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Keep That Client!

By: Elizabeth Roche, MD
Posted: January 7, 2009, from the January 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
woman whispering in man's ear

Client retention is the cornerstone of building any new or existing buisness. Keeping your current clients is much easier than gaining new ones, and there are certain tactics that a business owner can implement to ensure client loyalty and retention. Medical spas, and spas in general, are among one of the fastest growing sectors in the consumer market today. In fact, SpaFinder’s Susie Ellis was quoted in The New York Times as saying there are more spas in the United States than there are Starbucks.1 In an industry that is becoming fiercely competitive, staying true to your mission is key.

Powerful words

Before discussing ways to ensure client satisfaction and retention, it is important to first look at some facts regarding the issue at hand. It has been said that seven out of 10 clients who switch to a competitor do so because they have received poor service—not because of better deals or extensive offers—but because of how they were treated by their current service provider.2 Another important fact is that a good customer experience is told to eight other people, while a bad customer experience is told to 22.2 As with any business, you want your clients to brag about you. Good word-of-mouth alone may not bring in droves of business, but bad word-of-mouth will definitely keep people away, regardless of your marketing efforts. Following are some suggestions about how to establish deep-rooted relationships with your clients, and ensure the continued growth and success of your business.

Think like a consumer. What are consumers looking for? What do they want? Consider what keeps you going back to a certain business. It’s a combination of many aspects; however, exceptional customer service is the driving force behind repeat business. When clients walk into your spa, they should feel welcome and that their business is appreciated. This kind of valuation will stick with clients and last much longer than any treatment. Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, once said that its goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.3

That is the attitude every company—especially every medical spa—should maintain and practice on a daily basis. This commitment does not end with clients’ visits. Acknowledging birthdays, sending out thank-you letters for referrals or calling to follow up on services are all great ways to show you value the relationship you’ve built. The small things you put out to show you care will turn into even greater returns.

Win with marketing. Promotional marketing is a winning tactic that not only gets new business in the door, but also allows existing clients affordable options that give them the opportunity to visit your facility more frequently. Providing a discounted treatment or even offering a package of multiple procedures that complement each other are a great way to promote your menu items and entice clients into trying something they might not otherwise consider. For example, a package called the 3D Rejuvenation Package could combine two photorejuvenation treatments—one that treats surface pigmentation and one that stimulates collagen-tightening—followed by a third treatment of superficial to mid-depth laser resurfacing. These three treatments support each other by targeting the different dimensions of the skin. This is a value your client will appreciate because they are getting a great deal and seeing dynamic results.

A weaker economy also warrants the need for any values you can offer to your clients in order to show that you are attuned to the need of providing affordable options for a variety of lifestyles. Offering repeat discounts, first-time specials and package-deal promotions are all great ways to extend savings to clients. It is also extremely important to note that if you can provide ongoing savings to your clients, you have established a bond with them that will ensure repeat business.