With there being so many benefits of Direct Debit for businesses, it’s no surprise that more and more gyms and fitness clubs are utilising it to collect monthly membership payments from their customers.
In fact, if recent trends are anything to go by, this is something that will only continue to rise. Over the past 10 years, the volume of Direct Debit transactions being processed has jumped from 2.9 million to 4.1 billion, and in 2016 alone, there was 4.9% growth in the use of Direct Debit.
So, what are the main advantages of Direct Debit for gyms, fitness clubs, and other businesses?
Firstly, you won’t have to chase late payments. If your customer hasn’t arranged for their membership to be automatically taken from their bank account each month, it can be easy for them to forget to do so- especially during particularly busy months. This isn’t just stressful for the customer, who may feel embarrassed about missing a payment, but it can also have a negative effect on your gym’s cash flow.
As a Direct Debit ensures the payment is made automatically on a specific date each month, this allows for better financial planning as you’ll have the peace of mind that your members’ fees will be paid on time.
Another advantage of Direct Debit for gyms and fitness clubs is that it’s easy to adjust. As an example, your gym’s membership fees may increase or decrease one year, and a Direct Debit will enable you to automatically change your customer’s billing amount without disruption.
With a Standing Order, however, your gym members will need to cancel their existing Standing Order, and set up a new one with you. Doing so can be a lengthy process, which can lead to payment delays.
Direct Debit agreements also reduce administration times as there’s less likelihood of payments being late or missed completely. Additionally, because Direct Debits are taken automatically, it’s quicker and easier to track your business’s in-going payments than your customer’s using cheques or cash.
The advantages of Direct Debit for customers
Now that you know the main benefits for your business, it’s time to encourage your gym members to make the switch to Direct Debit. One of the best ways you can achieve this is by being clear about the advantages they can have by setting-up a Direct Debit with your gym, instead of using Standing Orders and other payment methods.
Because their payments will be deducted from their bank account at the same time each month, your gym’s members will be able to budget for this accordingly (if needed), which reduces the risk of missed payments. There’s also no risk of your clients forgetting to manually make their payment one month, which can be time consuming, and cause a lot of stress and embarrassment.
One of the biggest advantages of Direct Debit for your gym members, however, is that it’s very secure. Not only will there be a record of all payments, but they’ll be protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee. This means they’ll be covered if a payment is ever taken incorrectly.
How to encourage your customers to switch to Direct Debit
With the peace of mind a Direct Debit can give your customers, it should be simple to encourage them to make the switch. You can choose to make them aware of the various benefits by an email or phone call, though you should also ensure your reception staff are explaining the advantages of switching to Direct Debit when members visit your gym to book classes or pay their membership manually.
If this isn’t enough to encourage them to change their payment method, you can also offer a discount for any members that switch to Direct Debit. Even if it’s just a small amount, and you can only provide the offer for a short period of time, this can still prove to be effective as your customers will have had enough time to get used to having the benefits of automatic payments with complete peace of mind.
Direct debits the Ashbourne way
The real benefit of doing your Direct Debit collection and recovery with Ashbourne Management is that we take the pain away from you by taking care of the entire process. This means that we collect the payments and transfer them into your nominated bank account while keeping you informed every step of the way.
Our dedicated customer services department can also diffuse any situations where your gym members may have difficulty making payments by dealing with them as empathetically as possible.
I have used Ashbourne for my payment collection for 10 years now. The software they have provided keeps improving and they work with the clubs to make it better. It’s easy to use and packed full of features.
At McCaulay’s Health Clubs and Gyms we utilise the full suite of Ashbourne services, including the latest Membership Validation Till System, which really is helping to boost our secondary spend. Their core service of payment collection is utterly reliable and professional.
My members can sign up online through the fully branded page that Ashbourne provide. If any of my members have a payment query they deal with Ashbourne direct, allowing me to concentrate on running my club.