At Perkville, we're about more than just rewards programs. We want to help our customers thrive in their businesses, big and small.

That's why we created Perkville Influencers, where we interview the top business and marketing experts in the yoga, health, wellness, fitness, spa, salon, and retail spaces.

Today, we chat with Nicole Chetaud– yoga teacher, former studio manager and wellness business consultant– all about the importance of retention, customer service and introductory offers.

Give us a little background on who are you and what you do.

I’m currently working as a business consultant in the yoga / fitness industry where I teach entrepreneurs proven industry best practices in metrics analysis, pricing, marketing, retention and sales. Prior to starting my practice, I worked forMINDBODY, Inc. for over five years where I managed the education department and traveled as a MINDBODY University presenter. I hold two certifications from YogaWorks and Bikram Yoga International and have taught yoga for over 10 years. I’m passionate about the transformative mind/body connection of yoga, meditation, fitness and wellness modalities

What was your first experience working with yoga studio owners?

I moved to NYC on a whim in 2003, and quickly got involved with Bikram Yoga NYC as a work-trade staff member. After a week, I was promoted to a part-time manager position where I worked between three of the five locations. In addition to learning MINDBODY, I also started to understand marketing, sales and retention along with the administrative skills that were required for the job. As the most successful multi-location studio in the nation at that time, I learned a lot from the owners, teachers, staff and clients. Within 90 days, they offered me a full-time salaried position. It wasn’t long after that I went on to become a teacher.

What’s the #1 thing that new studio owners should keep top of mind?

Retention is a key factor to success. A focus on retention of new clients is paramount to creating a profitable business. It’s one of the simplest ways to increase revenue and attendance. Many times, new owners are focused just on the attraction piece, but there’s very little thought put into keeping them coming back!

What did you wish you knew then that you know now about the wellness industry?

That it’s always changing given the culture, personalities, class trends and economics involved.

What do you think is the hardest thing for yoga studio owners right now?

Attracting new clients and retaining them. Most of the clients I work with are really focused on retention as competition is higher than it’s ever been.

What can they do to make that easier?

The key is creating an irresistible 30-day intro offer, marketing well and implementing a follow-up process. Retention of existing clients is also important, and involves a strategy of email campaigns, challenges and special events. I highly recommend BrandBot as a clever and efficient tool to automate this process. Lastly, a focus on excellent customer service. This is where many entrepreneurs make mistakes, but it’s supremely critical.

What is the best part about working with yoga studio owners?

They are passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga and creating a positive space for community and healing

When were you first introduced to the wellness industry?

I took my first yoga class when I was 18 at a community college in Santa Cruz, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

How did you decide to start a company dedicated to that industry?

After working for MINDBODY for three years in the education department, I began to present business topics on a regular basis due to my experience managing studios, teaching yoga and having a background in sales, customer service and marketing. Presenting at over 20 conferences around the globe gave me insight into the real challenges business owners face, along with experience helping them analyze their metrics and work on strategy. It was a natural evolution from presenter to consultant, as many business owners saw the value of working with me one on one. In 2013, I started my consulting practice due to the demand and my interest in empowering entrepreneurs individually.

What's the #1 piece of advice you have for other fitness businesses?

Focus on retention, service and how you are unique. As the market continues to get more competitive, it’s through strong leadership that you will set yourself apart and attract loyal members.