Your pioneering journey to have a fully booked, bustling salon will not last very long if you do not have the very much sought after, returning clients. You have new clients entering your business premises everyday – golden opportunities to turn clients into repeat customers, regulars or re-bookings. If you are really good at what you do, these clients will also become friends.
What if I told you there are a few secrets to increase client retention. It’s always a perfect time to learn these, so read on….
Choose responsible and respectful behaviour.
This is the first time your potential repeat client is going to meet you. Therefore it is essential that every interaction you have with her has to be both of the above – responsible and respectful.
Start off with making sure you are on time (to the second!) for her appointment. The very first visit to your salon is going to be a bit like a first date (relationship building) to her. If you don’t bother to show up on time you have basically ruined all chances of success. She will feel straight away that she doesn’t mean much to you, or that you have a half-hearted approach to your on-going relationship.
If you are running late for any totally unavoidable reason, then make sure you tell her in person (come out of your treatment room, don’t get the receptionist to do this) and explain why and how long you are going to be. Perhaps offer a small discount as it is her first visit.
The same general respectfulness will go a long way on this first meet. Don’t call her by first name terms until invited, smile a lot and listen. Don’t talk too much about yourself or even your salon at this point (unless asked; it’s all about her at this point). Show as much manners as you have ever been taught.
Build a relationship built on honesty.
How easy it would be at this stage to brag about your achievements and exaggerate the effectiveness of your treatments, the popularity of your salon or anything else that you think might endear her .
The truth is it will come off exactly like that – (bragging) and it is more likely to turn her off. Far better to wait until she asks about something and then confidently and truthfully give the answer.
By all means always praise yourself up, just don’t go overboard at this stage.
Look for a private victory today.
Many consultants and experts will have you asking the Can I pencil in your next appointment? question at the reception. They will have a reception area script to train you in, rehearsed questions for you to ask the client etc. Others will have you training your receptionist as the key person to make the repeat bookings. I believe both these approaches to be wrong.
Firstly the re-booking effort should never be left to the receptionist. The client has had little or no connection to the receptionist at this time and is far less likely to want to make a second appointment through her.
She hasn’t had any advice, time spent or relationship build with the receptionist. Also once at the desk the client often feels very pre-occupied – getting her purse and her cards out, checking her phone etc. This hurriedness will distract her from clearly thinking about her upcoming schedule and she will immediately jump to the conclusion in her head it is better to call to make her next appointment. She may also have a small audience – the next clients waiting to be seen, and she may not want all eyes on her.
It is much better to have a private victory instead – a calm, thought through plan to her treatments, discussed by you her therapist, in the privacy of the treatment room.
You need to make sure you give the very best service, listening to her concerns. Don’t assume that what you know to be the best treatment plan for her is what she has in mind. You may think her eyebrows or nails are needing immediate and definitive attention ASAP, but her reason to want to come back a second time could be she is sussing you out as her new regular massage therapist. Listen for clues.
Quality treatments with quality terms attached.
Make sure the treatment you give is of the very best quality. It is a great idea to mark off say 10 mins extra time than you would normally need for this very important first visit. She is a VIP on this day and you don’t want anything to be rushed. Going back once more to honesty – I believe this is the time and the stage to get the re-booking in the bag, and be as honest as you can. Don’t be shy….
- Tell her you’re looking to build up your clientele – she will see you are business savvy.
- Tell her also you would like the opportunity to see her again and be her regular therapist – she will love the fact you want her to be part of it.
- Explain the booking system you are looking to have in place – You’d love it if you could book clients in for the recommended time and appropriate treatment to suit their needs and to be able to offer the very best results possible. You also want a system based on loyalty and reward. Explain to her a fantastic new regime you have for new clients whereby they get rewarded for booking their next appointment. This could be an instant small gift, a 50% off voucher for a friend, or an increasing scale discount card for themselves enabling them to get more money off the more times they come back. Offer her the opportunity to cancel with no worries and explain the real reason why and how you really want her to book now – it’s easier for your booking system, you’re building up your business and it is going to be the best way for you and her to meet together. The point is, whatever is the truth. She will appreciate your honesty and if she feels she can cancel at anytime there is no risk to her. There is no need to go through the pantomime of you asking her to rebook because it’s in her best interest to do so. Give her something extra to make it in her best interest and be also be open to telling her it’s in your best interest too – business-wise… She already knows this so just be upfront. Your not there to hide the fact you are a businesswoman as well as a therapist, so show her how good you are at business as well.
Close the visit with confidence and pride.
That’s it. Case closed. You will most probably 99% get a re-booking if you follow the above. There were no wasted words and she will have seen you for the fantastic business woman you are.
What you have to remember is that the next client waiting is already getting a show. This is what closing the visit with confidence and pride is all about – the next client, who is waiting for you. She is now the one getting a show. She will see and hear in full view you confidently coming out off your treatment room, smiling at your happy client- the one just before her, and she will see you re-confirming the date you have re-booked your previous client for.
What a show! Great advertising right there!
How do you manage client retention and re-bookings in your spa?
Have you tried any of the above methods or do you have any little known secret helpfulness to share?
What are your thoughts on trying any of the above?
Please comment below.