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Relationships = Retention

By: Steven H. Dayan, MD and Terri Wojak
Posted: June 1, 2009, from the June 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Most often, the client called because of your brand, so it must be consistent throughout. If you are trying to come across as a high-end skin care center, then everything should look high end. That doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money, just make sure it looks as if you did. If you are promoting your facials as the ultimate in relaxation, then every part of the spa should have a relaxing feel, from the reception area to the bathroom to the treatment rooms. Play soft music, light candles, and make sure the room is neat and clean. Staff members should be dressed according to the established brand you’ve created. For example, in a medical office, treatment providers should wear clean lab coats and office staff must look professional.

Consider your reception area to act as your concierge. Clients should be treated as if they are the most important people who have ever walked through the door. Designated team members should take coats, ask if clients would like something to drink and if there is anything that they can provide for clients to make them more comfortable while waiting for services. It is the same premise if you go to a high-end hotel or restaurant. People tend to have higher expectations when they are paying for luxury treatments. Have beverages and snacks readily available. You can try to tie these in with current promotions you are offering: chocolate-covered cherries to promote a cherry peel.

The treatment

During the treatment, clients should have every minute of the allotted time dedicated specifically to them. Take the time for a proper consultation to ensure you are providing exactly what they want. The consultation stage is vital to starting a strong relationship. You can’t make clients happy until you identify their exact expectations. When these are discussed, you must always under-promise and over-deliver. Answer any of the clients’ questions. Don’t ever let them feel rushed, even if they were late. This is their time, and they are paying for your services. Try to be understanding when clients are running a little behind schedule. Be compassionate, but if it keeps happening, make it known that you will have to cut services short so you don’t ruin another client’s experience. If you are running late, politely explain, and if clients seem upset, do what you can to make it up to them. You could always add something in that would usually cost extra to demonstrate that you are respectful of their time.

The service should not end as soon as the treatment does. Touching up clients’ makeup greatly adds to the customer service you are providing. Many don’t like walking around without makeup, and some come in before or during work hours and will appreciate the fact that they can return to work without others knowing they had a treatment. Giving clients proper after-care instructions and educating them about how to care for their skin is also part of good customer service. If you are recommending products, it shouldn’t feel like selling. Clients are coming to you for your knowledge, and they appreciate learning how to care for their skin. If they are not prepared to purchase products, give them samples so they can experience the difference it can make on their skin. Have articles, newsletters or other information readily available for the products and services you offer. Clients love to have something that they can review when they return home.

Nurture the client

You must nurture clients every step of the way. Walk them to the front desk to check out, and have a small gift waiting for them, such as samples, lip balm featuring the spa’s logo or candy. This will give them something positive to help counteract the negative—the bill. Again, the receptionist should try to further build a relationship with clients by addressing them by their first names and asking how their experience was and if there is anything else they need before checking out. It is extremely important at this time that clients do not feel rushed out of the office.