Creating Effective Customer Service

Written by Lyn Ross, L.M.E.

Aspa can have an unbeatable line of products and services, employ the most skillful and dedicated skin care professionals, and generate the sort of profits that can make the most successful businesses envious.

However, all that success can quickly be lost if the spa does not pay attention to its clients. While good customer service is vital to the life of any business, it is not just about keeping customers happy. It is also about tending to those who are unhappy and addressing their complaints.

Spas and salons will do anything to attract new clients – coupons, promotions, and even new, exotic services. However, the task is not complete just because the client has walked through the door. If professionals want to catch, keep, and build their client base so that the client values the professional’s spa above all others, it is important to communicate, be courteous, and take criticism.

Clients are bombarded with advertisements, offers, and discounts from competing spas and salons. To reel them in, and keep them, professionals must offer extra value and communicate that value effectively. It is about more than just regular advertisements. Skin care professionals could (and should!) write articles for trade magazines or send out press releases with a good story or news based around their spa. This effort lets existing clients know what is going on and provides something eye-catching for new clients. Pitching ideas to local television and radio stations is also a good idea. While getting through to those channels can be a challenge, one successful radio placement is worth thousands of dollars in free publicity and new business.

Give Thanks
Take steps to show clients that they mean everything. This creates an environment where clients want to come again and again. Some companies do it with a beautifully-presented note, thanking the client for their support. Others simply send the client an e-mail to thank them. Regardless of the method, letting the client know that their business is appreciated is a great step toward making sure they remain loyal for many years to come.
Never forget to show appreciation to clients who bring their friends and family to the spa. Referrals are the best way to build a business. No advertisement or direct mail will do what a good referral can do for the bottom line. If a client has referred someone to the facility, be sure to thank them with a small coupon, a gift certificate, or a hand-written card.

Welcome Feedback
Install a good feedback mechanism, as clients must be able to communicate freely. It is a fantastic way to develop the relationship because it allows the professional to respond to the client’s needs and makes them feel special. Place a box by the front desk with small pieces of paper on which clients can write notes. Dedicate a portion of the website to feedback, allowing visitors to make a comment regarding spa services and their experience.

Use the Power of the Internet
Many clients now prefer going to the Internet to research spas and skin care products before buying. Professionals should have an inviting and informative website. Use client-friendly language that is easy to understand. Utilize the words ‘you’ and ‘we’ in order to create an easygoing tone. The power of the Internet is ever-reaching; if professionals are not utilizing it to its full capacity, they are missing out.
Putting coupons on the website is also beneficial. Allow clients to sign up for an e-newsletter through the website. Professionals can also link their website to a blog, informative articles, and how-tos. In other words, the website should be the go-to place for anyone who wants to know about skin care. It should not be just a listing of services and prices. Use the Internet to offer more to the clients.

Courtesy works and never goes out of style. Being polite to clients at all times makes them feel special and loved – feelings clients should experience when they visit the spa. When a client calls, they want to feel like they are the center of the spa’s universe and that they are valued as much as their credit card.
Be on a first-name basis – no one likes being a number. Remember to be polite and respectful. If a name pronunciation is unknown, simply ask. If a client is disappointed or upset, ask what can be done to remedy the situation. They may just need to vent or come in for another treatment or re-do. In either case, listening is important. Above all, remember to be warm and friendly to clients on the phone and in person, listen carefully, maintain eye contact, and honor all promises. Furthermore, do not take clients for granted; thank them for their business and referrals.
It costs absolutely nothing to be courteous; it is much cheaper than any advertising or a marketing campaign. It is also a sure-fire way of building up the client base and ensuring repeat business.

Not enough attention is given to criticism in various business books and courses. Meanwhile, criticism is one of the best catalysts of progress. If addressed correctly, it can be the most wonderful thing that can happen because it forces the business to change and improve their facility. While it can be difficult to accept criticism without being defensive, it is important to keep an open mind when a client offers suggestions for improvement. Look at it as a great opportunity to do better. Do not take it personally; stay calm and listen carefully to the complaint. If there is a problem, acknowledge it. Professionals should let the client know they care and how they plan on addressing the concern. Then, follow through!
The best spas have a fast turnaround time in dealing with complaints. These spas know that it is much more cost-effective to develop good relationships with existing clients than to try to get new ones. Spas that do not take complaints seriously, or lose them in the system, will find their customers walking. The number one reason people, especially women, take their business elsewhere is because they have been treated poorly.
While some people may constantly complain and never be happy, the majority of clients complain only when there truly is some sort of a problem. Maybe they are constantly left to wait for over 15 minutes during each visit. If that is the case, address the reason that the staff is running behind. Perhaps more time needs to be allotted to each appointment. Maybe a client feels that the skin care professional could not knowledgeably answer their questions. In this case, address the issue of education and training in order to make sure that team members are on top of their game. Perhaps a client purchased a product that did not live up to their expectations. Speak to the client about the product return or exchange policy. Ask what they were expecting from the product and what can be done to make them feel better. Offer a small discount on the next product purchase. Make sure that team members carefully describe product specifications, so that clients are not misled by what a product can and cannot do. Whatever the case, look at criticism as an opportunity to improve the spa.

As spa services are often not a necessity for clients, professionals must work hard to ensure client loyalty and satisfaction. Providing superb, no-one-can-beat-us customer service is one of the best ways to make sure that clients get exactly what they are looking for.

Lynn-Ross 2016Lyn Ross is a licensed master aesthetics instructor, accredited through the Georgia Board of Cosmetology with over 30 years of experience in the field of professional aesthetics. A true medical spa pioneer, Ross has written numerous articles, co-authored textbooks, and appeared on radio and television shows, highlighting professional aesthetics. She is dedicated to sharing her passion, knowledge, and years of clinical aesthetic experience. Ross provides skin care professionals with clinical and medical treatment protocols, products, and the education that guarantees client results and spa business success.

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