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Chat bot: the new frontier for fitness centres

The chat bot is the new frontier of digital marketing for all commercial activities. It can facilitate in reaching the public, in answering quickly to frequently asked questions from customers, increasing online presence, building an additional brand identity, increasing sales, providing useful information by sending targeted content and monetising social media pages.

In this editorial, we try to answer the main questions around the subject, giving a brief insight into how to efficiently use chat bots in fitness centres:

Chat bots, what are they and how to use them

What is a chat bot?

The question is immediate, but the answer requires an exhaustive and, consequently, fascinating explanation. Often labelled as "intelligent agents", chat bots are not simply virtual robots with which to interact, talk or ask questions of various kinds.

Un agente intelligente al servizio dell'uomo
A Chat bot is an artificial intelligence software designed to simulate human conversations, which uses messages as an interface through which to perform a variety of tasks, such as: to convey promotions and business suggestions, to invite online shopping - and thus increase online sales, to fix a business meeting and provide weather forecasts.

The performance and reliability of such bots are constantly increasing: today, in fact, chat bots, of which there are many variations, integrate machine learning functions (automatic learning), acquiring information both from their own "errors" and from feedback and reviews from users that are increasingly active on digital channels.

Machine learning, or how to improve the way bots process information
Compared to what you might think, creating a basic level chat bot isn’t complex and doesn’t even have a significant cost. There are different open source platforms that allow even the smallest of companies to make this service their own.

Chat bot: what it means

The term chat bot, also known as chatbot or chatterbot, was coined by computer scientist Michael Loren Mauldin in 1994, combining the word "chat" (conversation) and the abbreviation "bot" (from robot).

In summary: Chat bots are chats in which the interlocutor is not another human being, but a robot.

Using them is simple: just download the app or go to the online chat bot to ask a question and get the answer. The question can be written or spoken.
Voice recognition through chat bots

Chat bots: how they work

Apart from the etymology, chat bots - which exploit the potential of natural language processing - are gaining ground more and more rapidly, offering companies (which have begun to see enormous potential in the emerging bot economy) new technologies supported by artificial intelligence and allowing them to provide, for example, increasingly advanced customer care and customer assistance.

It is estimated that by 2020, 25% of this type of businesses will acquire these technologies (virtual customer assistant).

Integrating software and the marketing mix, or the combination of controllable variables of marketing, you can get great feedback, especially with social media.

Many brands and companies use these innovative tools. The goal? Intercept the needs of users through the devices and tools they use most: smartphones (or tablets) and instant messaging apps.

Instant Messaging and chat bots

Chat bot, using it in a fitness centre

Thanks to the application of artificial intelligence in wellness, fitness centres can significantly improve their flow of supply, developing strategies for contact management - above all, lead management, or the process of monitoring and managing contacts and potential users - with the aim of increasing quality and improving final usefulness of the information acquired.

Not only that. A fitness centre must include customer care actions. Customer care is one of the privileged areas of interest and application of the chatterbot universe (whose ecosystem is already well established).

Thanks to the chat bot assistant, customers can request information and satisfy their curiosities - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - about the courses and activities available.

Users can see these virtual assistants as the key to fast, instant and appropriate interaction (they can respond in all languages) through which they can make reservations - for example - at the bar or at the restaurant of the fitness centre.

Fitness centres and Chat bots

Chat bots can truly boost fitness centres into a new era. Already in the immediate future, fitness centres can have an innovative tool that is ideal for interacting directly, easily and quickly with their customers, saving time and costs associated with the most traditional methods of communication and promotion.
Training with a chat bot
Similarly, chat bots are a significant advantage for those who use them. Through a wellness chat bot for example, a user can monitor their progress simply by contacting their virtual assistant, receiving exercise cards to be carried out and ad hoc training programs.

For its part, the bot is able to customise each parameter: from the number of repetitions of the exercises to the rest period to the time calculated before starting (or resuming) the training, guiding the user in the best way with descriptions, gifs, videos and images.

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