Because you're worth it

Three expert tips to keep competitive

In addition to the spa-next-door, spa owners face competition from at-home options. They're convenient, sometimes more cost-efficient and marketed as being at least as effective as professional treatments. They come in all forms from laser hair removal devices to gadgets that tighten skin and stimulate collagen.

While at-home options can complement a professional treatment or service, they shouldn't be a substitute. "Ideally, you're looking for a professional treatment that you can enjoy in the spa and then have a home-care item—whether it's a product or equipment—that you can use to maintain that professional result," says Melinda Minton, a spa and beauty consultant and executive director of The Spa Association. So how do you keep your clients coming back and not turning to other methods of care? Read on.

Emphasize your expertise
"The first step is knowledge," says Minton. Continuously educate your staff on trends and new technological developments. "That's one of the best ways I know to keep people coming back because they know they can't find that anywhere else, or they can't find that kind of quality anywhere else."

Demonstrate what you provide to clients that they can't do for themselves. "In a professional environment, the staff is trained to assess and provide specific, properly tailored diagnosis to each individual," says Jeanet Allinson, owner and proprietor of Jeanet Spa in Toronto.

Service, service, service
Whether at the reception area or during a treatment, great service makes a spa standout. However, providing great service isn't easy. It must be consistent and can come down to miniscule details such as offering a beverage and a friendly smile.

Minton recommends knowing all about the client including what their last treatment was and the date of their next appointment. "A part of it is talking to them during the service about what you're doing, how they will maintain those results at home, and what you'll need to see them for next," says Minton.

Inspire loyalty
Create customer loyalty by combining consistent and excellent service with appreciation, says Allinson. You can do this by recognizing birthdays, special occasions, and rewarding clients when they refer their friends and family to your spa.

For Sandra Alexcae Moren, a spa consultant, author, and professional speaker with Kyron Spa & Salon Consulting, the key lies in caring. In order to care about your client, aestheticians must put their lives and personal problems aside when they enter the spa environment. "You can't bring it with you because your mind isn't there on your work," says Moren. Clients can sense if you are with them and if you care, or if you are just going through the motions and trying to product push at the end. Part of inspiring loyalty means building your clients' trust. "How can you have trust in someone who isn't with you there in the moment?" asks Moren.

While the industry changes as often as a teenager changes her polish and competition comes from all angles, Allinson remains positive. "At the end of the day, no matter if your services are offered at a discounted rate or not, one cannot deny when they have received excellent service."



by Julia Teeluck | Fall 2012