Abstract—The purpose of a commercial organization was initially “to create a customer”. However, retaining the customer has since become regarded as equally important. This is because it has become increasingly difficult for organizations to assume that there exists an unlimited customer base to maintain continued patronage. To achieve a competitive advantage, it has become necessary for organizations to differentiate themselves in the minds of customers. Customers are the central focus of any organization, therefore the mission of an organization should be to create, grow and nurture ongoing relationships with them. The purpose of the study was therefore to identify customer relationship and retention strategies that are applied at commercial health and fitness centers in Gauteng, South Africa. The methodology involved data collection by administering a questionnaire to a sample of commercial health and fitness centers managers and administrators. Both descriptive statistics and exploratory factor analysis were used to report on the results. The findings indicate that most health and fitness centers implement strategies such as complaints handling, competitor strategies, service monitoring, profitability monitoring, resource and incentive strategies and membership renewal strategies to retain customers. Among the different strategies improved service quality and providing up-to-date equipment and technology emerged as commonly used strategies. In order to retain customers, it is important for marketers to have in depth knowledge of what each individual customer wants and the capacity they have to continue to add value to the needs of the customer.
Index Terms—Customer, retention. health, fitness, strategies.
J. Surujlal and M. Dhurup are with Vaal University of Technology, Private Bag X021, Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, South Africa.
Cite: Jhalukpreya Surujlal and Manilall Dhurup , "Establishing and Maintaining Customer Relationships in Commercial Health and Fitness Centers in South Africa ," International Journal of Trade, Economics and Finance vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 14 -18, 2012.