Last week’s blog post was all about communication, so this week we’re continuing the conversation and doing a deep dive into a very popular platform typically used by bootcamps, studios and PTs: WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is a fantastic tool that helps you stay in touch with your friends and family and it’s great for personal use. However, for business use, it can sometimes cause more harm than good. When we look at issues such as members missing information and poor productivity, using WhatsApp to communicate with your members is usually part of the problem.
Here’s why WhatsApp could be harming your session-based business.
Using a personal platform for professional use?
Exactly as we said above, WhatsApp is used for chatting with your friends and family. There is an argument to say that using a personal platform to communicate with your customers may overstep some professional boundaries. Some of your attendees might not feel comfortable with that.
The problem with instant messaging is that it means you have access to your customers – and they have access to you – 24/7, which isn’t ideal. The last thing you want is your customers thinking they can send you messages late at night after a long day’s work!
There’s an element of professionalism that should be maintained. You’d likely talk to your customers differently than how you talk to your closest friends, so be careful about blurring those lines. You don’t need to be a corporate robot, but remaining professional boosts your credibility as a business and asserts the boundaries between you and your customer.
WhatsApp isn’t a full-service platform.
Whilst it’s a really easy way to reach your customers, it’s not a full-service platform. Even once you’ve used WhatsApp to confirm who’s coming to your class or attending your bootcamp session, you’ve still got to record it in your spreadsheet and collect payment somehow. So technically, it’s adding to the list of admin tasks you’re responsible for.
Using a solution that takes care of everything will make it far easier to keep track of who’s attending which session and who’s actually paid – which is absolutely key. How can you run a sustainable business if you’re not sure how much money you’re making?
As a real-life example, our ProRight package allows you to communicate with your attendees via email and text (and push notifications – coming soon!). ProRight will automatically update once payment has been taken so that you can see who’s paid from one quick glance at the dashboard. As a bonus, you can set up an automation that sends a confirmation text when someone books a class as well as sending automated reminders to those that have missed a payment. ProRight is designed to reduce the time you spend on admin, not increase it.
It’s not GDPR compliant.
If you operate as a business – whether that’s a sole trader PT or a bootcamp registered as a Limited Company – you have a responsibility to follow and uphold GDPR guidelines. Using WhatsApp to communicate with your customers on their personal mobile numbers (and storing those contact numbers on your device) puts you at a greater risk of a data breach. If your mobile phone were to be lost or stolen, sensitive customer information would be compromised. In that instance, you’re obligated to inform your members that there has been a breach and that their personal information may be at risk.
Disjointed communication hurts productivity.
If you’ve got several customers messaging you at once as well as receiving messages from your friends and family, it’s pretty likely that you’re going to miss a message or two at some point. Disjointed communication will negatively impact your productivity, meaning you’ll find yourself trawling back through hundreds of messages trying to find customer information or questioning why one of your clients hasn’t turned up to their PT session… only to realise that they told you they were off sick two days ago.
This problem is also symptomatic of having group chats with your customers – if you’ve got ten of your customers discussing tonight’s class at once, you’re bound to miss something important. Group chats can also be hard to moderate and keep respectful when you’re one person in a group chat of more than five people.
In summary, WhatsApp is a fantastic tool for personal use. But when using it to communicate with your customers, it’s not an ideal solution. Although it’s fast and familiar, there are significant risks that come with it and it doesn’t necessarily solve all of your problems; you’ll still have to record attendees in a diary or spreadsheet so you can’t rely on WhatsApp alone!
If you’re interested in implementing a platform that takes care of managing your business end-to-end, take a look at ClubRight. Communicate with class attendees and keep track of who’s paid in a matter of clicks – so there’s no need to use multiple platforms!
Speak to one of our product experts today on 0203 884 9777 or schedule your FREE demonstration below.