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Keeping Clients Comfortable

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Keeping Clients Comfortable

You have invested in the most comfortable aesthetic table available, selected a sleep-inducing soundtrack, and adorned your treatment room with calming colors and décor… You have created the consummate tranquil environment. Clients will surely slip into a deep relaxation the moment they set foot in your treatment room.
But there is still one component that could thwart your efforts. Clients, particularly first-time clients, typically come in with a host of worries and self-deprecating thoughts that will most definitely impact their experience. From lumps to bumps to stubble to wrinkles, they are subconsciously focused on their skin or body condition. It is also common for first-time spa visitors to experience some trepidation. Part of our job as aesthetic professionals is to ease any of these discomforts and eliminate anything that might be keeping the client from relaxation. 

The Aesthetician's Code of Ethics
When we sign on to work in the spa industry, no matter what area of focus, we also commit to a code of ethics. This includes a commitment to the client – to serve their best interests, provide the highest quality service, maintain confidentiality, demonstrate compassion and respect at all times, and nurture their skin to an optimal state of health and beauty.
We also make a commitment to uphold the profession by maintaining professional knowledge, rendering only those treatments within our scope of practice and adhering to the highest standard of ethical and professional conduct. There are a number of others, but as it relates to easing a client's worry, these are among the most applicable.
Aside from this code of ethics, skin care professionals enter the field out of a genuine passion to affect positive change for their clients. While we hold this sentiment at the forefront of our minds, it is important to remind clients that the mission is not to pass judgments but to devise a plan to help them achieve their skin health goals.
Simply posting your code of ethics in your treatment room or talking to clients about it may help them shift their focus from worry to relaxation.

Acne Sensitivities
While teenagers certainly are not the only clients who battle acne, it is most common among this group. In fact, nearly 85 percent of those ranging in age from 12 to 24 suffer from acne, of which 25 percent will experience permanent scarring. They are also at a stage in their lives when they may feel most vulnerable and self-conscious of their ever-changing physical appearance.
For many teenagers coming in with acne issues, it may be their first visit with an aesthetic professional. They may be coming in with some fear in addition to the worry about the appearance of their skin. It is important to remind them how common acne is – it is one of the most common skin diseases in the United States. You might consider sharing a few facts or an informational sheet with them. Include the statistics about the occurrence rate of acne, possible causes, and how to treat it. If you have a personal story with acne, you might consider sharing it as well.
Talk to them about the factors that cause acne:

  • Stress
  • Nutrition
  • Hormones
  • Picking
  • Drying
  • Skin irritants (detergents, shampoos, hairsprays, et cetera)
  • Cosmetics

While some causes are systemic, it is important to review the proper cleansing technique with them. Keep in mind however, this area may need to be broached with some sensitivity, as the goal is to educate them, not make them feel they are unsanitary. You might start the conversation by letting them know you talk to all of your clients about proper cleansing – most people under cleanse and over moisturize. Inform them that proper cleansing sets the tone for any skin care regimen. Skimping on this process can cause buildup in the pores, which means even the most powerful acne remedy will be
rendered ineffective.
Reassure them that they took a good first step by coming in. After all more than 40 percent of those with acne will not do anything about it and inherently run the risk of developing permanent scars. According to the American Dermatologist Association, 60 million Americans battle acne, and with only about half of them seeking out professional treatment, there is opportunity to provide your professional expertise to a large untreated population.

Making Men Comfortable
Making men feel comfortable in a spa setting may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually quite simple. In fact, the simpler you make it the better. The fact is men are getting facials, but it is how you appeal to them that makes the difference.
The men's grooming segment is one of the fastest growing in the cosmetic industry. Sales for men's grooming products is expected to reach $3.2 billion by 2016, up from the $2.6 billion that was projected for 2012. Despite this promising figure, only approximately 26 percent of men use more targeted products such as acne and aging treatments and lip care products. So we still have our work cut out for us.
The term "metrosexual" no longer resonates with the male consumer. Today it is the "everyday guy" who values a groomed appearance without taking it to extremes. Make sure your marketing materials promote the idea that everything about the treatment and products are geared specifically for men – from the services offered, to the naming of treatments, to the ease of use of products, and to the serious results. Use strong, bold colors and active phrases in all marketing materials including displays.
You might also consider creating a theme around the services geared towards men such as playing on the nostalgia of early era men's clubs and country clubs or old barbershops. The goal is to create a relaxed grooming experience. Men are less interested in the idea of a full, integrated process and more interested in those few essential, results-oriented treatments and products – hard-working simplicity.
You might consider adding shaving services to your menu to get them in the door. During their visit you can talk about additional treatments. To help them get into a deep relaxation during any treatment, you might massage their neck, shoulders and scalp, limit the chatter (they seem to prefer quiet, go figure), and offer them a complimentary beverage upon arrival. Before you begin the treatment, tell them exactly what you are going to do and the results they can expect. This will eliminate surprises along the way.

When Clients Get Harried
We have all had clients who are for one reason or another, self-conscious about their bodies. One big one for both men and women is hair. I have had clients worried about everything from stubble on their legs to facial hair. Some feel compelled to voice their concerns or apologize; others quietly battle their worry internally.
What they do not realize is we do not see these conditions as hairy versus non-hairy, or good or bad. As I mentioned though, part of our job is to ease any worry and reassure them we do not pass judgment. Clients must be comfortable no matter the circumstance.
Spark conversation, ask questions: In the instance of hair, how do you put clients fears to rest? Start the dialogue early on. The goal of this is to detect any worry, especially if they are the type as I mentioned earlier who do not voice their concerns, but battle it internally. Ask them if they have had this type of service before or if they have any concerns. If they do not offer up a concern, do not pry. It is their prerogative.
Assure clients: Whether they have vocalized their concerns or not, before you begin the treatment remind them this time is about them and your goal is to get them to completely relax. Consider creating a standard statement that you relay to each client prior to rendering treatment. Especially if they do not offer up a specific concern, you will want this statement to assure them that worry and unease about any variety of skin or body issue is common. Tell them what you are going to do and your intended goal.
On the other hand, if they specifically mention a concern about the amount of hair they have, assure them you do not see the condition as hairy versus non-hairy. You are looking at skin type, patterns and the type of technique you will use.
The aesthetician's oath: As I mentioned earlier, you might also consider posting a code of ethics or oath in your treatment room. This can be as simple as a bulleted list of your professional rules.
It might include:

  • Create a comfortable atmosphere
  • Never stand in judgment
  • Provide results and solutions
  • Give unconditional acceptance
  • Make clients feel their best
  • Commit to expanding my knowledge
  • I believe everyone is beautiful!

Share your story: If a client chooses to vocalize their concern, you might consider sharing your personal story, if you have in fact experienced the same worry. Any time I have been able to share a personal story with a client, I noticed their fears and worry slip away. It gives them something to relate to, and they seem to instantly feel at ease.

Bottom line: do not trivialize a client's concern over body issues, but do work to reassure them. Discomfort is the antithesis to the deep relaxed environment we all strive to create. As aesthetic professionals working with countless clients on a daily basis, we tend to overlook the fact that clients often come in with fears and worries. This, however, is very real for them and we need to create a comfortable atmosphere, beyond the physical environment, but also by addressing and working
through concerns.

Rhonda Allison, a pioneer in the skin care industry, is the founder and CEO of Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals and RA Skin Care for Men. She is also an author and internationally known speaker with more than 30 years’ aesthetic experience. www.rhondaallison.com and www.rawmethod.com

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