For many of us, the way we take care of our physical and mental health has changed. We’re logging into our workouts at home and on the fly, meeting with health experts virtually, and having our favorite vitamins and personal care products delivered right to our door. 

And while this shift from in-person was largely influenced by the onset of the pandemic, there’s no reason to think it isn’t permanent. Among Americans who have used online exercise tools during the COVID-19 outbreak, 70% intend to maintain or increase their use of online fitness even after the pandemic abates. 

Thing is, the growing popularity of — and desperate need for — health and wellness subscriptions means brands are experiencing an influx of interactions brimming with emotion and expectation. And to maintain customer loyalty and minimize churn, subscription brands in the health and wellness industry need a way to do this that’s as empathetic as it is efficient: with intelligent and hyper-personalized automation. 

Personalization = customer loyalty

Let’s face it, getting someone to subscribe is just the first step in an ongoing effort to retain their trust and loyalty. Maintaining that relationship — and ensuring the success of a subscription business — depends on the brand’s ability to cater to a customer’s unique needs. 

More than 70% of consumers expect a personalized experience based on their needs and past interactions from product vendors, according to a study by Global Banking and Finance Review. Hyper personalized brand interactions are critical to keeping churn rates low; they demonstrate to a consumer that the brand knows who they are and understands their unique needs. 

Personalization is particularly relevant to the health and wellness category, where people’s preferences are varied and deeply personal. The same personalized, human touch that people relied on for in-person therapy, nutrition consultations, and personal training have to migrate online to live up to prior experiences.

But this poses an immense challenge to human CX teams, particularly during periods of peak demand like the new year, when people are reflecting on their personal goals and needs. (Who hasn’t scrolled through fitness apps and healthy food subscriptions on New Year's Day?) Not only is it expensive to scale by hiring more people but, amid the Great Resignation, it’s virtually impossible.

Automated CX allows brands to deliver hyper personalized interactions while scaling to meet the rising demand of their subscription services. Perhaps a shopper exploring an athletic apparel store is greeted by an automated CX bot suggesting an item based on previous purchases. Or maybe someone perusing yoga classes is presented with a blog post about the best times of day to practice.

Show that you care

As a health and wellness brand, hyper personalization isn’t enough. You need to demonstrate empathy.

People are experiencing emotional highs and lows amid COVID-19, climate change, inflation, and general global uncertainty. Gyms are closing again, therapy is going virtual, and people are looking for helpful and empathetic services that take into account what they’re going through. Brands that can’t infuse every interaction with empathy and emotion will lose customer loyalty and struggle to meet retention KPIs. 

Leveraging user data from past behavior and interactions, conversational AI allows brands to put their customers at the center of every interaction — and even anticipate their next move. And when a ticket is handed off to a live agent, Conversational AI can provide interaction summaries that allow the agent to pick up exactly where the chat left off, sparing the frustration (that I’m sure we’ve all experienced) of having to repeat oneself. With customer profiles at their fingertips, agents can easily access a customer’s past interactions, present subscription status, and address their needs. 

The net result is a CX system that shows what you can do for your customers, not what they can do for you. And this is the key to a standout brand experience they’ll remember — for the right reasons.

Get to know your customers with data

All of this depends on your ability to deeply understand your customers and their individual needs. Without a way to collect and contextualize data in a reliable and safe way, the whole system falls apart. 

Conversational AI pulls double duty: not only does it deliver meaningful interactions in the moment, it collects data to improve future interactions. And it does so in a transparent way, prompting customers to willingly provide data because they expect and want the brand to act on it.

A 360 profile of the customer allows brands to better understand the health and wellness needs of each person. Knowing someone’s shoe size can streamline the checkout process; knowledge of their fitness goals can be used to market specific workout classes; and knowledge of their favorite foods can be used to offer personalized nutrition plans. 

Knowing what a customer has done in the past, brands can predict what they’ll need in the future. They can be more proactive by delivering loyalty offers, promotions, and motivational reminders. 

We get it: maintaining the type of meaningful relationships that inspire customer loyalty is tough in this digital new normal. The human connection we all felt during in-person fitness classes and group counseling sessions can be difficult to replicate online. 

Difficult but not impossible. With the right tools, you can still let your customers know you understand their needs. You can still show them you care. And you can do it at a scale that wasn’t possible before.