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9 Ways to Exceed Expectations and Create Clients for Life

Written by  Terri Wojak, L.E.
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How do skin care professional stand out from their competitors when everybody seems to be delivering high-end products and cutting-edge treatments? The answer lies in staying focused on the client; ultimately, the client decides who survives and who does not. From the quality of the drapes to the warmth of the front desk coordinator, customer service is at the forefront of working in the skin care industry. Everything professionals strive to accomplish starts with making people feel better about themselves.

The First Phone Call
Many people do not realize the importance of something as simple as the tone in which the phone is answered. A business' first opportunity to engage the client is during the initial phone call.

Skin care professionals and other providers should help the receptionist by providing tips on answering calls and ensuring that they know what is needed about the treatments that are performed. The receptionist must be educated on the services offered and know when to get a professional on the phone for further clarification. The receptionist should receive treatments as needed, which will further motivate and educate them. It is also a great way to show appreciation for how hard they work. Including them in training sessions will make them feel like more of an integral part of the team, as well as provide them with additional information on services and products.

Reception Area
The reception area should feel serene and inviting with clean, comfortable seating. There should be refreshments, which can include water, coffee, and tea, as well as snacks like fruit, mints, or cookies. Besides being comfortable, materials to keep the client occupied while waiting should be available; it is best to have educational materials as opposed to magazines that do not promote the spa and often have advertisements about miracle products that may make the client think twice about their scheduled appointment. Providing educational materials also shows clients that the spa is serious about what they do and find it important to offer education in various ways.

Check-in
When a client walks into the spa, they should feel welcome, but not overwhelmed. Nothing is worse than anticipating a new experience and feeling out of place or unwelcome. A friendly face welcoming the client makes more of an impact than most people think. Consider a nervous, self-conscious client coming in for the first time for an acne treatment and having no one greeting or welcoming them; they may take it personally. Busy receptionists should make the effort to acknowledge every client that walks in the room. If the receptionist is not busy helping other clients, they should provide a personal touch by offering to get the client's drink, take their coat, and ask if there is anything else they can provide for comfort.

Initial Meeting
Clients want to purchase from people they know, like, and trust. A greeting with a smile and a handshake goes a long way. The professional should again ask the client if there is anything they can get for them before heading to the treatment room. Remember, energy can be felt. Therefore, clients should never see or hear about personal issues. Servicing a client means being alert the entire time. It may seem impossible at times, but it is important for professionals to do their best to make the appointment all about the client.

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Consultation
The consultation is considered the make-it-or-break-it stage for the provider. Professionals must be attentive by listening to what the client wants. To build a relationship, it is important to discover the client's concerns and solely focus on them. It is not about what others see as unattractive or problematic; all that matters is what the client sees. An effort should be made to start a conversation with the client as opposed to speaking at them. Asking open-ended questions is a good way to spark conversation. For example, starting the conversation with, "Tell me more about your skin," encourages more discussion than, "Does your skin feel oily during the day?" Being present and taking time to appropriately consult with a client is the key to building lasting relationships. Clients need to know the professional is there for them and that they are not simply just the next appointment.

One of a professional's most significant roles is to educate the client about underlying triggers that could lead to their condition. Take the time to provide valuable information including a breakdown of what is happening beneath the surface of the skin and how following recommendations will improve their appearance. With pricey topical treatments being touted as facelifts in a bottle, it has become increasingly more important to educate clients on the actual, tangible benefits of various skin care products and professional treatments. By educating clients, professionals are empowering them to make the best decisions based on credible and accurate information.

During the Treatment
The client should constantly have the professional's undivided attention and should never be left alone unless they are changing. Taking small actions like giving a neck or hand massage while a product is setting shows a willingness to go the extra mile. On another note, take the time to explain each step of the service and product being applied. Clients appreciate detailed information on how treatments and products work on their skin. Thoroughly explaining each step of a treatment will manage the client's expectations and ensure their satisfaction. Acting as a guide not only instills the client with the confidence to make informed decisions regarding skin health, but also strengthens the professional's partnership with the client.

Post-Treatment
At the end of the treatment, the client should still feel serviced. Ask them if they would like water or something else to drink while they are getting ready to leave. After they are dressed, re-enter the room and sit the client down in the same fashion as the initial consultation. Providing a touch-up makeup application further instills the time commitment from the professional and can also increase sales. Following the makeup application, have recommended products in hand so that the client can visibly see them while hearing about the benefits. Talk about their time commitment to homecare maintenance and follow-up treatments. Allow the client enough time to ask questions and educate them on anything for which they may need additional clarification. Be absolutely sure all of the client's needs have been met.

Checkout
Bring the client to the checkout area and introduce them to the receptionist. At that time, the client is being handed off, but their experience is not complete until they are actually out of the door. The receptionist should then ask the client how they liked their treatment, book future appointments, and thank the client with a smile. Additional touches, like having a gift bag filled with samples with the business logo on it waiting for them, is a thoughtful way to thank them for choosing the spa.

Follow Up
Invest time in reaching out and following up with clients. Making a phone call 24 to 48 hours after the client's treatment is a great way to gauge their satisfaction and ensure any post-treatment questions and/or concerns have been addressed. Many professionals focus their energy on how to get new clients in the door, but they should be spending some of that effort on staying connected with existing clients. Sending a quick gratitude card, birthday card, or "We've missed you" note is a nice touch. Take the time to write down personal information about the client, like their birthday, anniversary, and any other unique information.

Retention is the foundation of any spa. Without clients, there is no business. Treat every client as if they are the only client. Listen and consult with them to build meaningful and lasting professional relationships. Pay special attention to what the client is asking for and build solutions together. This approach solidifies the professional's position as the client's skin care partner and consultant, rather than just their aesthetician.

TerriWojakTerri A. Wojak, education director at True U Esthetics and True U Laser, is a highly sought-after professional with 20 years of experience in the aesthetic industry. She is a respected authority on skin care in a medical setting, education, and business development on multiple levels. Wojak has built 30 individual courses based on skin care in a medical setting. Wojak has published two books, "Aesthetics Exposed: Mastering Skin Care in a Medical Setting & Beyond," and "Mastering Medical Esthetics." She has trained over 3,000 aestheticians and medical professionals on the importance of incorporating skin care into cosmetic medicine.

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