Automated solutions add tremendous ease and value to businesses, reduce costs in India
Indian businesses and consumers are engaging with technology and the digital world like never before. Not only is technology a crucial key in enhancing operational efficiencies, it is also a game changer for the basis of competition in the industry.
Adoption to new technology is a stepping stone to gaining a strong competitive edge and scaling up your business growth with high levels of ease and precision.
A study of the fitness industry by American Council on Exercise (ACE), Club Intel and IHRSA (the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association) suggest that the number of clubs using technology has grown exponentially in the past 2 years.
Along with innovative ways of working out, the technological innovation has exploded and become an integral part of the fitness industry through hi-tech wearable gadgets, access control machines and customer relationship management (CRM) software that automate processes and scale up gym businesses like never before.
Some of the statistics in the research report (ACE, Club Intel & IHRSA) reveal:
- Online class reservations have increased by 144%. This feature allows members to book or cancel a gym class easily by just a click, adding value in terms of organizing and saving tremendous time of members, trainers and the gym staff.
- Online training and virtual classrooms have increased by 163%. Virtual classrooms are a new trend that allow gyms to reach out to a larger audience. Many fitness clubs use the mobile app for adding to the ease of booking bulk classes and is a platform to connect the trainers to the members. Tech-enabled personal training service is gaining ground and opening up new markets for gym businesses worldwide.
- Mobile apps usage has surged by 168%. The daily use of fitness apps has seen an increase of 62%, as against 33% increase of overall app usage. A simple search for a fitness app results in a huge variety of apps that allow you to stay not only fit but also motivated. A mobile app carrying the brand name of your gym is a brilliant platform to interact and engage members like never before.
- Mobile apps also allows a gym to sell memberships, book online classes, check if their friends are on the same class, renew memberships and do a lot more.
- Online lead generation through social media – such as Facebook enquiry form, Twitter accounts, blogs or YouTube – has been a powerful platform to capture prospective clients
- Innovations in machines: several gyms in the United States are testing VirtualU, a 3-D body scanner, which is designed to note changes in body measurements.
- Innovative wearable gadgets are sensor-enabled to act as an advisor by measuring activity and heart rate, tracking the user’s progress. Some gadgets act like a buddy that tracks behaviour modification, and even emit a mild shock as a negative reinforcement to motivate the user to achieve his fitness goal.
Automated solutions that come through CRM software have proved to add tremendous ease and value to gym businesses in India. The software allows you to automate all the processes in your gym, and relieves you of the traditional systems of managing member data in files.
The CRM software plays multiple roles for you: as an accountant it generates bills to members and sends automated reminders for balance payments; it provides you with the necessary financial reports; it studies all your financial and member data to deliver an analysis on different aspects of your gym’s business to see in which direction your business is headed.
It acts as a client relations executive who wishes your clients on their birthdays or anniversaries by sending automated emails and SMS; it can also ensures timely follow-ups and renewals by your sales staff by sending them automated reminders.
It helps you restrict and customise the information that can be viewed or edited by each of your employees, ensuring high levels of privacy and security for your valuable data.
A CRM software allows you to save more than 25% of the man-hours of your employees at the gym, time that was previously spent on routine tasks of entering data, filing, extracting files to generate reports and renewal, maintaining follow-up journals, referring and searching for follow-ups on a daily basis. These and many more tasks have now been automated and easy to accomplish.
Let us take a hypothetical example. Your gym has 5 sales/front desk staff and 2 managers. You pay a salary of Rs. 2.40 lakh per annum to front-end/sales staff and Rs 5 lakh annually to your gym managers. They all work 8 hours a day, or 208 hours a month.
A CRM software can save at least 25% of the man-hours of your employees at the gym, thus saving 624 hours and Rs. 60,000 per employee annually. If you have five front-end/sales reps, you save 3,120 man-hours and Rs. 3 lakh annually on the salaries of only your front end staff.
Similarly it can save around 25% of time of the managers at your gym as they can use the CRM software to pull out all reports at the click of amouse, or also analyse the working of your gym. You save 1,248 man-hours and around Rs. 2.50 lakh of their salary annually.
This time saved by them can be used in other alternative, productive tasks that can add value to your gym business.
Using a CRM software will allow you to use the reports and analytics to identify loopholes and need gap areas to help scale up your business operations by 20% each year. You can tap clients from potential locations, identify which marketing sources work better by measuring return on investment, design your product line effectively, thus attracting better revenues.
You can connect with your clients on a timely basis with the help of automated reminders for follows-ups, courtesy calls, automated client servicing emails and messages, including special occasions. It also allows you to get accurate client information that helps you to know your clients and serve them better. It can enhance quality, accuracy and client satisfaction by 70%.
The total opportunity cost for not using a CRM software for a gym business with 2 managers and 5 front desk/sales reps would be around Rs.5.50 lakh or 4,368 man hours +Rs. 19.20 lakh (20% additional revenues from scaling up) – Rs. 50,000 (average cost of a CRM software)= Rs. 24.20 lakh per annum+ enhanced client experience by 70%.
CRM software is a boon to the gym business. As a gym owner you can monitor all the activities, be it member conversions, missed follow-ups, revenue generated, statistics, etc. This is done by accessing the cloud-based software on your phone/ tablet/ laptop from anywhere around the world.
So, while you focus on growing your gyms business, the software handles the entire list of tedious tasks for you with ease and perfection. More than half of the fitness industry across the country is already on board and reaping the benefits of a CRM system.
The fitness industry will continue to increase investments in technology and CRM solutions in this age of modern marketing, not only to enhance their operational efficiency but also to secure a strong standing point in the competitive industry. So, if you are a business that has not adopted technology and CRM solutions, this is the time!
– Afrin Pradhan
The writer leads Learning and Development efforts at FitnessForce Club Management Software. She has written several research papers and also won awards. FitnessForce Club management software is a cloud-based CRM software tailor-made specifically to enhance gym businesses by automating processes, scaling up operation and enhancing client relations. (www.fitnessforce.com)