Your clients should have a relationship with your brand. Their fitness should not hinge on their relationship with one coach.
If your client only attends YOUR classes, that’s a problem. It even has a name: the Icon Problem. Read about it here: The Icon Problem
If your client has a “coach for life”, they probably don’t have a “gym for life”. They’ll move with the coach. What happens with the “icon coach” takes a two-week vacation? What if the coach leaves? You’re building fragility into your business.
It’s critical for every client to receive the SAME experience from every coach in your gym. Consistency is more important than anything else. And the client experience should be spread across your staff.
One of the foundational positions we teach is the “Joy Girl”. In this role, one of your staff spends 2-3 hours per week working on retention. They call clients with “bright spots”. They do Goal Reviews. They call absentees. They follow up with texted videos. It’s a rewarding position for everyone: the Joy Girl, the client and the business.
Download the Joy Girl responsibilities sheet here:
Joy Girl responsibilities sample
When a client hits a PR, they get a call. “Hey Sam! I saw you linked 23 double-unders for the first time this week. We’re so proud of you! What are you going to do next?”
This creates the habit of constant micro-goal setting. Our 1:1 clients do this every session with their coach, of course, but the Joy Girl position takes the practice from on person to many. This makes it scalable for group training.
When a client is absent, the Joy Girl calls and says, “Hey Sam, last time we spoke, you said one of your goals was to link 50 double-unders. Are you getting closer to that goal?”
When a client has been absent for two weeks, a call from the Joy Girl gets them back into the box by Monday 50% of the time. Think about a client in your gym who’s been absent for half the month: what’s the likelihood they’re coming back? What’s the likelihood they’ll respond to your text saying, “Where are you? We miss you!” What’s the likelihood you’ll even SEND that text? In that context, 50% recovery rate is huge.
The skill set required for a Joy Girl isn’t a tough one: they have to smile on the phone, speak well, and be a good representation of your brand. I have a fantastic Joy Girl at Catalyst / Ignite, but I can think of three others in my gym who would also be great. It’s not an expensive role, but it’s an important one.
Read more about Specializing Your Staff here.
Can the “Joy Girl” be a boy? Of course. Can they have a different title? Absolutely – as long as their role is clearly defined with a checklist and practice time. Saying “you’re in charge of retention” isn’t actionable. Telling a coach to “call people who are missing” isn’t effective. Put the responsibility in the hands of the best person in your gym. Give them a contract. Evaluate their progress.
In small business, it’s sometimes tough for an owner to replace themselves. But for long-term success, a client MUST have a relationship with the brand–Catalyst or Ignite, in my case–that transcends their relationship with one person IN the brand. Having a Joy Girl is one small step toward anti fragility…and one big step toward a happier gym.
I wrote extensively about The Joy Girl in Two-Brain Business 2.0.