July 14, 2021

How Gyms and Fitness Centers Are Leveraging Live Chat to Embrace Digitization

As fitness centers and gyms set up their business online with websites, here's how they can leverage live chat to get to know their visitors better.

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted a myriad of industries globally, the health and fitness industry being no exception. Consumers have swiftly adopted virtual fitness and started embracing online tools to connect to their fitness centers and plan their fitness goals. Owing to this shift, gyms and fitness centers have taken to digital and adapted their strategies to appeal to new consumer behaviors.  

In the pre-COVID era, a typical person would visit the gym and have a sit-in with a personal trainer, discuss their goals, arrive at the plan they both can work on, and even consult a nutritionist in person. However, today, while fitness clubs are opening up after a year-long lockdown, they’re limiting in-person interactions and looking at ways to leverage technology to achieve the same level of customer service. 

Although gyms now have a proper website and active social media pages to keep customers abreast of the latest happenings, discount offers, and class schedules, customers need someone they can talk to before starting their fitness journey. This is where smart live chat solutions come in, using which gyms are now connecting with potential customers looking for guidance before they start their fitness journey. 

Fitness takes to digital.  

In 2020, an increasing number of people started seeking professional help to adopt a healthy lifestyle, exhibiting health and fitness as a major concern. A report released by The IHRSA reveals that the global industry revenue totaled $94 billion in 2019 and is poised to reach 230 million members by 2030.

This led to a shift to virtual fitness, with gym operations shifting online. This ranged from getting memberships, booking fitness slots to even conducting virtual training classes. However, when it comes to conversations, not many have nailed it. 

How Live Chat can be useful in the fitness industry 

Live chats or virtual digital assistants have emerged to be one of the most powerful communication agents for any brand. This technological innovation has presented endless possibilities to almost every industry today. It is estimated that the market for digital assistants and chatbots will cross $7.7 billion by 2025 with more than 1 billion active users

And their possibilities in the fitness industry are endless. 

Live chats are one of the most pervasive tools to engage your store visitors in conversations, gather useful customer data and leverage it to help them make informed decisions.

At the moment, live chats are being primarily used to facilitate the brand’s marketing and communication needs. Most usually use live chat bots to automate answers to frequently asked questions. But there is so much more that they are capable of doing with it. 

Health and fitness centers can use live chats to:

  • Resolve customer problems quickly
  • Provide personalized support to members
  • Collect customer feedback
  • Showcase new products and services
  • Provide tips and highlight ongoing/upcoming programs
  • Highlight discount offers and communicate available partnerships
  • Connect the consumer to social media accounts for staying updated
  • Schedule and coordinate meetings with a trainer/nutritionist

However, more than automating stuff, live chats can primarily act as conversational agents: interact with real people; which is how the health and fitness industry has been addressing their audience at physical centers. 

Live chats can have a transforming effect on a fitness center or gym’s operations. 

In fact, there is a case study to prove it as well. Total Gym fitness implemented live chats to increase their online engagement and connect better with their target customer: a home consumer looking to make a change in their life. Ever since implementing live chat, their online engagement has boosted and yielded 39% of the gym’s overall online orders across desktop, tablet, and smartphone devices. 

And the results are explainable. 

Today, customers prefer to explore all their options before they commit to a particular health club. 

The best place to look for health clubs, personal trainers, and nutritionists is online. Not only is there a wealth of information online, but they will also be able to find reviews left by other customers. This research helps them make a more informed decision. 

With live chats, you can help consumers in their research in the following ways:  

1. Help your potential customer with general assistance 

While your fitness website enables easy access to your consumer, the addition of live chat support can ease the discovery process for a person seeking guidance online. The Live chat operators can help the potential customers discover all the facilities and any discounts or loyalty programs being offered.

For fitness centers, a live chat feature can help users navigate a website and respond to any query they have. Each time a user enters a query, the live chat responses escort them down a path based on their response. 

For example, a user may ask a question: “What time does the club open?” The live chat can display an answer taken out from its database: “The club is open from 6am to 8 p.m, Monday through Saturday, but is closed on Sunday.” 

Or “Are you offering yoga classes today?” Answer: “Yes. There are yoga classes from 6am to 7am and 6pm to 7pm. Do you want to register for one of them?” 

A live chat program can be looked at as an opportunity to answer customers' questions during the purchasing process and aid them in making a more informed and confident buying decision. In addition, introducing online engagement features like automated guides or exit chat offers or offering direct navigation to site pages as per user query can be useful in identifying the customer’s navigation on the health site.  

A live chat can be useful in a multitude of scenarios. Among others, it can be used to: 

  1. Provide customers with information about schedules of different trainers and gym timings. 
  2. Guide members on updating their details or keep track of their health and payment schedules.
  3. Instruct members on how to avail complimentary services (in case the gym has any local or foreign affiliations).
  4. Act as a complaint system by easily providing customers a way to register complaints online and ask for immediate assistance.  

2. Understand your customer’s goals 

Some organizations employ live agents on live chats to interact with potential customers through the live chat feature. These agents are provided in-depth training to help them meet the customer’s needs and identify any issues or opportunities agents are missing as they chat and answer customer questions. 

Whether it's on a website or part of an app, live chats can act as the first points of contact for individuals seeking information about a fitness centre’s offerings. They’ll be used at the top of the funnel to engage someone who isn’t a paying member yet and answer some of their basic questions. Live chats can be very useful in getting the customer to provide details to the agent about what they are trying to accomplish and get an idea of their short-term and long-term goals. And help them make an informed purchase decision.  

For example, if a customer communicates that they wish to lose a little weight, the live agent would inquire through specific questions like how many pounds they want to lose or which body areas they want to focus on. This questioning line will eliminate ambiguity from answers, and the agent will be able to guide the customer towards a more accurate solution.  

Digging deep into a potential customer’s goal engages them psychologically into the sales process. Implementing a live chat app like TextChat can help capture ‘interested leads’ even if someone is not able to monitor and reply in real-time  

3. Help customers get a personal trainer

A live chat representative can assist customers in their search for finding the ideal fitness trainer. Particular information of a customer like weight, age, height, fitness goals can be collected through the live chat and can be utilized to devise a list of trainers suitable for their needs. Such an assortment would help the customer choose a personal fitness trainer more effectively.  

The live chat helps the customer discover trainers and schedules appointments and communicates fitness plans in the future. The chat can notify if the trainer is available for a particular time slot or not.  

4. Help customers adopt a healthier lifestyle

Nutrition is an essential part of a healthier lifestyle. As an increasing number of people realize this, the demand for nutritionists is rising. In addition, people seek help online for someone to guide them with a good diet that’ll help them achieve their fitness goals. As a result, numerous health facilities have started leveraging chat options to help people get in touch with a nutrition specialist immediately. 

A nutritionist can directly connect with you via a live chat and help you keep track of your meal plans. This can work for people short on time and cannot visit a fitness center regularly or meet their nutritionist physically. 

A live chat can garner details of the client’s medical history and help the nutritionist create a meal plan to fulfill their needs and aid them in their goals. Nutritionists also use live chats to assist their clients with periodic check-ins, changes in diet plans and timely discussions.  

Conclusion 

The possibilities presented by chatbots are limitless. The primary objective of fitness centers is to help people get fit and healthy, and communication plays a key role in being successful. Through conversations, gyms need to be able to capture search intent as well as be able to talk consumers through the purchase decision, be it for physical memberships or online ones.   

Live chat can be an instrumental communication tool to drive more conversions through the website and gain a direct pipeline to turn profitable.  Using a live chat application like TextChat makes it easy to capture intent, answer questions with automated replies and also notifies you on SMS when someone reaches out.   

Ready to change how your site visitors interact with you? 

Time to get TextChat