Industry • Best Practice
You're Not Investing in Client Experience? Your Competitors Are
May.24.2023By Boulevard Staff
Beauty professionals need to invest in the client experience to keep up with their competition
The self-care industry has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years, with an increasing number of businesses vying for a share of the market. As the self-care industry becomes increasingly competitive, clients have more choices than ever before. With a plethora of options at their fingertips, their expectations have risen, and they now demand personalized, convenient, and high-quality experiences. One way to give them what they want — and set yourself apart from the competition — is by focusing on delivering an exceptional level of client experience.
Client Experience versus customer service
Client experience refers to the entire journey your clients go through when interacting with your self-care business – from the moment they first learn about your brand to their post-appointment interactions. It's about creating a positive and memorable experience that makes clients feel valued, understood, and eager to return.
Customer service, on the other hand, refers to the assistance and support provided to clients during specific transactions or interactions. While customer service is a crucial aspect of the overall client experience, it is just one of many touchpoints that contribute to client experience as a whole.
A top-notch client experience helps set your business apart from other self-care businesses, creating loyal clients and positive word of mouth in the process. Satisfied clients are more likely to return for repeat business and recommend your services to others, too, making it an even more worthwhile endeavor.
How to enhance the client experience
An exceptional level of client experience begins with an understanding of your clients' unique needs, preferences, frustrations, and pain points. As an exercise, think through every way a client interacts with your business, then ask yourself, how could this be made to feel more special? This includes everything from offering customized treatment plans, to using client data to create personalized marketing campaigns, to addressing clients by their names and using correct pronouns during interactions. Every way your beauty business interacts with a client is fair game for improvement.
Start off on the best foot by making it easy for clients to find, purchase, and use your services, with seamless booking processes and flexible options that cater to their lifestyles. Offer online booking, multiple payment options, and extended hours to accommodate their schedules. Ensure that every interaction with your brand – from website browsing to in-person visits – is consistent in terms of quality, messaging, and design. This creates a cohesive brand image and reinforces your brand identity in the minds of your clients. It also sends a message of consistency and confidence, which builds trust: the foundation of all successful long-term business relationships.
Keep clients informed and engaged through regular, relevant, and timely communication, using their preferred channels. Engagement can come in many forms: social media posts and comments, emails, texts. Use available data to calculate retention so that you better understand what kind of marketing approach is likely to produce your desired results. Don’t overlook the human element, however. If you only get in touch with your clients when you’re hoping they’ll book an appointment or buy something, you’ll teach them to tune you out unless they need your services. Outreach can include sending appointment reminders, sharing promotions, and providing useful self-care tips — and no-one ever got mad at a surprise cat video in their inbox.
Invest in training your staff to be knowledgeable, empathetic, and responsive to clients' needs. Their interactions are a crucial touchpoint in the client experience journey, so put in the time to get them right. Encourage ongoing professional development and create a supportive work environment that fosters employee satisfaction — a happy team helps build the dream.
Don’t wait for complaints or a drop in bookings to re-evaluate your client experience. Instead, actively seek client feedback and use it to identify areas of improvement. Implement changes based on suggestions and consistently monitor and adjust your strategies to ensure you're meeting and exceeding expectations.
Boulevard Education Managers Skya Jones and Jozlyn Miller explored these concepts in their talk, “Creating a Meaningful Client Experience” at Premiere Anaheim. Check it out here:
How technology can deliver better client experiences
Technology has become an indispensable tool in enhancing client experience in the self-care industry. While person-to-person interactions will always be the core of the client experience, leveraging technology can enhance them in myriad ways.
For example, your booking process will be one of the first elements of client experience to make an impression. While there’s nothing wrong with pen-and-paper logs per se, integrating your booking system with your website and social media platforms streamlines the process in a highly client-friendly way. They can make appointments on their time, as they’re browsing the fabulous looks on your Instagram account, or even as they stare at themselves during a Zoom call.
Technology can also make it much easier to leverage social media and email marketing campaigns, enabling easier communication with clients. There’s a lot of value in sharing informative content, as consistently posting relevant and high-quality content can help position your business as an authority in the self-care industry, driving client loyalty and trust.
Once you’ve attracted a client, technology can help with the customization aspects of the client experience arc. Utilize customer relationship management (CRM) systems to gather and analyze client data, so that you can better understand and cater to their needs. CRM systems can help you track client preferences, purchase history, and communication preferences, facilitating a more personalized approach to marketing and service delivery. A simple example would be sending a reminder email or text to clients who regularly buy gift cards around Mother’s Day, but the potential for personalization is nearly endless, depending on the information you gather about your clients’ preferences.
Measuring the success of your client experience efforts
None of this matters if you don’t make an effort to measure the success of your client experience, of course. Consider using the following metrics to track your progress:
Net Promoter Score (NPS): This metric gauges client loyalty by asking clients how likely they are to recommend your business to others. A high NPS indicates strong client satisfaction and loyalty.
Client retention rate: Monitor the percentage of clients who return to your business for repeat services. Also make note of whether they branch out or stick to the same service every time; happier clients tend to be willing to try new things.
Average transaction value: Track the average amount spent by clients and the total revenue generated over the course of their relationship with your business. These metrics can help you understand the financial impact of your client experience efforts.
Client feedback: Collect qualitative feedback through surveys, reviews, and direct communication to gain insights into what clients like and dislike about their experience with your business.
Focusing on personalization, convenience, consistency, communication, employee training, and leveraging technology will help your business create memorable and positive experiences that foster client loyalty and drive growth. Continuously measuring your efforts and refining your strategies will ensure you remain at the forefront of the industry, delivering exceptional client experiences and standing out from the competition.