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Good Customer Service is Always a Good Idea

By Carmelina Karas

I’ve heard it said that good customer service is hard to find – but it shouldn’t be. If you ask yourself what type of interactions you have enjoyed with other businesses, do any of them have to do with their customer service department? You may be surprised to know that even if your job title has no mention of the phrase, this article still applies to you. Do you work with your clients face-to-face? Do you handle customers over the phone? Are the only people you speak to during the day your co-workers? No matter whom you interact with, good customer service is always a good idea. Here are some tips that may change a negative experience into a positive one.

Mind Your Manners
Whether you were taught by family, school or another authority figure, chances are you were instructed to say “please”, “thank you”, and “you’re welcome”. Think back to a time when someone thanked you – I bet it felt good to be appreciated. Clients enter your business with an expectation that they will be treated as a welcomed guest. They may be there to purchase a treatment, product or just learn more. Without them, you wouldn’t have a business so why not make them feel appreciated. A simple please before a request showcases a level of respect that you have for the other person. The same applies for over the phone and email conversations. Manners go a long way.

That Little Extra Step
Have you ever been presented with additional information or a problem that has nothing to do with your business? A client has come in for a treatment after a stressful day and mentions their daughter is moving and they are trying to coordinate the rental truck. Maybe you remember seeing a discount code for a local company or know a reputable mover. Why not mention it to them rather than just being empathetic to their stress. Another client had to cut back their product purchases because their basement flooded yet has run out of their cleanser. You know that in just one week a promotion will be coming up and tell your client that you can apply the discount code early to help them out. These scenarios may not apply to you, but thinking of ways to make their lives easier can create a big difference in client retention and overall satisfaction.

Optimism Is Key
Everyone loves seeing smiling, happy faces when they enter a store or business. Whether you are at the beginning of your shift or the end of a long day, each client deserves a positive and welcoming attitude. Is your job primarily over the phone? Smile while talking and you may diffuse a sticky situation. The customer will be able to hear it in your voice! If a customer enters with a problem, remember they came to you for a solution rather than just posting a bad review online. Even if you are not able to provide them with the remedy they are expecting, keeping a humble approach with a listening ear, rather than going on the defensive, can create a better outcome.

We are all customer service providers, no matter our job title or description. At the end of the day, each team member is a representative of the company’s brand. Use these tips to create an environment that customers can’t wait to step back into.

Navigating The Hiring Process – And Succeeding!

By Carmelina Karas

As a Spa Owner or Manager, you have a lot to think about. There is the day-to-day operations, communicating with suppliers and customers, and making sure all equipment and tools are in working order. Sometimes it may feel that you are doing the job of more than one person and that it is time to find some help.

This is where things get interesting. You contact local esthetic or wellness training programs related to the field you are looking for, put out an employment ad on LinkedIn, Monster or Indeed, and start asking friends and family if they know someone qualified for the role. But wait, you can’t just hire anyone. They need to have a sufficient level of experience, be able to fit into the current company culture and develop a level of trust with you since they are now representing your brand.

Here are some tips for navigating this process and finding the right fit. Just a note before we begin – the specifics of the role may vary but these guidelines should help get you started.

  1. The Job Description – When qualified candidates are reading through your description, it should accurately portray a company that they will be excited to work for. Does it give a clear company background and/or mission statement? Are the Roles and Responsibilities clearly outlined? Are the qualifications reasonable and attainable for the level of the position? Do you state benefits of working for your company – even if it’s just a place to learn and grow and an encouraging work environment? Make sure you stand out and there are not questions as to what you are looking for.
  2. The Interview – Try to hold back any pre-conceived notions of the candidate’s background, including work ethic and history, until you are able to speak to them over the phone or in person. Make sure your questions are opening up the conversation for more than just “yes” or “no” answers. Let the candidate explain any gaps in their resume and positions that may not be aligned with the current role they are applying for. Remember, you are hiring the person, not their resume.
  3. The Background Check – Some companies feel that this extra step isn’t needed. After all, what candidate is going to provide a reference contact for someone that doesn’t think highly of them? In actuality, the types of questions you ask should be carefully selected to draw out information that they may not be ready for. There are some great lists of questions online for helping with this process. Make sure to confirm the information given on the resume and during the interview. Two good questions to ask are, “What was this candidate’s reason for leaving?” and “If you had the chance to hire them again, would you?” If the candidate truly is as great as they seem, then those questions should be a breeze.
  4. The Offer – Putting together an offer that is fair for both parties, as well as aligned with the Employment Standards Act, can be trickier than it seems. If you have always written your own contracts, then the new employment laws put in place in January 2018 may throw you for a loop. If this candidate will be a valuable asset to your team, spend a small amount of money for an employment lawyer to make sure the contract is binding, that there is an accurate termination/dismissal clause, and that employee responsibilities and privileges are clear. There is nothing worse than realizing you now owe someone money because of a clerical error.

Following these general guidelines should help narrow down the extensive pool of candidates to find the right fit. When you find that person, these tips will help you succeed during on-boarding and should provide a smooth and professional experience for your new staff member. Happy Hiring!

Pinning for Business

By: Keri LaPlante

Hearing the word Pinterest makes my heart flutter. I sign in and am instantly happy. My boards offer inspiration on what to wear for the day, help with dinner, and info on how to work-off that same meal. My pins portray my best self. The self I would be if money and time were unlimited. I have on many occasions spent hours flicking through images of delightful treats, decorating options, crafts, and clothes.

But what does this mean for your business? It means access to thousands of happy consumers who use this site to share their likes and find others with similar tastes. I was shocked when a friend who works in social media said, “I don’t know why everyone thinks businesses should be on Pinterest.” “Why not?” I say! Pinterest isn’t like Facebook and Twitter. Users go to this site solely to pin things they like. If you, as a business, can capture the essence of your brand through Pinterest boards, think of all the exposure you can gain.

So how do you start? First you have to know your brand and what you want to accomplish with your Pinterest account. Create goals you want to reach. Create boards that your clients will find useful and that represent what you want people to think of when contemplating your spa. Pinterest is not meant for self-promotion, so don’t just start pinning products/services/pictures from your spa.

Food boards are always good, or go with something generic like ‘What We Like.’ That way you can start pinning and get more specific as you see what works. If your spa does hair, make-up or nails, you can do boards that incorporate these themes. Really, anything goes, just remember to keep your brand in mind as you pin. This isn’t what you personally like; it’s what most represents your spa. You can also find pins throughout the web and pin them with the ‘Pin It’ button. What way, you’re helping to build the community.

Once you’ve established yourself on Pinterest you can include pins with products or services that lead users back to your blog or website. Pinterest is not intended for peddling your goods, so if you do this incorrectly or too often, people will see what you’re up to and stop following. One way to ensure you’re not coming off too sales-y (that’s a technical term) is to pin valuable content. Don’t advertise by posting products or services you’re trying to sell, instead post a recipe used at your spa or tips on skin care between spa visits.

Now it’s my turn to endorse our content, but hopefully in a useful way. For inspiration to help you get going take a look at Spa Inc.’s Pinterest page.

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That’s me (and my neck tattoo) working away at the office on Spa Inc.’s Pinterest page.

5 Tips to Enhance an Online Presence

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By Keri LaPlante

           MagNet is a big conference held for Canadian magazine professionals and it just happened this past week. I didn’t need to attend the conference to know just how much social media has changed the face of business, but each course further reinforced this idea. All the inspiring projects I heard about made me wonder how this has affected the spa industry and whether or not most spas are keeping up with the trends. It’s definitely time consuming and doesn’t come cheap, but being online is crucial to businesses that partially rely on word-of-mouth for sales. And let’s face it, in this day and age what business isn’t affected by word-of-mouth. Here are some tips to think about when creating/reviewing your online presence.

  1. It’s not only important for you to have a website so people can find you online, it’s also essential to have a good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy. Include keywords in your website and blog set-up, so that when people search for a spa in your area, there you are. Make sure your site architecture is working effectively to ensure that spa goers get exactly what they need and then some.
  1. The more people can interact with your brand, the more likely they will want to visit your establishment. People want to get an idea of their experience. I am always shocked when a spa doesn’t have a website or their website doesn’t have pictures of their facilities. A picture says a thousand words and will bring business through the door.
  1. If you’re on social media, make sure you have a strategy. Start by finding your audience and learning the lay of the land, so to speak. Listen to the tone of the conversations and how your brand is seen, if it is mentioned at all. Check out the competition and the industry in general.
  1. Create specific goals for your social media efforts, so you can measure your progress and make adjustments where necessary. And, don’t forget to provide something of value to your audience; social media is not about shameless self-promotion.
  1. Be authentic. Be creative, try new things and don’t be afraid to fail.