The Future of Wellness: How Mindbody Uses AI/ML to Drive Enterprise Growth
Today’s consumers expect seamless self-service, more personalisation, and less friction. Enter artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).
AI/ML is helpful tech with the ability to: automate business and operational tasks; predict KPIs critical to the business in an actionable way; recommend valuable products, services, and actions; automate interventions for better value; and provide insights to help run a business better.
Artificial intelligence reinvents the way organisations meet customer needs and accelerates the success of their own sales, marketing, and customer service efforts. This is especially true for wellness brands creating exceptional experiences at scale.
How does Mindbody use AI/ML to empower wellness business owners? I sat down with our very own VP of AI/ML and Distinguished Engineer Prasad Saripalli to learn more. Read on for our insightful conversation.
Ivonne Smith: You have one fancy title, Prasad! Tell me about your background and your team’s focus.
Prasad Saripalli: Our team builds AI/ML enhancements and automation into Mindbody’s products to help our customers—fitness, beauty, and wellness providers—run their marketing, sales, and business operations more efficiently and profitably. In turn, this helps consumers enjoy their services. In partnership with our product team, we proactively discover opportunities to address customer needs and pain points, and build AI/ML engines to address them.
These days, the New Mindbody Experience is our focus. Advancements in Mindbody’s core software are designed to accelerate growth by empowering our customers to reach, attract, convert, and retain clients at scale; enhance ROI and revenue; and measure business performance and act on it.
As far as my background, I led similar AI/ML missions in the healthcare industry, and helped design and build similar platforms and products at IBM, Microsoft, Citrix, and a couple of smaller companies as their CTO. I also teach AI/ML and cloud engineering in Silicon Valley.
Ivonne Smith: We’ve heard AI/ML is the backbone of the Mindbody platform. Can you expand?
Prasad Saripalli: Mindbody, if you will, is an AI/ML-powered fitness, beauty, and wellness matchmaking platform. We bring highly personalised, effective, and affordable experiences to consumers, while also providing a best-in-class management software for wellness businesses.
Here’s our vision for the new Mindbody enabled by AI/ML:
For wellness brands (B2B), Mindbody is like Shopify and GoDaddy: a comprehensive platform to manage daily operations.
For consumers (B2C), Mindbody is like Spotify: a platform that provides access to a desirable product or service.
For both parties (B2B2C), Mindbody is like eBay: a value-driven, marketplace platform that connects the two together.
AI/ML is key to reinventing how wellness businesses and their consumers experience our platform every step of the way. This includes: marketing, lead management and sales, smart scheduling and bookings management, payments, and point of sale. A more seamless and personalised experience leads to higher customer satisfaction and retention all around.
Ivonne Smith: How is Mindbody’s AI/ML strategy helping our customers?
Prasad Saripalli: Our AI/ML is built on a two-pronged strategy:
In the short term, we’re adding efficiencies and cutting losses for business owners by improving the registration and onboarding process, recommending optimal pricing strategies, enabling smart scheduling powered by AI, and more. We’re also upgrading the overall experience for consumers with recommendations of valuable intro offers, personalised search and discovery of wellness services, and smart scheduling to optimise bookings at convenient times and optimal price points.
Longer term, our AI/ML platform with deep learning, NLP (natural language processing), AR (augmented reality), and VR (virtual reality) capabilities will help customers jumpstart their AI/ML product journey. Features like Lead Management and the clients-at-risk widget help brands convert and retain consumers from day one.
Ivonne Smith: When it comes to AI/ML, is Mindbody the industry leader?
Prasad Saripalli: Without a doubt. Mindbody has been the industry-leading technology provider for the past 20+ years. Our access to over two decades worth of data gives us a tremendous advantage. Data is the oil that fuels AI/ML-based intelligence and optimisation—and we’ve got the data.
Our AI/ML enablement is the first comprehensive, smart wellness ops platform of its kind. With access to our data and a talented team of AI/ML and ML Ops (or machine learning operations) engineers, we built a comprehensive ML Ops platform and data infrastructure. This allows us to design and build AI/ML features as microservices and ship them quickly.
Today, we have AI/ML engines designed to:
Automate and optimise booking and scheduling workflows
Offer personalised recommendations in engaging ways
Provide leads and insights for both business owners and consumers
Ivonne Smith: Can you share a bit more about what’s in the works, AI/ML-wise?
Prasad Saripalli: There are seven types of fundamental AI/ML engines we're building now:
Insight engines provide data to both brands and consumers on how fitness services, specifically, serve them, and help identify opportunities for improvement.
Prediction engines use ML to predict how a brand will track to a particular key performance indicator in the future, with and without intervention.
Recommender systems offer personalised recommendations to consumers related to schedule, class types, trainers, last minute offers, and so on. There are virtually hundreds of these types of recommenders we plan to build and sprinkle throughout the consumer journey.
Cutting edge personalisation algorithms and a match-maker balancing approach, which protects the interests of both our consumers and customer.
Personalised search engine for better discovery of our businesses’ offerings. When we serve up the right offering at the right time, consumer satisfaction and retention increase.
Intelligent bots and chat bots are essential to this AI journey. Messenger[ai] is a fabulous example of how AI automation is helping both our customers and their consumers with a better transactional experience. We’re expanding the use of such agent-based AI efficiencies into our various product lines.
Automation of AI-recommended interventions, whether it’s dynamic pricing, last minute offers, or smart schedules. This is done via RPA, or robotic process automation. That means we don't just make a recommendation, we automatically take actions to positively affect the outcome via smart marketing campaigns, scheduling and booking actions, etc.
Ivonne Smith: In terms of AI/ML, what does Mindbody have planned next?
Prasad Saripalli: Well, I don’t want to give away all my secrets. That said, I do think AI-led smart scheduling and booking present exciting opportunities in the near future, to accelerate our customers' growth and consumers' satisfaction with their wellness experiences. We certainly have the team and the resources to lead the charge on that front, too!