How does customer service and professionalism differ in the skin care industry versus other industries? Skin care professionals study to become experts on the skin, and the public looks to them for guidance and expertise. The title “skin care professional” is equated with an expectation of professionalism, knowledge and sanitation. You are trusted to handle and manipulate one of your clients’ most precious commodities: their faces.
Professionalism at work refers to people performing their jobs with sincerity, and maintaining professional etiquette and ethics consistently. Its root lies in those who do their work with quality and integrity. Consistency is what sets the elite establishments apart from the others. It is impossible to be professional without being consistent; it implies trustworthiness, reliability and dependability. Exceeding expectations is good for repeat business; falling below expectations is not. By focusing on details such as sanitation and appearance, time management and client respect, your skin care facility can stand out and elevate its expertise.
Sanitation and appearance. Clients expect to enter a sterile environment when visiting a professional skin care facility, and they certainly expect estheticians to maintain a professional appearance. Define your work attire and adhere to it, especially if you are an owner/operator, in which case it can be easy to deviate occasionally. Work attire should be different than everyday attire. It should be clean and conservative; you should be immaculately groomed, with long hair pulled back and closed-toe shoes. A uniform for consistency, such as an apron, jacket or logo-imprinted shirt, is ideal.
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Time management. It is common to hear complaints from skin care professionals when their clients are late or do not show up for their scheduled appointment. You can’t have different expectations for your clients than you do for yourself. That is why it is important to never be late or cancel your appointments, unless it is an emergency situation. If you do have to cancel an appointment, make an effort to go above and beyond using customer service techniques to make it up to the client. For example, if you were sick and have to ask your clients to reschedule, try offering 10% off their next service or give them a small take-home item.
Client respect. No, the client is not always right; however, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t show them the utmost respect and courtesy. Clients are coming to you so you can pay attention to them. You could not possibly be paying attention to them if you are involving them with your life problems. Clients aren’t going to tell you they don’t want to hear about the fight with your significant other. Your goal must be to ensure that the last thought clients have when they walk out your door is positive; they shouldn’t be bombarded with your burdens. If you’re not enjoying every minute of the service, the client isn’t, either. Even if you think you have evolved your client/service provider relationship into friendship, you still need to maintain perfect professionalism. You can never go wrong with treating all of your clients in the same professional manner.
Sometimes, business owners and independent contractors forget that they still have a boss; many bosses, in fact. Your clients are the bosses because, if you aren’t pleasing them, you won’t remain in business. They have the power to improve or diminish a skin care professional’s reputation. If you are consistent with providing superior customer service, your business will survive the multiple online customer review sites and be able to confidently maintain an average rating of excellence.
You can’t control the down economy, so control what you can. There is a lot of competition out there, so work to stand out in other ways with exceptional customer service and professionalism. After all, they go hand in hand, and you can’t have one without the other.
Carrie Griffin is owner and operator of Slice of Heaven Day Spa in San Jose, California. She is a licensed esthetician and massage therapist, and comes from a family with more than 40 years of experience in the beauty industry. With a focus on continuing education, Griffin attends monthly seminars about the latest technology and techniques for promoting healthy skin.