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Building a Steady Client Base
By: LeAnne Velona
Posted: March 30, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Building relationships is essential for the growth and success of your career as a skin care professional and, just as important, is the ability to maintain and nurture the existing client relationships you have. This will prevent a high turnover rate, which ultimately leads to less income. Following is a marketing strategy for securing clients, retaining them and keeping them coming back for years.
Identifying the right clients
By doing a little research on the area in which you work and examining the demographics of the surrounding neighborhoods, a better understanding can be gained of who you can expect your clients to be. Researching the median income, age, spending habits and gender breakdown of a region will help you obtain a better understanding of who to seek out, and create a realistic database of the best possible client type. Evaluating the competition in your area will also help you competitively price your services.
Customer service = client retention
Although securing new clients is as important as it is exciting, it is also crucial to maintain existing client relationships. The best way to do this is through top-notch customer service. A happy client will likely stick with you, and also refer you and your services to others. Good customer service goes beyond providing basic skin care services—it is far more proactive and requires giving clients more than what they expect at each appointment. The best way to understand clients is to ask for their feedback. Find out how you are doing, and ask questions to understand how you can be of better service.
Be visible! With the evolution of technology, it is easy to stay connected by e-mail and even social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to share knowledge and offer information that is of value to clients. The type of information relayed should be less promotional and more along the lines of skin care tips, beauty industry news, trends and advice. Keep clients informed about events, specials, and any changes to your contact information or work schedule. A quick thank-you card sent after a client visit is a nice personal touch, and it is an easy way to foster relationships and build client loyalty.
Offer referral incentives
Referrals are one of the easiest ways to increase your existing client base and are one of the best compliments you can receive from clients. To establish or increase your customer base, offer a referral incentive for existing clients, such as a discount on future product purchases. It is also a way of saying “thank you” to your loyal clients for serving as ambassadors and bringing in new business. Your clients will love the gifts and feel appreciated by your gesture.