Industry • Best Practice
Data to Delight: Leveraging Client Profiles to Create Bespoke Client Experiences
Sep.28,2023By Boulevard Staff
Ethically sourced client info and thorough reporting can make every client feel understood and catered to
You may not know it, but you already have the most important tool for personalizing client experiences: data. When clients share their personal information with your business, they give you the chance to meet their needs more fully than any competitor possibly could. That equips your providers to offer a service worth recommending and helps ensure clients keep coming back for more.
From marketing, through booking, and into the in-shop experience, there are plenty of ways client data can make your service special for each client. Here’s how.
Why is personalization important?
Businesses have more access to consumer data than ever before. That’s allowed them to deliver marketing and experiences more precisely than ever, but it’s also led to a corresponding rise in consumer expectations. One poll by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company shows that 71% of consumers expect personalized interactions with businesses. And if that personalization falls short? More than three-quarters (76%) of consumers feel frustrated. Consumers now expect service and product recommendations, targeted promotions, personally addressed communications, and more.
Luckily, these expectations create an opportunity for beauty businesses. If you can go the extra mile in catering to client preferences, you have the chance to inspire loyalty among your client base. That’s critically important, as client acquisition costs have increased almost 50% in the past five years. It can even lead to new clients, as those you impress tell their friends about the experience. When 92% of consumers say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations above all other forms of advertising, the potential for well-executed personalization becomes hard to overstate. According to McKinsey, it can lead to a 10-20% increase in revenue for brick-and-mortar businesses.
How should I collect client data?
How do we put this knowledge into practice? It begins by collecting client data in ways that are both ethical and comfortable for clients. There’s a fine line between feeling catered to and feeling tracked, and it’s vital your efforts stay on one side of that line. First-party data — that is, data you collect from a client’s history with your business — will always be your best bet.
Booking presents your first chance to learn about your clients. It provides a natural opportunity to ask them for basic information: What are their pronouns? When’s their birthday? How old are they? Many clients will be happy to offer this information. Asking for an email address is also standard fare, especially with self-booking. For even more detailed data, consider using intake forms. ‘Cure Studios, in Austin, TX, does this to great effect, using Boulevard’s booking software to ask clients personalized questions that will help custom tailor their experience at the salon. “Clients feel very seen and really appreciated. You get a lot of comments like, ‘I love that you ask my favorite song, or I love that you ask this or that you ask that,’” says ‘Cure co-founder Rachel Daily.
For 69% of consumers, as long as they’ve shared their data with a business, they’re happy when it’s used for personalization. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you include promotional offers tied to filling out these data points. Consider offering single-use discounts to clients who provide their phone numbers or teasing birthday promotions for those willing to share theirs.
With good booking and client management software, this info can all be stored in a client profile for easy reference. But the best software will automatically pull the data clients put into intake forms and use it to populate a corresponding client profile. That’s exactly what Boulevard’s new Connected Fields feature does, and it helps save you and your team time when gathering client info, charting, and reporting. Boulevard’s forms and client profiles are also HIPAA-compliant, making them an easy way to up efficiency at salons and medspas alike. Click here to learn more.
Once a client comes into the shop, they’re likely to share more about their life over the course of their visit. Providers may learn about a client’s favorite music, what they like to drink, what products they prefer, or if they like cats more than dogs. Providers can then make a note of these details in the client profile. All of this data helps build a thorough understanding of the client that can improve both marketing and in-shop experiences. How? Well, funny you should ask…
How do I use data to personalize client experiences?
Analyzing client data
The first step in meeting and exceeding client expectations is understanding clients. Once you’ve collected enough data, you can use reporting software to pore over client profiles and habits for patterns. Which clients tend to book the same treatments? Which ones book at the last second? Which ones spend the most on the average visit? Break these trends out into smaller segments, and make as many meaningful segments as you can. The more granular your segments, the more precisely you can personalize your offerings.
Create marketing campaigns
That personalization starts with marketing. Each segment you create will respond to different marketing efforts. For example, last-minute bookers may appreciate a text blast highlighting slots that cancelations have freed up. Frequent clients of a particular stylist may respond to an email with openings for that stylist. By tying your marketing to specific client habits, you can better serve their needs and make them feel understood.
This is also true for other kinds of personalized marketing. Take the time to automate marketing that’s tied to milestones from each client’s profile. If you have a birthday on file, consider sending them a gift or a promotion around the date. If a stylist hears about an upcoming anniversary, a congratulatory promotion may be in order. And, of course, you should reward client loyalty. If someone’s come in consistently over the course of a year, a promo can ensure they keep coming back for another.
In all your communications, be sure to address each client by their preferred name. Simple automations can make this easy to do at scale.
Elevate the experience
Of course, personalization goes beyond marketing. To put a bow on a client’s experience, you’ll need to show them that same level of personal understanding when they’re at your business. That starts during booking. A sophisticated booking software will remember custom pricing or durations for your clients, so they’re presented with a personalized experience when they return. You can even automate suggestions for additional services or products that may interest them. These can make booking smoother and more fun for clients while simultaneously upping their average tickets.
When clients arrive for their appointments, your providers become the most important part of the personalization experience. They must be equipped with the information they need to cater to each client’s every whim. Here is where notes stored in the client’s profile become so important. By quickly perusing that profile, the provider can learn about any allergies, what music to play, what they talked about last time that merits following up, what kinds of products they prefer, and anything else they need to show the client they care. That leaves clients primed to come back for more personalized pampering.
Client expectations for personalization may be at an all-time high, but beauty businesses have all the tools required to meet those expectations. Data analysis and attention to detail are all it takes to delight your clients, and robust client profiles are your key to success.