how about getting a system in place to track your clients professionally, reliably and in more detail?
The Dreaded Paperwork!
Let’s admit it – personal trainers aren’t always the best at getting paperwork done!
We are all about time in the gym, working with clients, keeping ourselves looking good and feeling fit and healthy; paperwork often gets put in the “too hard” pile!
A business without its records, files and paperwork in order will not get very far, unfortunately. So there are a couple of ways to deal with this potential problem.
Either we learn to do it and make time each week to get it done – or we outsource it to someone who can look after it for us; the latter option may be the best in the long run, so that it frees up more time for you, but at first it’s great if you can get into the habit of filling in all the information yourself.
Either way, part of the process is to design, build and maintain a client database and that’s what we look at below.
The Client Database
Why is this important? Because it lets you know exactly where you are right now – in terms of how many clients you have, how much you are earning from each client, the sessions you are running and so on.
Think of your client database as a quick snapshot of the state of your business, so it’s important to build one as soon as you have more than a few clients to work with.
What to Include
Your database should have 2 sections – one for active clients and one for ex clients (because you may be able to win them back or market other products to them in the future.)
In each of the two sections include the following column headings:
- Number of Sessions Per week
- Package You Provide Them
- Start date
- End Date
- Email address
- Phone Number
- Amount Per week
- Payment Frequency
If you create this in Excel or an equivalent spreadsheet program, then you can add formulae that will help to calculate the total amount of income you make per week from all the clients, for example.
This is very simple to create and easy to update, if you get into a routine. Failing that, be sure to send accurate information at least every week to the person administering your database, as new clients come on board or other clients “fall off the back end.”
The Personal Client Database
This is where you enter more detailed information about your clients so that you have a more personal profile of each person. The client will probably be relying on you to track their sessions and you should be able to provide accurate and timely information as they request it.
As you get closer to them, you will also want to note their birthdays and their likes/dislikes and interests, so that you build a closer bond with them.
What to Include
You can keep a record of the following details for each client you work with:
- Joining Date
- Date of Birth
- Address and Contact Details
Then you should create a log of each session so that you know the session number, the date, time, type of session, comments and the action needed afterwards.
The best time to complete this information is immediately after each session or the same day at least, so that the information is fresh in your mind.
Just Get Started!
With tasks like this, it’s important to stop putting it off and to just get started; you’ll find that it’s not as hard or as mind-numbing as you feared it to be and your personal training business will be much better off for it.