Abbeycroft Leisure uses to increase their cancellation win-back rate by 500%

Cancellation win-back increased by 500%

A significantly improved customer experience

Full visibility of the cancellation process

At we love sharing and celebrating our client successes!

So when we had the opportunity to sit down for a chat recently with Claire Turnbull, Brand & Propositions Manager for Abbeycroft Leisure, we were thrilled to hear how AI employees have made a significant impact to the business.

What made you think of bringing AI into the business?

We had started to be more and more aware of the impact that AI could make to businesses, specifically in the leisure sector, and if we are honest there started to be some fear of missing out on the benefits that could bring to us. The more we learnt, the more we questioned if the way that we were currently doing things was the most efficient, consistent and effective.

We started to look into AI more deeply, thinking about how it could be practically introduced into the business, would it replace or supplement, where it would create the most impact, what the cost would be etc. The more we explored it the more we were convinced that it had to be part of our delivery plan.

What did you want AI to achieve?

Looking through all aspects of the business, we could see marginal gains for improvement, but the stand out area that we thought AI could make the biggest impact was with our retention. We identified that this was an area that we were weak at, we had a strategy and a plan in place, but the reality was that we didn’t have the time, the expertise or the consistency to execute that plan.

We knew that within the four walls of the centre we were doing the best we could to interact with our members, create a good experience and build a community, but at the point of cancellation, we were delivering a poor experience. Our cancellation process was time consuming, we weren’t great at responding to our customer requests and as a net effect the final touchpoint was leaving a disappointing and frustrating sentiment.

The focus then had to be to use AI to create a better cancellation experience, that in one part could efficiently and effectively process a cancellation where needed, but also try to prevent it in the first place, so that the member stayed longer.

What has been the experience so far?

The onboarding process to implement was brilliant. We worked with their team to train our cancellation and recovery agents, using a simple portal to correct and train AI behaviour. In asking the training questions and thinking about the best responses it made us think about the most efficient and effective ways of doing things, simplifying the processes and focusing on the best outcomes.

We launched the AI agents in February of this year, and have been amazed by the impact. Our cancellation prevention rate has improved by 500%, from 1% to 5%. This equates to about 30 members per month requesting to cancel but deciding to stay after engaging with our AI employee! The financial impact of this on our business is obviously significant. 

Where members do decide to cancel, for the first time we have an efficient, effective and consistent process and are able to create a positive sentiment with the final experience that we have with our members.

Now that the AI agents are running 24/7, we have an easy to use management platform to log into and review the insights, look at individual responses where needed and pick up any further training issues if they arise.

At this stage now, the system is running in the background, delivering day after day without any real need for management, which allows us to focus on other areas of the business.

How does the process work?

We are now treating all our customers with a consistent approach when they're deciding to leave us, maximising an opportunity for us to retain, gather feedback on their experience and have a positive cancellation process for the customer.

What have been the benefits?

The financial benefit speaks for itself, having improved our cancellation salvage rate by 500% plus some additional benefits which we perhaps hadn’t considered initially:

  • We now have full visibility over the cancellation process, being able to report on each stage of the process.
  • We have significantly freed up our staff time to focus on other areas of business development. Previously we were asking our reception team to process cancellations and make calls, this took time and focus away from greeting customers and providing them with the best face to face experience.
  • We know that the process is being delivered with 100% consistency time and time again. Something that even with the best training people aren’t always able to do.
  • We have provided a significantly better experience for members who choose to leave, although it is too early to measure, we are convinced this will provide an increased rejoin rate in the coming weeks / months.

What’s next?

There is no doubt that the implementation of AI has made a significant impact on our business. Although launched in a very targeted and specific way at membership cancellation, we are already building plans to expand’s use across Abbeycroft Leisure.

We have started to look at our business differently now, seeing opportunities for improvement in processes and consistency, questioning the most time consuming of processes and thinking about how we can build a better customer experience. One of these focuses has been the Health Referral experience. This is an area of the business that is consuming a lot of resource in administrative processes, so we see an opportunity to introduce AI functions to streamline this process and still provide an excellent onboarding experience to our members.

“We now have a better understanding of our customer behaviour through the insights and reporting”

"The financial benefit speaks for itself, having improved our cancellation salvage rate by 500%"

Claire Turnbull

Brand & Propositions Manager, Abbeycroft Leisure