How to Start a Spa Business: Securing Customer Loyalty
There is a lot to think about when learning how to start a spa business surrounding esthetics and waxing. Bringing in new business is just one side of the equation, but securing customer loyalty is a whole other ballgame. Your salon client retention strategies should be the foundation of how you run your business from start to finish.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the critical factors in how to craft your services and business model to keep clients coming back. From providing the best education and client experience to selling as a service and customer loyalty programs for salons, we’re giving you some essential tips to maintain client loyalty and your status as a total pro.
Before we begin all the fun stuff, it is vital to have the necessary protocols in place to protect yourself and clients for rescheduling, lateness, no-shows, and the like—protocols layout what is expected from both parties to build and maintain a business relationship on common ground. Protocols are like personal boundaries but for your business. Setting these up shows your clients the standards that you set for yourself. Yes, you want to attract and keep clients, but we’re talking good, respectful clients who value and respect you and your business.
GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT
When opening your own spa business, one of the best ways to secure customer loyalty is to provide the services clients want most. Bikini line waxing and an upper lip are two top-rated services, and putting them together can be even better! Creating spa packages and combining services helps clients save money and builds value, as they can get more for less. This also allows clients to “taste-test” your services so that they can book a la carte when they don’t need all that and the kitchen sink.
USING THE BEST
You can’t beat superior Starpil formulas like Starsoft or Calendula Film Hard Wax, or that personal Starpil Wax customer service, but even if you are planning on using another brand, NEVER go the cheap route. Find the best possible solutions to fit your budget (try talking to a Starpil Personal Account Manager to help fit your products to your budget). MAKE IT WORK. Don’t use cheap wax or skincare on your clients to avoid adding time, effort and mess to your services. The key is to enhance the client experience and a strong way to do that is by only using and recommending high-quality products.
SETTING THE TONE
As you navigate your way through how to start a spa business, most of your clients will be new to you, so setting the tone for repeat business is done from the beginning. From your website and SMS and text messages to your phone etiquette and in-person demeanor, your vibe needs to be welcoming and show high interest in the person you’re looking to keep.
If they’re on the books, learn their name beforehand and if they’re a walk-in, remember their name. THIS IS A MUST. If remembering names has always been a struggle for you, it should be your new mission in life to remedy it so that new clients feel heard and valued the moment they meet you.
When discovering more on how to own a spa business, you’ll see that 99.9999% of what you’ll be doing for these people is meeting their needs; this requires active listening to determine what those are so that you can provide service that goes above and beyond specifically for them. So introduce yourself with a friendly smile and a positive attitude. Engage in a casual conversation to break the ice and set the tone for a laid back and relaxing waxing session.
FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE
When opening your own spa business, you will be getting new clients, which might attract people entirely new to waxing. These types might feel shy or insecure about their bodies for the first time. Beginner waxers may even feel that their bodies need to look a certain way to be normal. Estheticians know that all bodies are unique and come in many shapes and sizes. When servicing new clients, they must understand that you don’t have any expectations for what their body looks like. Help them relax and feel as comfortable as possible with you. Assure them that all you focus on is the area that needs to be waxed and nothing else.
When Does Caring Become Controlling?
One thing we NEVER do is shame them or admonish them for being insecure, not knowing if they’re supposed to wear a moisturizer or if they smoke, for example. It’s our job to educate, and put at ease but never from a perspective of judging or superiority. Sometimes, we get so devoted to our skincare philosophy that when someone does something outside of that or disagrees with it, we are quick to defend it (and perhaps not in the kindest way). Pay attention to these emotions and come from a place of working with your client’s perspective to do the most good in the end.
Many esthies undervalue the skin consultation as a strong contender within their salon client retention strategies. Some esthies may even have their clients fill out an intake form, only to barely go over it. The salon intake form and the client consultation is the beginning of your client-retention roadmap. It builds out which products you will use on them, how you will conduct a particular service and how you will educate and coach them on reaching their skincare goals. The consultation should tell you what kind of skin and hair they have and what their waxing experience has been like so far.
CREATING A CLIENT PLAN
When figuring out how to set up a spa business, know that each of your clients is as different as their service areas are from the rest of their body. Hair is different on the face than on the bikini line, skin is different on those places as well. Because of all of these differing factors, plus countless other details, it is wise to have multiple skincare formulas, wax types and waxing techniques in your repertoire to best meet a multitude of needs.
New clients need time to shift their hair removal habits to your way of doing things. It’s vital to your business to stress the importance of regular appointments and hair growth factors so that they don’t set themselves back on their goals. It’s in your highest interest to get them on a devout pre and post-wax care routine and to inspire them toward taking the best care of their skin in between services.
Formulate plans for your clients to get them from Point A to Point B so they can achieve their goal of having beautifully smooth skin that grows in hair lighter and thinner than before. Every person is different and has a unique hair and skin type, so create a custom plan for each one of your clients.
When customers understand the goals you are trying to achieve with their eyebrows, or Brazilian, and what you will do to achieve those goals, they will be more compliant throughout the process. After all, the end goal is for them to look and feel their best!
As mentioned, education is in your top interests in how to start a spa business. Educating your clients is how you position yourself as an expert in your field; it shows that you know what you’re talking about and can be trusted. They HAVE to come back; there’s no choice; they’ve found the holy grail of waxing—you! Educate them on everything that you’re using, from ingredients to why you’ve chosen these things for them specifically. Educating clients shows them that you are actively listening to their concerns and providing them with tailor-made services and not one-size-fits-all solutions.
If you have adequately educated your clients on the importance of consistent services and proper skincare habits, they will hopefully look to you like their hair removal/skincare personal trainer. Sure, they can regularly meet with their trainer, but it’s their investment in-between the meetings that make for long-lasting and consistent results. They need to be convinced of what you share with them, do all the things, and be invested in their own results so they will be validated when the ingrowns and hair growth subside. When they can see how what you did and suggested works, they will be devoted!
So before they go, ensure that they have all of the tools for at-home care to reach their goals. “Which one of the products I recommended do you see yourself using at home? I don’t want you to take anything that you won’t use.” Then, invite them to stay on track with their goals by setting their next appointment. Remember, you’ve already set this moment up during the service; now you’re just putting it in “writing.”
Advising clients to schedule their next waxing appointment before they leave is a great way to secure bookings and customer loyalty. Many times, life gets in the way of things, and people forget about rescheduling their appointment on time. Trying to squeeze in an appointment last minute or forgetting about it completely can be a pain. Prevent this by scheduling appointments with clients beforehand, allowing them to stay on track with their plan for success. Remind clients that rescheduling is always easier than trying to squeeze an appointment in on a busy day!
BUILDING CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS
An April 2018 article from www.BusinessInsider.com relayed a new study published in the 'Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.' (It) “discovered that, on average, it takes about 50 hours with someone before you consider them a casual friend, 90 hours before you become real friends, and about 200 hours to become close friends.” When opening your own spa business, a half-hour to 45-minute service will take forever to get there with a new client, that’s why relying on phone, mail, email, and social media channels are amazing tools to get more “face time” with your clients.
To be more involved with your clients, getting as much information from them is essential; this includes their email address, home or office address, birthday and social media handles. You want those things so that you can be providing them value in and outside of the salon. From educational blogs and newsletters to thank you notes, personal messages and events and promotions, you want to stay in your clients’ peripherals so that you are the first person they think of when it comes to hair removal.
Use this info to follow up with your clients the day after their appointment not only shows that you remember them but that you care about them as well. Ask how their skin is doing and how they feel since they left their appointment. Remind them about the importance of aftercare to prevent irritation and ingrown hairs. Keep it short, sweet, and informative. Let them know you’re excited to see them at their next appointment. This will undoubtedly leave a good impression of you on your clients.
CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAMS FOR SALONS
Just like with Starpil customer service, customer loyalty programs for salons and rewards programs will give you an advantage with getting people back into your chair or onto your table. You can also create a referral program. Referrals are the greatest compliments and motivate clients to recommend your services to others.
Offering free services or discounts is an excellent incentive for clients to book. Referral offers can come in many different forms. Examples include leaving service reviews on your website, referring a friend, bringing a guest along, etc. Referral promotions can be applied to the client and the referral or just the client. The referral then goes through the same process.
A lot of learning how to start a spa business will take you out of your comfort zone. Putting yourself out there, sales, contacting people ON THE PHONE!? may seem daunting, but they are a must, and doing them despite your fears is what will build customer loyalty. Using these helpful tips to grow your booking list and increase customer loyalty when opening your own spa business will help your reputation increase, and allow your work to stand out in your clients’ minds.
It ultimately all comes down to the experience you provide your clients. By being actively engaged, motivated, and confident during your client’s sessions, the more they will trust you and want to return!
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