Every class instructor, studio or gym will have experienced clients dropping out of their classes. Some clients will do this days in advance, and have legitimate reasons, while others may drop out at the last minute, because a last minute offer to go for drinks with friends came up, or they simply didn’t feel like it any more – although they’ll never tell you this!
Whilst it’s near-impossible for you to create a class refund policy based on the validity of the excuse, you can easily create a class refund policy on your group class booking system, based on the amount of notice a client provides when dropping out. And, you can supplement this with manual refunds for last minute dropouts with genuine reasons at your own discretion. With a combination of these, you can increase your chances of having full classes and never turning up to an empty studio.
Setting a fair refund policy
You want to be fair and flexible with your clients; after all them liking you is in your best interest in the long term. However if your classes are full, you may have other clients wanting to join, who you need to be fair to as well – and providing them with 5 minutes notice that a space is available isn’t always going to work. Then we need to consider what’s a fair refund policy for you too! You work hard, so it’s not fair that your income should suffer because your client has changed their mind at the last minute.
How do other industries work
You’ll probably have encountered refund policies in your own life – whether that’s at a private dental appointment, a hair dresser, hotel stay, spa or similar service/ experience. These of course vary from business to business as well however a standard policy is generally 24 hours before the appointment date and time. It’s worthwhile considering other industries as often customer expectations are set across the board and so can be a useful benchmark to consider.
Things to consider
If you run fun classes which everyone looks forward to, and don’t experience many dropouts, you may be happier setting a much more flexible refund policy. Whereas if you run a dauntingly difficult fitness class, that is prone to dropouts whenever any excuse can be found, you might want to set a stricter refund policy on your group class booking system.
The bottom line
So what’s the bottom line? While each business is unique, and will have their own needs, our general recommendation is to set a 24 hour refund policy on your group class booking system because it’s:
• Easy to explain and remember
• Fair to all parties
• Allows enough notice to replace a drop out, even with early morning classes
• Matches customers cross-industry expectations
• Avoids cancellations due to working late, weather, tiredness etc.
We hope you found these tips helpful!