Keeping Your Clients Engaged and Your Staff Working

March 26, 2020
Author: Jo Ann Graser, NCPT, President, PMA Board of Directors

As studio closures sweep across our world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping your business viable becomes a difficult proposition. Beyond the complexities of landlord negotiations and other business infrastructure issues is the core of our mission, the health and wellness of our clientele.

How do we keep our clients engaged, moving and most of all connected to our community when we’ve literally shut the door in their face?

Virtual Realities
The topic of virtual sessions is at the forefront of our current conversations. Entire blog posts, forums and webinars are dedicated to this topic on an ongoing basis. Once we tackle the technical aspects, how do we convince our clients to stay engaged beyond our first complimentary “try our virtual class” offering? We take the same approach as we do in our brick and mortar location. Give value to our clients through a personalized approach. As movement professionals, we have come to rely on the art of cueing through touch. Now we must find that same intimate approach with our language.

Group vs. Individual
Sheltering in place is a lonely proposition. Even if you‘re not a household of one, losing the daily connection to others outside of our families is disorienting. We can connect people to each other through our virtual offerings of group classes. But don’t overlook the value of one on one sessions to support your clients both in their physical practice and their emotional state. If your business model included private sessions, do everything in your power to continue those sessions. Pilates as therapy can take on a whole new meaning in times such as these.

Be Bold and Think Outside the Box
Have you considered renting your equipment to clients and coaching them through private sessions online? Build a package that includes equipment rental and a set number of private sessions per week or month. The client will have the opportunity to work on the equipment by themselves, but by building in private sessions you will not lose your connection or value to them. Undertaking this process takes planning and execution, but the buy-in from your clients will pay dividends. Imagine doing virtual group equipment classes if you have several clients who take advantage of this offering!

Supporting Your Staff
As a business owner faced with uncertainties, the focus can be on how we can keep our business afloat on our own. After all, if we are doing the virtual sessions, we don’t have to pay someone else to do them. But this is the time to flip that thinking and be generous with your staff. Give them the opportunity to set up both group and private virtual sessions. They will stay connected and be more likely to return with you to the studio once this situation resolves. Your community will see your generosity and caring toward your staff as something they want to support. You’ll reap the benefits of support from the people who care about your business and want you to stay whole and viable.

Shifting Job Title
Approach the creation of a viable virtual option as if you are opening a brand-new business. Become the front desk, admin, lead instructor, director of marketing, head of logistics and cheer leader all in one. Finding things to do during your “shelter in place” won’t be a challenge. Embrace this temporary new order and approach it with the same enthusiasm you had when you opened your studio. Keep your staff and your clients engaged and involved as a community. They will all be there when you re-open your physical space.

Join us on Facebook LIVE tomorrow March 27 @2pm EST: Setting up virtual classes and training for your studio

Not yet a member of your professional association? Learn more on how to become one.


Category: Business