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Digital Transformation in the Time of COVID: MACFit

The COVID pandemic, which has radically transformed the way we do business all over the world, has also forced businesses to change their digitalization strategies. This effect was experienced most intensely in the food-beverage, healthcare, and sports industries, which suffered the worst consequences of the pandemic in our country.

During the pandemic, lifestyle and fitness company MACFit set out to protect and strengthen the bond it had established with its members. Mars Sportif Member Relations and Services Manager Yasin Yıldız and Mars Sportif Deputy Chief Technology Officer Serhat Göktepe shared the company’s discoveries along this transformation journey, and its secret to success, in our What’s Next? webinar.

Below are some excerpts of what we discussed in our webinar, and what we learned from the insights of our guests.

Strategic Transformation

Founded in 2006, MACFit started its journey under the name “MAC” and hinged on the concept of providing a premium gym. The company has since rebranded itself into a lifestyle icon with 96 branches. In 2017, MACFit decided on a major strategic change that would transform its member services from on-site service with separate teams in each location into a centralized structure. After the pandemic hit and gyms were shut down, the brand increased its number of agents from 3 to 12 and started working on digitalizing its membership services. During lockdown, every member froze their membership, which greatly affected the company, as fees could not be collected. In response, MACFit began providing information about membership services on its website and collecting new membership requests via an online form. It also started using social media more effectively for better customer service management.

Technology Focus

MACFit utilized two basic technologies for its digital transformation: first, a CRM system to provide members with a truly omnichannel experience and enable the end-to-end management of member issues with categorical processes; second, a mobile app that is integrated with the CRM system and facilitates members’ adoption of a dynamic and healthy lifestyle. MACFit also started to publish original content on healthy living and exercise on social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. In doing so, they carried the bond they established with their members beyond the gym. Moreover, to ensure a hygienic and contactless experience at its gyms, the brand implemented a QR code scanning system at the entrance in place of palm recognition technology.

Criteria for Choosing Technology

Making the right choice in technology is critical for every company. The direct and indirect costs of this decision, which is usually made with the vision and guidance of the IT team, are high. As such, analyzing current needs in order to make the right decision for the future of the company is the most important step in the process of digital transformation.

MACFit initially decided to code its own mobile application before shifting to a cooperative effort with a strong CRM partner that would carry the company into the future.

Having set out to manage all interactions with its members across all communication channels on a single CRM, MACFit commenced its search for a solution that would collect member requests and complaints from all channels, including the gyms, call center, website, mobile application, and social media channels. Overall, the brand aimed to take a holistic approach to member communication. After a research period of approximately six months, the brand chose next4biz over various national and international alternatives.

In our webinar, Mr. Yıldız pointed out how critical it is to manage member issues on a single platform so that members can easily access the requests and complaints they have submitted through all communication channels. This enables the brand to offer the member a tailored experience. He also offered a useful tip for earning members’ trust: configuring the call center to automatically and immediately access members’ reported issues, as this makes the member feel valued.

Mr. Göktepe cited the ability to manage all membership interactions with next4biz CRM as another key determining factor. Their reasons for choosing this system included the enabling of automatic campaigns for new members, dynamic segmentation depending on members’ reactions to these campaigns, and the ability to simultaneously manage member services and member relations.

Mr. Göktepe went on to discuss some of their previous unfortunate experiences with CRM software, emphasizing that the no-code architecture was another reason MACFit chose next4biz. Mr. Göktepe noted that a CRM software that is not dependent on IT or a third-party technology provider leads to more agile, efficient, and faster member interaction management. He added that the Member Services department immediately took responsibility for managing and adapting next4biz CRM, and they were easily able to carry out application and process design by themselves.

Finally, Mr. Göktepe stated that another main reason MACFit opted for next4biz was because all member data remains in the country, which enables them to work in full compliance with legal requirements.

Transition Experience

MACFit’s transition to next4biz CRM came in three phases: training, integration, and configuration.

After a short training period, the ERP integration was completed in approximately two weeks, and the entire configuration was completed in 10 days, after which the brand began using next4biz. Mr. Göktepe admitted that he did not even feel the need to monitor progress during the transition process. Having had positive experiences with next4biz at his previous company, it seems he was ready to carry this over to MACFit and write another success story with next4biz. Meanwhile, Mr. Yıldız expressed that he was very surprised by the fast pace of the process and noted that they hadn’t achieved the same pace in any of their other existing projects.Mr. Yıldız continued that they could shape next4biz exactly as they wanted, and their department was easily able to design member interaction categories, user interface forms, and processes.

Both of our guests said that the IT and business departments worked in harmony thanks to next4biz’s guiding functions during the onboarding process. In the transition period, everything was planned from top to bottom, including the IT department’s role and the decisions the business department would make.

Initial Results

Mr. Yıldız stated that the first discernible result has been a swift increase in member satisfaction and the quick elimination of the communication issues that were previously apparent on social media. Member issues from all social media channels, such as Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp, are managed together with issues from MACFit’s growing number of call centers, and they respond to and resolve all member issues promptly. This has made a remarkable difference in member satisfaction.

Vision for the Future

Moving forward, MACFit plans to focus on the use of self-service tools by completely digitalizing all interactions with their members. Mr. Yıldız said that members will be able to perform all transactions on either the website or the mobile app without the help of a MACFit employee by the end of the year.

As an IT manager, Mr. Göktepe noted that they are focused on connecting technological tools and products and that they will switch to an AI-supported member scoring system for better member acquisition and retention. He added that they will implement services to allow the adoption of a proactive approach in the membership journey by making use of the next4biz CRM digital marketing module, and then design and manage all internal and external processes in an integrated manner with next4biz’s BPM module.

Emphasizing that they will promote MACFit as a lifestyle application with the mobile app, which is their biggest ongoing project, Mr. Göktepe stated that their goal is to be the first brand and app that comes to mind for healthy living and fitness.

After our discussion with these MACFit executives, we concluded that the decisive factor for success is to choose the right technology for the digitalization of your entire business. How? By focusing on your customers without compromising on your company’s core values, even in chaotic and uncertain environments such as the one created by the pandemic.

Fortunately, you don’t need to look far in search of a CRM solution that will enable you to manage all your customer data and carry you into the future. The Turkish software company next4biz has created success stories for companies that aim to establish permanent customer relationships by ensuring customer satisfaction. We hope that one day, all companies around the world can easily manage their critical digital transformation processes thanks to next4biz, a software that makes Turkey proud.

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