Gone are the days where the largest advancement in technology for a fitness facility was the latest version of a treadmill or new weight machines. Now, the fitness industry is filled with ways to enhance each member’s experience by adding advanced software, apps that connect the member to their gym experience, heart rate monitors, 3D human modeling technology, and even “smart shirts” that follow the course of a member’s training.
We live in an age where technology has created an instant gratification culture, and as we all know, altering and changing the human body to better perform or lose significant weight is anything but instant. So, the fitness industry has caught up with the advances in technology that have taken the world by storm, simply by integrating applied science techniques with the science of the human body, and it has been a game changer.
With these advancements in technology our industry has made, we now have members and clients that can visually see and track their progress, whether large or small, giving that instant satisfaction they crave. Trainers and coaches have data and applications to use to better suit the variety of each person they see. Large fitness facilities even have amazing ways to check-in members or map the journey of their guests.
This marriage seems to be a no-brainer — what could possibly go wrong? Well, if you have been in a situation where your facility has launched a new upgrade in technology, you know just how much can fail and wind up hurting you versus helping you.
The key thing in this new partnership is just that — it is new. With technology, there are still many unknowns. The key to a successful launch of any kind always goes back to preparation of your team and setting them up for success.
Here are a few best practices that can make any technological launch run smoothly and create lasting positive impacts on your business.
This first one may throw you off, because it starts on Day 1, when the member or client joins the facility. Training your team — sales and trainers alike — to build trust with the member is invaluable. Why? Because people still respond to human interaction and that is something technology will never replace.
And, we all know if there is one certainty in technology, it is that it will at some point fail. This is where the relationship between members and staff comes into play. We depend on the relationship that our sales team and coaches have with each member and formulate systems to build the relationship right off the bat. When, or if a problem occurs, we can then fix it quickly and effectively, no matter what. This can include clearing up an account issue, fixing equipment at lightning speed, or working to get their heart rate monitor up and running during one of its “glitch” moments.
If a problem occurs with our innovative tech enhancements, a member is understanding if they trust that our team will handle it. If they don’t, we are open to an unfavorable review and negative member occurrence.
The second best practice concerning the launch of a new technology is having your staff experience it first.
Getting your team to try the tech prior to your clients has several helpful advantages. First, they can tell their own story of what benefits the technology has provided to them and what the member can expect to encounter with the new advancements. We especially do this when we have a new app available or a new heart rate system launches. This way it becomes personal.
Second, it allows our team to give crucial feedback for what they may have had go wrong or problems they encountered. This allows us to add to the troubleshooting and for our teams to feel like they are part of the solutions we create.
Finally, it encourages your members to jump on board with the tech changes. We have found there is no better way to increase the sales of our newest heart rate monitors or have more members engaged with our app than to have our very own sales team and coaches using them in front of members and showcasing the new systems on social media.
They are the face of your company and your members are paying attention.
The last best practice is to deliberately train your team on all the ways they can troubleshoot. We have found that there is no reason to shy away from our trusted and true training methods, which of course includes role playing.
We take the time to create a special training session for any technology launches we have, and in that training we talk about all the features and benefits, and role play how we are going to relay those to the members.
We try to then provide a one-sheet with those points, along with a list of the things that could go wrong and what steps to take if something does fail. We then role play scenarios with our team and provide them with alternative methods to implement if the steps don’t give the results we expected.
There is nothing more crushing as an owner or operator than hearing your staff say, “I don’t know what else to do” or “It just isn’t working.” We all know those words have just handicapped all the technological advancements you are trying to implement.
The key in this final step is to always arm your team with tools so they can feel confident in creating a solution for the member. If they can’t, and your staff doesn’t have a clear path on how to turn any hiccup into a positive experience, members tend to remember the negative interaction instead of all the improvements the technology provides.