Can fitness providers live up to the dizzy heights of today’s customer expectations?

Today, we live in a world dominated by social media, giving consumers a voice louder than ever before. A world in which the customer is always right – even when they’re not.

Consumer power and choice is abundant, with much less time and attention to give. Yet they demand more. Fitness brands and providers ignoring this, do so at their own peril. Adapt or die.

We’ve gone from a just a few marketing channels through which brands spoke AT their customers, to a multi-channel landscape in which the customer and conversation is King.

People seek and expect a more individual and personalised experience, reminiscent of the village convenience store days at the turn of the century. But delivered with the convenience and speed they’ve come to expect across all of their consumer interactions.

While customer service values may be rooted in century old principles, the environment through which fitness providers can deliver on today’s customer service expectations, has changed beyond recognition.   

For those willing to listen and adapt, we believe the opportunity is immense. If there ever was an industry in which the customer is king, it’s fitness. The very nature of its intent to serve is based wholly on the individual and meeting his or her goals.

So what do fitness customers expect from you today? We’ve outlined the most important approaches you can adopt to anticipate, respond to and meet growing client expectations, to deliver a positive customer experience that helps your business thrive;

  • Trust – Customers want to trust their health and hard earned cash are in the right place. So they look to their peers for validation, largely in the form of reviews and social proof. There’s nothing more powerful than endorsement from those who have already experienced your services. In fact, 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions, with over two-thirds of consumers (68%) willing to pay 15% more for the same product or service if they’re assured they will get a better experience (Source: Podium 2017 State of Online Reviews). Keep service levels up and the reviews and ratings will roll in.
  • Convenience – The way people want to exercise has changed. So too has the way they want to manage their fitness experience. There are more fitness options than ever before and people want the freedom to try new things, signing up to a range of different activities whenever they want – whether they’re in town for just a few days or want to spice up their normal regime. As a fitness host, cater to the varying needs of customers, so any customer can book you when and how they want 24/7, saving them (and you) time.
  • Confidence – Consumer protection is key, especially today with the new consumer data GDPR regulations coming into force this month. Purchase confidence is perhaps even more essential. Customers want to know that they will get the promised value and if they don’t, they want to know they are protected. Establishing a framework that manages and delivers on this will greatly enhance your customer experience, ensure satisfaction and drive loyalty.  

While the paradigm has shifted and the power lies significantly more with the consumer, if you embrace and leverage the technologies available, you can create a customer experience that delivers on the personal expectations and demands of today’s fitness consumer.  

In fact, that’s exactly why we created fibodo. We’re passionate about delivering a fitness experience that works for the provider and the customer, in a way that builds sustainable relationships. Our platform is designed to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s fitness consumer, to achieve true customer satisfaction.

If you’d like to know how we meet the promises covered in this article and help you meet your customer’s expectations, you can sign up to our free plan for a taster or give one of the team a call and we’d be happy to chat.

Under the spotlight: The GDPR

Four little letters you need to know about..

Data protection. Maybe not something you’ve given much thought to. Until now – there’s no escaping the GDPR noise. So whether you store your clients’ personal details in folders, spreadsheets or don’t really have a system, data protection is something every PT/coach needs to understand.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new European legislation that comes into force on 25 May affecting personal data. If you haven’t already, this means you need to review the way you collect and store personal client data, to make sure it’s protected. So it’s time to gen up.

Firstly, why bother?
Ignorance isn’t bliss. Overlook the GDPR and you could face eye-watering fines of up to four per cent of your annual turnover if, for instance, you got hacked or lost a clients’ data and they report you to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Thanks to smartphones, computers, the net and social media we accumulate data at an alarming rate. Our lives will be increasingly determined by data held about us, yet it’s more open to compromise than ever – just ask MyFitnessPal, Yahoo! or Uber.  “The GDPR brings data protection bang up to date, giving us greater control of our personal data – how it’s collected and held, by whom and for how long,” explains Raoul Lumb, data protection associate at law firm SM&B.

Where do I start?
Begin by getting organised. Think about what clients’ data you store, why you’re keeping it, whether you have permission to do so, how you manage it, where it’s kept, who has access to it and for how long. “Map it out so there’s no confusion then work out what’s compliant and what you don’t have consent for,” advises Lumb.

Taking ‘before and after’ pictures, storing client measurements and personal health information – all day-to-day occurrences for PTs /coach and all fine under the news rules, as long as you’ve validly obtained consent. Even if a client specifically asks for, say, performance monitoring, it’s best to ensure you have written consent.

Here’s the legal blurb: Consent must be explicit, rather than implied, and freely given after a request in clear, plain language. You must be able to explain why you’re collecting personal data, how you’ll use it and have records proving consent was given. Under the GDPR, a client can also ask to be ‘forgotten’ and all their data must be immediately removed from your system and records – both paper and digital.

A helping hand
If you’re reading this with a sinking heart, software can make the process a whole lot easier. fibodo’s booking management platform offers a live planner, real-time booking with secure payment processing, allows for storage of client data, whilst creating and sending booking emails. “It’s completely GDPR compliant and sets the PT/ coach up for the future, so no more haphazard bundles of client paperwork that could easily fall foul of the law,” explains Anthony Franklin, CEO and Founder of fibodo. “PTs and coaches using fibodo can also be confident all GDPR bases are covered.”

Keep it safe
We all know making every password our cat’s name isn’t clever. But once the GDPR goes live, adopting strong passwords and encryption is an absolute must. “If you were hacked, but have proper data encryption, that data is useless to an attacker,” says Lumb. “We all expect businesses to keep our details safe. Get this right and your clients will know you respect them and be more loyal.”

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