In this episode, Matt and Rick discuss how Alloy was created and uses it’s fitness technologies to support clients and the business.
Today, we talk about the technologies we use at Alloy, how we use them, and why we picked each one over others in the market. We begin with the CRM. This is the software that runs your business. At Alloy, we use Mind Body as our CRM, we took advantage of the coaching they offer, to learn more about it then simplified and customized it for our model. We closed off all the options that didn’t relate to our model.
The reason we decided to work with MindBody is that their customer interface is excellent. This is very important as our clients can schedule and maneuver with ease. For the backend, as with any other CRM, you have to invest time and money to figure out how it works.
One guiding principle for picking software to work with is simple and that the software should enhance human engagement not eliminate it. A personal conversation beats an automated message all the time. Besides lead management, we use Mind Body for communication, billing, and scheduling, which it does well.
For our franchisees, we have a backend dashboard where we see their high-level metrics. This way, we can see where they are doing well and where they might be having trouble and look at ways to coach them. Lastly, we talk about our Alloy app and how it helps us improve the customer experience and how it came in handy during the lockdown as we pivoted to virtual.
- Why we use Mind Body as our CRM 902:57)
- Using Frederick as our lead management software and marketing suite (06:54)
- Technologies should drive better human engagement not replace it (10:35)
- How MindBody handles scheduling well for a personal training model (17:01)
- Why we use Zipwhip for communication with our clients (20:10)
- The software we use to run our reward system and why we chose it (23:44)
- How the Alloy app helps us improve the customer experience (32:08)
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I’m super excited about today just because it’s a relevant topic. Today we’re going to talk about technology and how we use it. What we use, why we picked what we have.
The first one I want to talk about is our CRM. CRM is basically the software that runs your business. There are a lot of options on the market. It seems like generally from the feedback that we get is that people don’t really love their CRM. There’s very few that do a great job but the biggest one is Mind Body. We use Mind Body and I hear a lot of complaints about Mind Body, but I actually really liked them. I didn’t start liking it until we actually took advantage of the coaching that they give you.
The great thing about Mind Body is that it will do 1,000,001 things. Also, the bad thing about Mind Body is that it will do 1,000,001 things. If you set it up wrong, if you have one or two little things triggered incorrectly, it’s going to be frustrating. However, if you get those things right it’s actually a pretty robust option. It’s a little pricey but it’s worth it. I am sure that there are folks listening who have switched to different ones and then switching back. No one seems to be dead happy with it. The reason is in fitness, you don’t want to spend a lot of time messing around with your CRM, you just want to do the fun stuff. However, it’s a necessary evil.
We simplified it for the franchise drastically. That has really helped. We built a simplified version, closed off all the options that didn’t relate to what we’re currently doing. Even our memberships as you know, are much more simplified with good, better and best and not too many options. Which by the way, we’ve talked on another podcast about fewer options means people buy more. Once we simplified it then when we gave it to franchisees, we blocked everything around it that could go wrong.
This made it much easier for them. When a new franchisee comes on board, we just had Kathy in Summerfield, we do their training and Mind Body is still a lot to learn, but it’s a heck of a lot easier when you can’t mess it up. That due to the fact that we’ve literally turned off all the things. The other benefit of buying an Alloy Franchise.
Mind Body has a feature called Fredrik which Is their marketing suite. I know a lot of people listening to this that use MailChimp. Those platforms will integrate with Mind Body. Mind Body bought a company a few years ago called Frederick and they integrate. If you did the premium version of Mind Body, you get Frederick and Frederick does a great job.
And it’s a good lead management software. Now, it’s a little bit more convoluted, but we use it for that. And for the very sake of our core value number five, which is keep it simple.
There’s a lot of software getting in this space. A lot of the agencies that were typically doing lead generation are now going to produce the software that gets your leads to the door. They do that in a lot of different ways. These can get complicated so I would ask yourself, are you trying to keep things simple, do you have the resources to follow up with what leads are brought in, are you prepared? We feel like we’ve landed on a pretty good happy medium. The good middle ground and Frederick allows us to do that.
There’s also the human element of these technologies that we’re going to talk about. They are all set up to drive better human engagement. Which is to say, they should be a vehicle to enhance human engagement, not replace it. In our model, it’s the general manager interchangeable term with Director of Training, who is responsible for the leads as a company, and then that person’s job is to get the lead to a book, get the book to show and then close the show long term and then retention on the back end. If in fact, it’s completely automated it takes a little bit of the ownership away from the manager. For someone who’s being held accountable to those high-level metrics, I can tell you from personal experience, it makes that person very uneasy not to be on top of it.
How Frederick works, if you have a Facebook lead, (you have to manually enter them into Mind Body being that Mind Body doesn’t make a widget that connects to Facebook) you will have your Facebook lead page, which is super simple, name, email, phone number, that’s all you have to populate into Mind Body. Once you do that, you trigger that this is a prospect. Then it starts the automation. So the automation is there, it’s just that the connection isn’t there. Part of that automation is a dashboard day over day duties for the general manager.
One of those duties is as soon as we get that ping that we’ve got this lead we want to get them into Mind Body so that they start getting the automated flow of like text messages and emails. We also want to jump on the phone. If you can speak to someone and get them to tell you about their goals and dump a little bit of that emotional connection to you, they’re way less likely to go do that with another brand and another brand, another brand, they’re invested. We do such a good job of this at times.
The thing that Mind Body does really, really well is the scheduler. Because we are a personal training brand, we have a finite amount of availability for each hour of 12 people. Scheduling is a big deal. You can go online and schedule, there’s an app. If you get the premium service with Mind Body, you get the premium app, which means it’s on-brand. It’s on your logo. Just make sure the clients download it. They can actually change the schedule, look at their account, do whatever they need to do through the app. There is an extension of the software in an app version that works really, really well for scheduling. I will say that the client-side of Mind Body is really user friendly.
After investing and really taking advantage of the training, having folks on our team that understand how Mind Body works, it actually is very robust, and it works well. The scheduler is important. The customer experience has to be really simple and clean. They do that well. They are reporting on the back end for us, which is another thing that we use. It can be a little bit more convoluted, but we did spend some time and energy getting some training and built a dashboard for the franchise. This is so that they can pull up these reports and look on a dashboard and the high-level metrics, which are leads, bookings, and shows close and retention.
Then we also as the master franchise can look at those metrics, see where they’re maybe where there are some bright spots where they’re doing well ask them how right and then also see where they might have been having some trouble and we know exactly how to coach them up if we know which one of those metrics is a little off or is doing really well either way. I like Mind Body as a CRM. If you’re going to go with it, make sure you get your coaching and you set it up, right? If you just try to play around with it, or you put too many things in it, you’re not going to like it. But to be honest, you’re not gonna like any CRM if you do that.
It’s one of those things where CRM is not sexy. It’s not fun, but it’s absolutely necessary.
One of the ones that do connect with it, and we talked about communication, we use another app called zip whip for communication directly with our clients.
It just helps and so we can say hey if you need to communicate with us, text us through this. They do integrate with Mind Body in the sense of they just pull all the contacts in which is nice. Then you’re off and running. So yes, you have to have a third party texting app. We use it in a lot of different ways.
We’ve talked about those seven core tenants of running a great session. One of those would be any client that didn’t show up, or that was brand new or that did a great job that day, or that might have been struggling a little bit – It’s the job of the coaches in that 30 minute time period after they finish their training shift, to send text messages to those people. Just think about all texting. Communication is a little bit simpler in a third party. That’s something that Mind Body doesn’t do really well.
The next piece of technology is our rewards program system. We use Parkville. Parkville is a reward system. We love it because of the structured rewards. That’s something that we can do automated, which is great. So an example would be if someone comes in and completes a workout that day. Once we’re there checked off that they did come in and work out, they’re going to get points that go directly from Mind Body, this trigger right through Parkville, because they executed this event, or they bought a protein shake, or that whatever those things are totally customizable. It’s nice for customers and it also drives behavior.
The last one we’re gonna talk about today is our app. We have an Alloy app. We have a coaching side to it and a client-side to it. So which we will talk about first,
Let’s talk about the app in general, why we chose it. Basically, Virtual Training is what it was built for or one on one train, mainly to build a workout builder, and a motivational tool for trainers to train people remotely and design workouts. We wanted that because that to us would be a nice supplement.
We paid some development costs so that a coach could come in grab the app, open it up. Lo and behold, we have this pandemic, which no one could predict. We’re sitting on the perfect tool to transition while we were closed from live workouts. The coach facing piece of it that we love, we’re going virtual.
So how do we do that? Well, we put the clients each into a bucket. The app is fully built, right for us to be able to do that. The funny thing is a lot of our clients that are coming in three days a week that live locally, they weren’t really using the app at all. Once we went virtual, they’re like, wow, I had no idea that you had this and they loved it. It was such a slick, cool, great tool. They could rate how well their workouts are going.
We could communicate with clients through that about their workouts, you can create groups, you can do all these things that we weren’t really taking full advantage of until we had to. But boy, were we glad we had it. I think a lot of our customers that we work with our licensees, and certainly moving forward, franchisees are going to be really pleased to know that we have a tool that you can now work with clients virtually. I mean, who knows, I don’t think this thing’s gonna kick off again. If it does we’ll go right back at it.
All we need to do on our end is to make sure that we keep their information updated so that every coach can see it when they pull up the app and that the clients can see their progress. But one of those things again, one of the proprietary things for Alloys, the functional movement screen, which clients can now see their improvements in movement over time and that whole movement and it records everything. Also, it pulls in My Fitness Pal for nutrition.
Think about the whole theme of what we’re talking about today is technologies, enhancing the human experience. I think when you look at online platforms, and certainly, with as chaotic as the world is right now, that’s probably not the best way to handle things. Certainly as a personal training business. We want more personal interaction as much as we can get.
I don’t see the human connection ever going away. I think the technologies that can enhance that make it stronger and better and maybe carry your brand outside your four walls, like what we’re doing with the app during the pandemic. There’s always a human being behind it. We had people during the pandemic say, you know what I loved about the app was I knew that Natalie was making sure that I did my workouts because she was watching. So it’s like, well, I have to check on this app because there’s a real coach over there. It’s not just on me, right? There’s plenty of technologies out there that can help you accomplish a more far-reaching connection.
That’s just a basic overview of our technology. Hope that helps.