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Collecting Member Data: Benefits and Risks

Posted by Kevin Talley on Mar 7, 2019, 7:00:00 AM

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It’s clear we are in a period of rapid technological advancement in the fitness industry. New tech is rapidly changing how fitness and health are pursued by consumers as well as how they are offered by the gyms and studios that serve them. While this new wave of fitness tech can seem splintered in its focus or application, it’s almost universally centered on one main component: data.

Information Stream

Today, data collection is accomplished with unparalleled ease. The question isn’t when is a member’s data collected but rather when is it NOT collected. CRMs, or customer relationship management software, integrate with partner softwares to unify member data, seamlessly update staff with important changes to a membership, and track member check-ins.

Wearables such as Fitbit, Apple Watch, and the Samsung Gear Fit provide unprecedented levels of raw data. Daily steps, heart rate, calories burned, and even changes in altitude are easily calculated and quantified for the wearer. This corner of the fitness market is only getting bigger as the technology breaks free of the wrist. Smart clothing embedded with data collecting sensors are already available in a variety of forms. Soon club members will be wearing shirts that gauge muscle exertion, workout bras logging breathing rhythms, and even sleepwear that emits infrared to reduce inflammation and aid recovery.

Fitness equipment is getting smarter too. A number of tech companies are developing cloud-connected fitness machines. Smart equipment will be able to track a member’s progression from one machine to the next, providing a comprehensive view of their workout.

How Member Data Can Grow Your Business

As tech grows in fitness, CRM software will become all the more important as a unified collection point for the flow of member information. CRMs organize and analyze incoming data and empower club staff to interact with members in more focused and valuable ways, such as tracking inactivity or early alerts to billing discrepancies.

Wearables offer greater accountability for members. Rather than simply “feeling” like they hit a goal set by their trainer, they can confirm exactly where they are at with hard numbers. In group classes, some clubs display real-time wearable data on room screens as a way to motivate, and maybe spark some friendly competition.

Trainers can combine data from smart equipment and wearables to form a holistic view of their clients. What parts of the workout led to a spike in heart rate or a slow down? How long did the client spend on any given machine? This is a powerful tool to evaluate what’s working and what’s hindering progress.

Managing Data Collection Responsibly

While data presents huge potential rewards to gyms and studios, it also introduces the new responsibility to properly manage this information. Data security is at the forefront of a cultural conversation about privacy in the modern world. To ease member apprehension, every fitness club should institute a policy of transparency and compliance in terms of data usage.

Transparency means remaining open and honest about data collection practices. Membership contracts and training agreements should plainly outline what information the gym or studio will collect and how it will be used. Members will be far less suspicious of data collection if they understand how it is adding value to their overall club experience. Secondly, fitness businesses should strive not only to comply with governmental regulations on data but also the individual wishes of members. If a gym or studio ensures a member can opt-out of certain aspects of data collection easily, then they reduce their risk of alienating membership or inviting litigation.

CRM software is an awesome tool for responsibly managing data. The right CRM can facilitate communication opt-in functionality, giving staff members a point of reference to update member specifications. Plus, it can provide waiver forms with legal disclaimers that plainly layout data collection practices for new prospects to the gym or studio.

The Importance of Being Human

Tech innovations bring exciting new dimensions to the fitness industry, but what they don’t change is that this is still a person-to-person business. All the data in the world is useless if there isn’t a great team harnessing it to benefit members. Any great tech gym or studio should be an even better people gym.

Explore more ways technology can enhance your gym or studio with our “Marketing and Sales Tech Stack” e-book!

Topics: Insider

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