Industry • Best Practice
How Technology Supports the Send-Off Stage of the Client Experience
Aug.07,2023By Boulevard Staff
Checking out clients is the perfect opportunity to build loyalty and foster retention
From the initial booking and appointment prep to the check-in process and completion of services, technology supports self-care business owners throughout the first four stages of the client experience — and continues to play an important role in the next step. Though the client’s time in your salon may be winding down by the send-off stage, that doesn’t mean your work is done. In fact, the check-out process offers organic opportunities to further deepen your relationships with clients, provided you have the right tools at your disposal. Here’s how the right tech stack ensures that everyone who steps foot in your shop has a productive send-off, laying the groundwork for repeat visits and increased revenue.
Why the send-off stage matters
Which stage of the client experience do you think will be the most memorable? You might be tempted to say it’s the service portion, but the recency effect dictates that people typically remember the facts and impressions they’ve encountered most recently. This means that once a client leaves your salon, what’s going to be top-of-mind is the last thing they did there, also known as the send-off stage. If something goes wrong during those final minutes of an appointment, such as payment processing not working or an aggressive attempt at a retail add-on, it’s more likely to stick in the client’s mind, even if all the other aspects of the visit went smoothly.
To avoid leaving a negative impression and damaging your brand’s reputation, make sure your staff is trained to treat the send-off as an equally important step of the overall client experience. This is also the moment that unexpected gestures can have the most lasting impact, so be thoughtful about it. Take a cue from Facial Lounge and offer a branded glass water bottle to clients who got a facial, or pass off a lollipop to a freshly coiffed kid. Whatever you do, the goal is to leave your clients with the thought that your salon or spa goes the extra mile to make them feel special. That thoughtfulness only goes so far, however; you’ll also need to make sure your salon software is up to the task.
Must-have service features
Convenient payment options
There’s nothing more awkward than making your way to the checkout desk and realizing the salon doesn’t accept your preferred form of payment. If your business is still only accepting cash and credit cards, you’re falling behind; 51% of American adults now use contactless payments, with this type of spending expected to double by 2026. To meet client expectations and prepare for an increasingly contactless future, ensure that your POS offers a seamless payment processing experience that supports tapping, dipping, and swiping. As an added bonus for your team, modern point-of-sale systems make it easy to add a tip with just a touch of a screen, no math needed.
So the client has paid and so far the send-off stage is going smoothly — what’s next? For many services, return visits are warranted every few weeks, so take this opportunity to set up that next appointment. Rebooking is crucial in the self-care industry, as it helps drive additional business and ensure adequate staffing for busier periods. Like payment processing, however, this step has to work flawlessly; while you’re digging around your digital calendar trying to find an open slot, your client is quickly losing interest. Your scheduling software should be able to unearth ideal rebooking spots while taking into account any processing time that needs to be considered. As a result, your clients should walk out the door not only looking (and feeling) fabulous but knowing exactly when they’ll be back.
A personal touch
Just about every demographic responds well to personalization, but this is especially true for Millennials and Generation Z. In a self-care environment, this means remembering each client’s service and purchase history, as well as any other relevant details that could affect their satisfaction with your business. Of course, asking your team to memorize your entire clientele’s personal preferences isn’t realistic, which is where technology comes in. Comprehensive, automatically updated client profiles show stylists and technicians everything they need to know about each individual that walks into your business, making them feel special.
This also comes into play during the send-off stage, as it’s the perfect time to make retail recommendations. For clients to feel like you’re being helpful and not just trying to make a sale, your recommendations need to be perfectly tailored to their specific needs. Before making any product suggestions, check each client’s history and see what opportunities arise organically; for example, if the client last bought shampoo three months ago, that means it’s time to ask if they’re running out and would they like to get some more?
In order to stand out from the competition and deliver the top-tier experiences that keep clients coming back, convenience and personalization are key. Treat the send-off stage with as much importance as every other part of the appointment and leverage all of the technology at your disposal to nurture long-term loyalty.