Did you know that Elon Musk is actually terrified of Artificial Intelligence?
While that makes about as much sense as someone with a severe peanut allergy working on the production line at Planters, it poses an interesting question.
Can man and machine live in harmony?
Can pixels and people cohabitate and collaborate?
Now, I can’t promise that Elon, a.k.a. Captain Contradiction is wrong, but I can provide a glimmer of hope before the robots come knocking on your door.
High-Tech Meets High-Touch
Sure, you’re staring at a screen right now instead of basking in the amber glow of a sunset dancing across the glassy surface of a pristine lake while the fading light gently bathes you in the warm hug of a waning summer sun.
…but I just put a nice little image in your head. And maybe you even felt a little something with the pleasant picture I painted for you.
Imagine if I knew that actually, your personal paradise was nestled upon the snow-swept slopes of a majestic mountain, carefully cradling a piping hot cup of Earl Grey as it’s earthy aroma mingles with the gentle scent of fallen aged pines that constructed the woody walls of the quaint cabin you’re cozily cuddled warmly inside.
Perhaps you just felt the pang of your inner adventure-seeker. Or, maybe one of those images inspired a twinge of regret that it’s been so long since you truly detached from work and remembered to enjoy life.
Either way, I’m guessing you had some sort of reaction. And my ability to generate a specific reaction in you is expanded exponentially the more I know about you.
When you take the time to get to know who your members are, what they want, and what their deep emotional drivers are, then technology can actually be one of the most powerful ways to bring humanity back into your brand and connect with your members.
It’s storytelling at scale. Telling them the tale of their pending success in the words they would use to describe it.
Humanizing Your Brand
Ironic that we’re talking about technology as a way to be more human, eh?
Let’s look at an example of how automation and technology can magnify your impact and create deeper levels of connection in record time.
Since being an intimidated new gym member isn’t something you’ve personally experienced lately, we’ll borrow another industry… like, oh I dunno, automation technology.
You decide, “you know what, I like what this guy is saying. I think I’ll start using more automation.” You go to good ol’ Google and find a system that looks promising. It’s a little confusing and you’re not exactly sure how you’re going to use it, but you give it a go.
You plop in your credit card info, and with equal parts enthusiasm and skepticism, you click the “Buy Now” button. The page refreshes and you’re met with a thank you video that greets you with the next steps to get started. “Hey, this actually looks easier than I thought!” You walk through a few simple tutorials and you’re making more progress than expected.
Your phone let’s you know you’ve got an email waiting. Like the well-trained animal you are, you swipe to see what it is. “A personal video for you, Joe!” Hmm, personal video? Really?
You open the email to the smiling face of someone you don’t yet know, but they seem pretty happy to meet you! You click the video in curious anticipation.
“Hey there, Joe! Sarah here. I saw you signed up for our new tool and I’m so happy to have you join us! I see you’re in the fitness industry. I had pizza for lunch, don’t judge me, hah! Looks like you already got started on the tutorial. That’s great! I just wanted to let you know that if you get stuck, you can click the live chat button in the bottom right at any time and we’re here to help. Best of luck, and never hesitate to reach out!”
Within 10 minutes of signing up, you’re ready to shout from the rooftops what an amazing company this is. You feel like you’ve got a personal connection and whatever anxiety you had before melted away and all that’s left is raw enthusiasm.
I’m going to tell you something right now, and I hope you’re all ears…
This level of high-touch experience is far easier than you think, and eventually, it’s going to be the standard.
If you think you can’t do this, then you can’t afford not to.
Prioritizing just ONE high-impact experience like this could change the entire course of the relationship you have with that member. Not only does that mean they’re going to stick around for years to come, but most importantly, it could make them feel for the first time ever that they actually believe they can stick with it. That someone is going to be there for them. That someone sincerely cares.
And the tools make it so easy to do, you’ve really got no excuse.
If you can find me another action that could reliably impact a member more positively than the 30 seconds it takes to make a connection like that… well then let me know, because you’re going to make me a millionaire and I’m retiring to that cozy cabin on the mountain.
The best part is that you can hook up these surprisingly affordable tools that automate the entire process so that all you have to do is flip on your phone camera, give them a warm greeting, and the tech takes care of the rest.
Truth be told, this is just one example of using high-tech tools to deliver high-touch experiences. There are hundreds of other ways to overdeliver, if you know how. Learn how to leverage a handful, and you’re going to blow your competition out of the water when it comes to member experience.
So, feeling inspired? I hope so, because for now, technology is still on our side, and Elon… well, he can have his laugh when the robots come a’ knocking. For now, we can at least make some members pretty dang happy.
Next time, you’ll find out why when it comes to your members, you want to take third place.
This time, I’ve got a challenge for you. Look up 5-10 new members who joined the facility, record a personal welcome video on your phone or a free tool like Loom and email it to them with a nice message. Keep this SIMPLE and authentic. Just be human and focus on making them feel special. Keep it to less than 60 seconds. Send it out and watch the response. Want to take it a step further? Look up 5-10 members who hit their one-year anniversary at your club within the last week or so and send them a video saying congrats and thanking them for being a member. Give them a free smoothie or something unexpected. Watch how quickly it can turn them into a superfan.
***Haven’t read the first article in the series yet? Click here to read The Biggest Mistake with Member Onboarding***
Joe Kerns is the Co-Founder of Member Activator, a turnkey retention company that helps you create loyal long-term members through high-tech, high-touch personalized member onboarding. He holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Psychology and combines his research and academic background with advanced marketing and digital communication technologies to create highly impactful customer experiences for fitness members.
Click here to take the Member Onboarding Quiz and find out how much better you could be doing with your retention program.