Personalised automations for fitness businesses – the future is already here | Blog by Owen Bowling
A guest blog by Owen Bowling.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Artificial Intelligence (AI) as: ‘the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.’ This month I am excited to be presenting ‘Using Chatbots and AI to Attract and Retain More Members’ as a FILEX masterclass.
Some examples of platforms deploying sophisticated AI algorithms that you will be familiar with include Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and Spotify. Netflix uses AI to customise what you see in an attempt to keep you engaged on the platform for longer: the thumbnails and show recommendations you see are specific to your profile and historical usage data. Facebook, Spotify and most other social platforms do this as well.
AI is currently best used as a supporting tool rather than a replacement for human intelligence and ingenuity. It has a difficult time completing common sense tasks in the real world, but is skilled at processing and analysing masses of data far more quickly than a human brain can.
For fitness facilities, a number of key areas can be improved with effective implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), including:
- personalised advertising and marketing
- sales processes
- member onboarding and support
- data consolidation and analyses to provide clearer insights into:
- marketing and sales
- member behaviour
- equipment usage
- retention and attrition
- member success.
AI software can process significant data sets and then present its findings or recommendations to a human. In this way, humans can use AI to help play out possible consequences of each action and streamline the decision-making process.
Before implementing AI as part of your digital strategy, you should make sure that the problem you have can be solved by the AI.
One of the big challenges facing fitness businesses in their attempts to implement effective digital strategies is the fragmentation of data sources. AI is most effective when it can access more data, but in the fitness industry this data commonly comes from a variety of sources and is not consolidated into an accessible source. These data sources include:
- access management system
- sales and marketing systems
- equipment manufacturers
- financial/debiting companies
- personal health trackers or fitness apps used by members
- personal trainers’ programs and client data
As a fitness business operator, part of your digital strategy should focus on finding ways to integrate data sources, as this will result in significant growth in AI capabilities for your fitness business.
This could be as simple as exploring existing integrations between the software systems you currently use, or as complex as creating a custom database designed to consolidate data from your various systems in a structure that can provide meaningful insights.
One of the most exciting aspects of utilising AI is the opportunity to provide scaled personalisation to your customers. Because many of your business’s repetitive tasks can be automated, you can save on admin- related salaries and instead invest in team members capable of adding tangible value to your members and clients.
Here is an example of the potential customer journey in an AI-enhanced facility:
- Prospect is shown content that speaks to her specific interests related to health and fitness, and she builds a level of trust with your business before ever visiting.
- Upon viewing the content, she is shown sequential, customised content as she makes her way through the marketing funnel that engages her and converts her to a potential customer.
- The sales process is handled by a real human, because we are unmatched at creating a personal relationship and building trust.
- Your customer success coach chatbot takes over the customer journey and interacts with the new member as she gets started, helping her set realistic and meaningful goals and even providing her with a customised training plan.
- Initial fitness, strength and wellness measurements are recorded by the chatbot coach and can be used to track improvements each month.
Member usage and success:
- Most members will be more successful with a little guidance, support and accountability: your chatbot can provide these services, and even coordinate with real human staff members to create the perfect combination of AI and human teamwork to help members be successful.
- Every member receives personalised recommendations, encouragement and support based on their unique needs.
- At-home workouts and wellness-focused activities can be utilised when the member cannot make it to your facility.
The reality is that members that get value, stay longer. The value that a member receives has historically been their ability to access your facility and services. This is no longer enough.
We have a huge opportunity to provide immense value to our members above and beyond the number of times they visit our facilities each week such as coaching and support, at home workouts and more – and AI is key to enabling us to achieve this.
Owen Bowling is a fitness entrepreneur on a mission to help the fitness industry communicate its true value in order to attract, engage, convert and serve more people, in this month’s masterclass. Owen works with some of the world’s biggest fitness brands to implement technology and media solutions and is a founder and co-founder of 3 businesses: CrankIt Fitness, FourD Media and The Wellness Program.
Owen is presenting the FILEX Online Masterclass: Using Chatbots and AI to Attract and Retain More Members on Tuesday 24 November. To register head to the Masterclass tab in the Members Portal or if you can’t attend the date catch up with the masterclass recording available after the event! Not a FILEX Premium Member? Learn more about the great inclusions including twice-monthly CEC approved masterclasses, access to virtual summit recordings and more at members.filex.com.au.