People • Best Practice
Elevating Self-Care: Strategies for Building a Memorable Client Experience
Jul.11,2023By Boulevard Staff
Want to stand out in the sea of self-care businesses? Make every client feel like a million bucks
Self-care businesses are often tied to the whims of beauty and wellness trends (Shoutout to all the hair stylists out there, reinventing the mullet. Again.) which can make differentiation a challenge.
Aside from quality of service, what separates your business from the rest is the experience you provide to your clients. Even if you haven’t thought about client experience too much yet, chances are you’re already being judged by it. Carefully curating the best, most unique client experience helps you rise above the din in the buzzy world of self-care, control messaging around your business, and keep clients coming back for more. Before getting too into the weeds, let’s define what we mean by “client experience.”
Defining client experience for your self-care business
Client experience is the sum of a client’s perception of your business at every touch-point, including:
Booking their appointment
Communications about the upcoming service (e.g., appointment reminders and get-to-know-you forms)
Welcome and check-in
Send-off (executing upsells, check-out, and future appointments)
Nurture (reminders about upcoming services, events, promotions, and perks via email or socials)
In order to make each one of these interactions as smooth as possible, you’ll need to think about the tools you’ll use during each stage of the client journey, how each stage relates back to your business, and how it can be replicated for every client every time they interact with you or someone on your team.
Streamlining your client journey
To create an experience that resonates with your target client, you first need to know all the touch points they have with your business and work from there. This is why understanding your client journey is so important. When most people think about a client’s journey they are likely to focus on the basics: booking a client, providing a service, and processing payment. And while all of these are important, there are a lot of hidden aspects of the client journey that represent opportunities to stand out from the crowd and make clients want to come back for a second (or third or fourth time). Take a look at these customer journey mapping tools to help you figure out the steps in your own clients’ journey and then dive into these tips.
Make booking easy
Ever tried booking an appointment and given up? Maybe the website was not mobile-friendly, and you had to keep zooming in and out to complete a form (yuck). Or maybe you got stuck listening to bad on-hold music for half an hour. These are examples of terrible client experiences. Giving your clients the ability to self-book an appointment from their own device in an approachable, user-friendly way is the best way to make a great first impression. After all, the booking experience may determine whether or not you get their business at all. Your client experience platform should allow clients to book directly from a Google search page or your social media platforms, saving them a search and a click to your website. If a client does decide to make a phone call, make sure your team has a solid script that represents your brand while sounding warm and personable.
Get to know your clients before they get to your chair
Don’t make your clients fill out a paper form when they get to your salon. By the time they walk through the door, you should already have most of the information you need to speak to their individual concerns and suggest relevant products and services as add-ons. It also allows you to curate a personalized appointment and make the client feel like they are not just a number in your books, but a valued member of your brand community.
Having a client fill out a form beforehand eliminates redundant questions like, “Is this your first time here?” or “What are you looking to do today?” All that information should already be stored in the client’s profile through your client management platform. This helps you create a stronger connection with clients and provides you with valuable intel about enhancement opportunities that are a good fit for that particular client. In other words, it shows clients you care about them on a much less shallow scale than most businesses, which makes for a positive client experience.
Strive for a seamless check-in
The check-in and front desk experience should reflect your brand as well as the logistical realities of your salon. For example, you may give clients the option to self-check in right before their appointment. That way they can go straight to their professional’s station and settle in. This is a great option for smaller businesses that may not have the staff to manage a front desk. Or you may want to have the client check in with a receptionist, have a chat, and grab something to drink before they head to their appointment. Your front desk staff need to be professional and experts on chatting up all the services and products you offer without appearing sales-y (more on that in the next section).
Introduce clients to relevant add-ons and enhancements during service
Aside from being technically proficient, your team should be making good use of your client profiles all throughout the service. Have them use every opportunity they have to make the experience feel a bit more special and valuable by adding thoughtful upsells. For instance, if a client is having make-up done for a big work event, suggesting some tips and products for calming and soothing the skin after a long day is helpful both for the client and your sales. Small, thoughtful touches, like a card with a promo code for a client coming in for their birthday or complimentary drinks, are also a great way to make clients feel pampered in your chair beyond the service they’re paying for.
Send clients off on a high note
Ideally, the end of your client’s in-person experience should feel seamless and unrushed. Find a POS system that allows for “silent” gratuities — where the client can select their tipping option via your software without feeling pressured or rushed.
This stage is also a great time to recommend products related to upkeep and give the clients an opportunity to book their next appointment and/or join a loyalty program. If they expressed an interest in any products during their service, your front desk staff should have them waiting for the client at check-out.
Nurture all clients into repeat visits
Your conversation with a client is never over; once they booked an appointment with you, they are a part of your brand community, and thoughtful follow-ups to book their next appointment, reminders, and special promotions (Boulevard customers tell us that clients love birthday promos!). The easiest, most time-efficient marketing is the “set-it-and-forget-it” type — automated messages that contain personalized details but don’t require you or your team to spend time on writing emails. Your salon software platform should also allow you to track and analyze revenue and retention so you can forecast and adapt your marketing in a way that aligns with your business goals.
It’s a lot to wrap your head around, so for all the visual learners out there, you can watch a video presentation where we break down the client journey (and much more) in even more detail.
Curate your client’s journey through effective selling
While the point of any business is to sell a product or service, not all selling methods are created equal. With self-care businesses, focusing on client education is likely to result in a much better client experience (and more repeat visits). Make sure your team members are experts on the products they use, including how to use them, what the ingredients are, and which goals they can help clients achieve. Providing training to your team so they can in turn teach your clients to use your products creates a virtuous circle of profit for your business. Compensate high-performers and come up with creative ways to boost productivity by helping team members set sales targets for themselves each month in a supportive environment. When clients never feel sold to and know that the professionals they work with stand behind their products 100%, you are much more likely to get people back in your chair.
Protect and maintain your client experience
Keeping up a positive client experience requires setting the right expectations with your clients and staff. With appointment-based businesses, mishaps with scheduling affect how the rest of your business performs, with overbooked team members too busy to provide a specialized experience. Client no-shows also affect your bottom line and mess with your day-to-day. So, CYA with waivers and policies that clearly outline how cancellations work, and make sure you get credit cards on file during the booking process. It makes it easier for clients who plan to return, but also makes it easy for you to charge them should they knowingly violate any policies.
Remember that your client experience directly affects your revenue and helps create a positive environment for everyone who walks through your doors, whether they’re a client or an employee. For more tips on tailoring the practices outlined in this article to your brand, check out our Self-Care Client Experience Guide.