Three Simple Ways to Minimize Athlete Churn

Minimizing churn.

As an Affiliate owner you’re probably quite familiar with the term churn, also commonly referred to as attrition. Frequently expressed as a percentage, churn is the number of members that cancel their memberships in a given time period divided by the number of members you started with at the beginning of that same time period. Churn exists in all membership or subscription based businesses and CrossFit Affiliates are no exception. Members will come and go; the trick is keeping them for as long as possible.

Here are three simple ways to minimize athlete churn in your Affiliate:

1. Track attendance

 It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many Affiliates either don’t take attendance or think that listing names on the whiteboard constitutes attendance tracking (it doesn’t).

Let’s look at why attendance tracking (with software) is critical for the health of your Box:

Visit data: Tracking attendance gives you valuable data with which to make informed decisions. What are your busiest days? Which classes consistently have low attendance? Are total visits trending upward or downward? Did you have a dip in total visits last summer? Should you expect a similar seasonal dip this year? This insight is crucial to business, especially staffing and revenue.

Capture lost revenue: Client management software can alert you to a failed payment or overdue membership, which gives you the ability to capture this lost revenue on the spot. That’s money in your pocket instead of out the door.

Automate retention marketing: If you track visit data, you can easily automate retention marketing efforts to follow up with clients who haven’t attended class in 10 days. Reaching out to your absentee clients keeps them engaged with your business and less likely to churn, while helping to foster an ongoing client relationship.

2. Offer alternative programming

Are you offering a one-size-fits-all WOD day in and day out? Consider stratifying your classes into levels or offering a low intensity or yoga class. It’s likely that very few of your clients are 22-year-old aspiring Games athletes. Offering programming options will go a long way toward growing your membership numbers and reducing churn.

You’ll also find that people enjoy some seasonality in their training. They might hit it hard in the WOD for several weeks and then drop back into a low intensity class for the next 10 to 12 days. By offering alternative classes you’ll keep clients in your gym. People will churn if they feel their needs aren’t being met.

3. Improve the client experience

Sit down somewhere comfortable, kick off your shoes and close your eyes. First, spend some time thinking about your demographic and who your typical client is. Keep this typical client in mind when you do the following exercise:

Imagine you’re a new client entering your business for the first time. What do you see? Who greets you? Is the facility clean? Is the atmosphere welcoming? What happens after your first visit? How are you communicated with? Do you feel like this is the place that will help you see results?

Take notes! If at any point in this mental exercise you find yourself cringing or thinking you can improve, jot it down.

Next, do the same exercise but imagine you’re an existing member who’s been training with you for over a year. Are you still making progress or have you outgrown the offerings? If you had a concern and brought it up, would it be addressed?

People love to do business with people and businesses they respect. In today’s age your clients want to see an online schedule, be able to enroll in classes and make payments from their phone, and they want to have a great experience. Take some time to implement and refine the above in your business — everything you can do to improve the client experience will affect your ability to keep your members long term, thereby keeping churn to a minimum.


By Nicki Violetti, co-founder of Front Desk. Contact her at or visit