Consumer-facing technology was the topic for August’s Thought Leaders panel. One key discussion point: How does it impact member experience?
Consumer-facing technology is a broad category that has brought unique experiences to our routine lives. From QR codes to 5G network and everything in-between, there are various ways to cater this category to your members. One way in particular is through a mobile app.
“If you don’t have an app, you need to be calling someone today and getting an app,” said Trey McClain, the chief revenue officer of BFit and a panelist on the latest Thought Leaders roundtable.
The other panelists including Michele Wong, the COO at Active Wellness, Greg Cibura, the chief technology officer at Fitness Formula Clubs, and Brent Frueh, the GM of Rochester Athletic Club, agreed member-facing apps are a pillar of health clubs and a vital role in member experience.
“What we’ve done for members checking into our club is making a QR to scan,” said Wong. “As many clicks or steps we can take out to make it easy and connect, I think that’s a standard member expectation we see. Personalization is the next step, creating messaging for what a member is interested and participating in.”
However, an important thing to keep in mind is members have other apps and expect gym apps to be up to those standards. Cibura said members are demanding the same app function, feel, reliability and integration other resource-backed apps they use have. He said this is a great goal for the industry to set for themselves.
“I think it says a lot about where things are headed,” noted Cibura. “Having a well-functioning, well-thought-out app that seamlessly integrates members with the club, keeps in touch with them and creates stickiness is more critical than ever.”
Other consumer-facing technology the panelists discussed included heart rate-tracking devices, technology-integrated equipment, body scanners and fitness tracking devices. While each location varied in what they offered, all the panelists agreed having staff member buy-in is key for success.
“You have to have staff buy-in,” said Frueh. “We include them in the process and ask them if we should even bring the product into the club.”
Additionally, when deciding to launch a new technology it’s important to base the decision on data and member feedback to ensure you are crafting the best experience for them.
“The people who are experts on member experience are members,” said McClain. “They are the ones who know what they want. The more we listen to them and are in-tune to what their desires are, the more effective we will be leading our clubs and creating experiences that are sticky and that people don’t want to leave.”
However, Wong added members don’t know what they don’t know.
“There is a fine balance of you need to listen to your members, but you also need to recognize they don’t know what they could have,” said Wong. “Every once and awhile you need to take those risks to give them an experience they couldn’t imagine.”
Overall, members are demanding consumer-facing technology options. When considering these technologies, Wong added members expect things to be integrated, connected and easy to find. When offering technology, speed and ease of getting to things is important to keep in mind. You want to ensure the technology aids the member experience, not hurts it.
Learn more by watching the full roundtable below.