The Client Experience: It’s in the Details
The client experience begins when they first become aware we exist. Whether it’s from a simple internet search, a pop up on social media, or word of mouth, the client journey is worth dissecting.
Let’s map the client’s journey together so we can think about what might be working in our own scenarios.
The Booking Experience
There are multiple ways clients can book appointments these days; over the phone, online booking, social media, just to name a few.
For solo estheticians, it’s likely most of our bookings happen online. Therefore, it is important to make sure the booking process runs as seamless as possible:
- Services have descriptions that are informative and free from spelling and grammatical errors
- All booking buttons are functional
- Confirmation email is sent after booking
- Appointment reminders sent via email/text
- Your business contact information is available should they run into problems
Think about the frustration we’ve all had trying to schedule or order something online when it doesn’t work properly…we don’t want that to be our prospective client’s experience with us.
The exterior of your building or suite is just as important as the interior. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true! A client may not feel comfortable getting undressed or spending money in a place that looks shady. Go outside, take someone with you, and try to notice the aspects that you might overlook because you’re used to it. Weeds? Chipping paint? Trash? Those are all simple fixes. If you are in a suite inside a building focus on what you can do inside. Make sure your door or window is professionally labeled. The lobby or waiting area should be clean, and tidy. Having a bar area where clients can help themselves to water, coffee or other beverages is also a nice touch. Make sure to take advantage of the space with retail, and marketing materials.
The goal of the treatment room is to make it as comfortable as possible; to achieve that we must think about all 5 of our senses.
- Sight: Clients will unknowingly take an inventory of your space. It’s important to make sure it’s clean, surfaces are dust free, ceiling corners are cobweb free, and the floor is free from anything that may stick to the bottom of their feet.
- Touch: Blankets should be soft, beds should be warm during a facial, facial towels should be soft, and again, floors should be free from dirt and dust.
- Smell: This is so important, and I am a firm believer in the power of a signature scent. Have you ever been walking, and smelled something that instantly made you think of someone or a place? It’s totally possible to create this same experience for your client! Pick a signature scent, I suggest something natural, and stick with it!
- Hearing: Having soft music in the background and or a white noise machine will lend to a pleasant and relaxing experience. It also helps clients block out the real world.
It may seem obvious, but our behavior in the treatment room is also vitally important. I am always surprised by the lack of professionalism I experience during visits to spas.
- Keep conversations professional. As we get to know our clients, we can begin to loosen up and let our true personality shine. In the beginning, however, it’s important to err on the side of being conservative.
Practice proper sanitation: clients are always watching us!
Confirmations, reminders, thank yous
Sending clients a thank you email after treatment and continuing communication with clients via newsletters and updates is essential. We must keep ourselves in the minds of our clients. I recall a salon experience I had a few years ago. I was new to town and looking for a salon. I found one online that was close to my house, and I went and had my hair cut and colored. I spent a lot of money—more than I ever had on my hair. I was OK with it, as I was happy with the experience and results. Days and weeks passed, though, and I never heard from the stylist or salon. I thought, I spent hundreds of dollars there and am basically “fresh meat” being new to town. I felt they totally dropped the ball by not checking in with a quick email. I would have returned but didn’t based on that. Definitely a missed opportunity!
We must try to put ourselves in the shoes of our clients and think about what they see, from the time they first hear our name, until weeks after their appointment. Think about your own experiences with businesses and appointments. What went well, what didn’t? Not all are applicable, but there is usually one take-away. With the competition that exists, focusing on the total experience is what will separate us from the rest.