I remember a time where advanced services in the aesthetics industry were limited. When I started to have my legs waxed in my early teenage years there was literally one person in town who offered the service. In later years, not very long ago, I worked in a spa where we were the first to bring laser technology into the community and, therefore, we were the only (not the first) choice. It was good for us, and later gained market share and ended up being the first choice rather than the only choice, but my goodness has times changed?
Today, we live in a time where clients have a choice on where they want to spend their disposable income. It does not matter the treatment, what does matter is the knowledge and services you bring to the table, and how you nurture the relationship with the client who chose to spend their hard-earned money with you. When we fail to impress our clients, they will inevitably trade us in with the spa a few blocks down who has their customer service built into their daily protocols and nurture the relationship well.
The top question I get from the spas I work with to streamline in-house protocols for customer service is why they should invest the time and money into it when they get new clients through their doors all the time?
Over more than a decade of tracking numbers, the truth is that it is much more expensive to acquire a new client than it is to retain existing clients. The Pareto Principle also surfaces when we do a deep dive into numbers and see that 80% of the revenue really does come from 20% or your clients. What would it mean to your bottom line if you can increase the frequency, spending, and lifetime (in your business) of all your clients?
Here are the top strategies my clients and I find make a 30% or more improvement to the bottom line when implemented. I hope it does to yours too.
CELEBRATE YOUR CLIENT’S MILESTONES
We are in the service industry and it is an opportunity to have our clients feel sensational by notating, remembering, and celebrating the things important to them, like birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates. Sometimes a simple acknowledgment is enough through e-mail or better yet – a real card in the post. Other times, it an opportunity to do something special for our regular clients. I am and never will be an advocate for discounts, I am a fan adding value. Spend a few minutes longer and add an extra massage to the facial. Perhaps you prefer adding a service like an eyelash tint instead? The point is to go the extra mile and it does not have to come at a huge cost.
SAY THANK YOU
This one might seem obvious, yet, it never ceases to amaze me that the obvious is rarely followed up on. When a client trusts you enough to send their loved ones to you, thank them. A discount is the most common way to acknowledge such a referral.
Personally, we have always had the policy to upgrade as a thank you. Yes, we upgrade the facial to the next level or add technology to their treatment (such as an LED service add-on), that way we are not out of pocket and it is extra-luxurious to spend more time with the client at their next service. The minute such a referral comes in, take the extra step to look up the referee’s next appointment and call them in person to thank them and to their service. If they don’t have their next appointment booked, upgrade their usually booked service right then and there. You just retained that individual if they have not yet rebooked.
FOLLOW UP AND FOLLOW UP AGAIN
Ever went to the hair salon and dropped some good money on a fabulous cut and color? You now made the investment and want to maintain the color for as long as possible, so you buy all the stuff the hairdresser recommended, to maintain good homecare, but can’t remember if it was one shampoo or a double shampoo? How often did she say to use the hair mask? We do the same in the world of skin. Rush through the consultation, make recommendations, and look forward to seeing them when they pop in for their next facial, or wax, or other services. When you have a protocol in place to follow-up on sales and services you will be surprised how clients take the time to tell you they never had their aesthetician phone them three days after the purchase of their skin care regimen to hear how things are going for them. They are simply wowed.
I highly recommend building an in-house system where you know when clients had a specific service for the first time and purchased a specific product for the first time (if they are regulars). If they are new, it is obvious that it is their first time buying any product or service from you. Have time in your schedule every day to make a few calls to these first-time occurrences and follow-up to check in at the three day mark. It is not a cost of your time, it is an investment into your future to the tune of 30%, according to clients we tracked over 18 months.
DOWN-TIME PRODUCTIVITY AND CAPITALIZING ON SEASONAL TRENDS
There are times when business is a little slower than the norm, and when you have a team it is dreaded. I recommend you see it as a great opportunity to get some education on the books, catch-up on some cleaning, and making sure clients don’t fall through the cracks and trade you in for a new aesthetician. How? Invite them in for a follow-up consultation. If you have diagnostic equipment it is a great time to pull a report of the clients that have not been back in to see you in 12 to 24 weeks (danger time for being traded) and get new diagnostic images or measurements done. It is always easier to reconnect with your clients in-person than it is to do so over the phone or e-mail.
TELL CLIENTS WHEN YOU WANT TO SEE THEM AGAIN
Do you utilize a powerful consultation to set expectations for six to 12 months with all your clients? Especially new clients must be informed of how they can work with you.
I have been a longtime advocate of an in-depth consultation for the first appointment. This allows you to really get to know a client, understand their risk factors, contraindications, and allow you to prepare a long-term treatment and homecare plan for clients.
When they know that it is my expectation to see them every week for six weeks and then monthly for maintenance treatments with an invitation to book these in advance, they are far more likely to do so than when I never even ask for the booking to start with. Don’t assume clients know when they should be in – to extend the invitation. I recommend you guide all treatment plans for clients by clearly stating what you will start with and what you will move onto.
For example, “We will start with a six week facial program to repair skin barrier function and control cellular inflammation. After that, we will have a reassessment of your skin, and it is the intention at that point that we will start to bring in antiaging protocols into your regimen. I assess you are a good candidate and recommend collagen induction therapy for the next phase of treatments, and that means your homecare protocol will involve (insert homecare recommendations) and treatments will occur every four to six weeks for a minimum of six treatments. Can I book these for you today?”
It does not matter if you have to adjust the appointments in a few weeks or months – get them in because you want clients to understand that it is a long-term relationship just like healthy eating and exercise. You can add all recommendations in this consultation. I use a year-long calendar where I draft a rough plan for clients and get at least their first six treatments on the books. You can also book your entire team’s appointments this way.
This is one of my favorite topics and there could be 10 or 15 tips to share. For now, I encourage you to pick two or three of these strategies and implement them into your daily spa protocols. Lead your clients and reap the rewards of the relationships.
René Serbon is an international skin expert. She started her education focusing on business studies (marketing) and then moved to aesthetics. She began studying in New Zealand and completed training in beauty therapy (called aesthetics in Canada and the United States), as well as electrolysis through the New Zealand Institute of Electrolysis and Beauty Therapy. Serbon sat for international examinations and is a diplomat of both CIBTAC and CIDESCO. She completed post-graduate training in laser, IPL, and the Pastiche Method of Advanced Skin Analysis, for which Serbon was later an honoree as a Pastiche recognized educator. She also serves on the board of education for the International Association for Applied Corneotherapy. reneserbon.com