Not having client retention tactics in place is like having a boat with a hole in it that you just keep pouring water into. What is your spa's client retention rate?
You’ve gone through a lot of trouble to create a wonderful spa environment. Your spa is beautifully decorated, your staff is well-trained, and your marketing plan is bringing in new clients. It costs a lot to keep that cycle going. Did you ever think about how you could offset those costs if you could improve the retention rate of your existing clients?
Think about how the mobile phone companies have all of those great offers for NEW clients. Yet you have paid them a huge chunk of change every month for the last five years, and what do you get for that? Pretty much nothing. Your spa’s clients may be feeling the same way, unappreciated. Especially in a spa environment, where building a rapport with guests is key to success, there must be a plan in place to keep guests returning to your spa, instead of to the numerous competitors that you may have.
First thing to do is have a plan to welcome new guests into your “family,” and make them feel special. Your spa software should allow you to flag appointments of new guests in a particular way, but unless your staff is aware and taking action, nothing will happen. Train everyone, not just customer service staff, to take special care of new guests; show them around the facility, go out of your way to say hello, smile, ask if they need anything. Use their name as often as possible and appropriately.
When the new guest checks-out, your retention-building efforts should swing into action. Studies have shown that the likelihood that a guest will continue to do business with you increases exponentially on and after their third visit to the facility. A yoga studio that I frequent has this down to a science; at the conclusion of the first class that a new student completes, they are presented with an envelope with their name on it, containing information on the studio, the class schedule, and a voucher that allows them to take unlimited classes for the ensuing week for a set price of $25 (regular drop-in rate is $17). For cost-conscious consumers, like the friend that I brought with me last week, that is a compelling deal.
My friend went back the next day, and will go again within the week, and therefore she is much more likely to continue to frequent the studio. The key is striking while the iron is hot. For spas, a similar offer would be to give new guests a voucher for a promotionally-priced service on their next visit, and perhaps an even larger promotion on a service or retail item for the third visit – and those next two visits should be within a six-week period.
A client who visits the spa three times in a year doesn’t help the business as much as someone who comes three times in two months, so make sure you put an end-date on promotions.
After that first visit, when the client has been welcomed into the spa family, be sure to add their email address to your database, after getting their permission. Let them know that you only send a monthly newsletter with special promotions for existing clients only, and that you never share your list, and you should not have trouble getting them to participate.
Loyalty or rewards programs are another excellent way to encourage clients to consolidate their purchasing with your spa business. Let them earn points for each purchase, whether services or products; 10 or 100 points to the dollar spent is typical. Look at what a “good” client spends in a year, and set a threshold for redemption of those points, say, after they’ve amassed 7000 points, which would likely be after about six visits. You can also use the points as leverage to encourage specific behaviors; double points on Tuesdays, or for appointments before 11am, for example.
When the guest checks out the first day, with their Welcome Bundle, that is the time to ask them if you can book their next treatment before they leave your spa. Pre-booking is an activity that can also carry reward points to encourage participation, and it develops that beneficial habit in your guest.
Social media provides the perfect way to continue a dialogue with your guests, well after their service has been rendered; frequent posts or polls on Facebook, compelling imagery or recipes on Pinterest, and fun photos of happenings at the spa on Instagram keep guests engaged at the level that they choose; just be sure not to inundate them.
You’ve heard the statistics; it costs 7 to 8 times more to snare a new client than it does to keep an existing one. Imagine if every client you serviced in a week made a return appointment; you would be able to put a lot less money and energy into prospecting for new clients. This is doubly beneficial, since “regular” clients know how it works at your spa. They do not need a lot of hand-holding or client care, and so, not only do they bring in more revenue but they cost you less, as well.
If you put some of these efforts into place throughout your spa, you will certainly see a client retention rate that is steadily increasing, along with your bottom line.
About the Author
Lisa Starr brings over 30 years of industry-specific experience as a consultant, educator and writer to Booker through GOtalk. Lisa also works for Wynne Business, a leading spa consulting and education company. Among other things, Lisa’s expertise lies in business operations and finances, sales and marketing, inventory management, human resource development, and business process improvement. She is a well-known speaker within the trade show circuit and is a frequent contributor to industryFollow on Google Plus Follow on Twitter More Content by Lisa Starr