All You Need Is Love: How to Build a Connection with Clients
Estheticians often forget that they possess a very special gift—the license to touch. The simple act of tactile contact through massage can lift depression, strengthen the immune system, improve sleep patterns, decrease the production of stress hormones and reduce job stress that can result in absenteeism and lost productivity. As estheticians, we are privileged to possess the training and certification that enable us to make truly life-altering differences in people’s lives. With such a need in our society to have real, beneficial experiences, spas and salons should be booked solid for face and body care treatments. Yet, this may not be the case. The truth is, if 70% of the time clients found the experience to be pleasant enough to warrant a second visit, everyone would have very busy facial treatment rooms. If your salon or spa is falling short of this, something is missing from the formula, and the formula for success must begin with the service provider and how they are caring for the client. In order to make the trip to spa or salon worthwhile in today’s market, the client needs to not only look forward to being genuinely cared for; they need to be made to feel like they are the most important person in the room. Never forget: clients are like celebrities and must be treated to superlative service accordingly. The following is all the key factors in an action plan to make sure each and every person feels like a VIP.
Cater to the VIP in Everyone
A research study by Yankelovich found that 94% of consumers who make less than $35,000 annually believe that they deserve the same quality of service as wealthy consumers, 88% expect to be treated in the same manner as a business’ best client, and 85% demand to receive the highest level of service for the price they pay. These statistics clearly show that consumers anticipate receiving high-end service at all times, whether they are eating at a neighborhood diner or a fine restaurant, or whether they are visiting a destination spa or a one-room family-owned facility. Review your spa menu to see if it speaks to this affluent attitude. Create ways to sell your current services so that they offer more exclusive cache. (See our New! Menu of Services)
Have Them from Hello
The first 7 seconds of a potential client’s initial encounter with your spa is critical to conveying your professional image. The ambiance and a welcoming attitude that says “We are happy to see you!” must be experienced from the moment the client walks through that door. Establish eye contact and smile genuinely. But it goes far beyond what you say: body language, the way the front desk personnel look and dress and the ambience and decor of the front desk area, are all processed by the client in a split second, instantly signally if the setting is truly welcoming and inviting, or someplace they perhaps could do without. The key word is “true.” We unconsciously can detect real vs. fake behavior in another with great accuracy. While a client may not be a psychologist or a forensic expert, they have a real cognitive ability to detect if you are genuinely happy to host them at your facility from the moment they are greeted. It is imperative that not just your front desk staff, but everyone on your team from head esthetician to entry level employee, understand this.
Never Say No
Imagine a celebrity was booking an appointment at your spa. If you had a scheduling conflict, or found they wanted something that was much more customized than your normal policy, would you turn them away? Never. Each and every client needs to be served in this way at initial point of contact—when they are booking their appointment. You can always find a solution to provide the client the service they desire. Never leave them with “No” for an answer.
Studies show that both emotional and functional aspects of a cosmetic brand have a significant impact on consumer satisfaction, but that the emotional has a greater effect. Consumer satisfaction is greatest when the cosmetic brand helps to strengthen positive emotions through the perception of ‘caring for oneself’ and removing feelings of worry and guilt about not taking care of one’s appearance. Focus on creating both the same way big brands do – through emotion and creating positive associations. Building emotion begins with how you interact with clients. Have personal conversations and treat clients as though that they are part of your salon family when they step in the door. You can extend this by connecting with them on social media, not only talking about what is happening now at the salon and offering them promotions for future visits, but also talking about your company history and mission statement. The true connection, however, begins with your face-to-face interactions. Although this may seem like common sense, it’s important to understand how impactful and important this is from a client’s perspective and how carrying this concept into your salon/spa can make a difference.
Surpass Their Needs
The spa industry is not about cost leadership; it’s about delivering an exceptional experience. From the receptionist to the owner, every employee shares the same responsibility—to anticipate clients needs and to make sure of every possible resource to surpass those needs. Creating a sublime experience is not about what you like; it is all about fulfilling the needs of your clientele. In order for a day spa to be successful, the spa director (whether it be the owner or another employee) needs to be stationed at the front desk, anticipating clients’ needs and delivering services that are met with 100% satisfaction. Empower your front desk staff to make regular clients feel special by upgrading their services. In order to run the spas front end effectively and to provide informed recommendations and advice to the clientele, your staff must be well trained and fully knowledgeable about all the treatment procedures and product lines offered by your facility. It is your team’s responsibility to book clients and help grow your business.
Take Care Of Yourself and Make Time for Friends and Family
As a spa owner, you have to take good care of yourself before you can care for others or offer beauty advice. Exercise and good nutrition are equally important to your well-being. Eat balanced meals that include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and fowl. A diet that consists of several little meals is a great way to keep your metabolism up and your energy level high throughout a long, busy day. Exercising helps us feel and look younger. Take a 30 minute walk to clear my mind and start my day off right. Regular exercise releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone, which helps reduce stress. Taking care of yourself is important, but so is taking care of your friends and family. Make sure to cross off days on the calendar that are reserved for life beyond the workplace. Although you may love what you’re doing, life cannot be all work and no play. Remember, we do not live to work, we work to live.
You can find more business building ideas in my book: Success at Your Fingertips: How to Succeed in the Skin Care
Do you have any other unique or special ways to connect with clients? Share with us in the comments below!