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5 ways to improve the guest experience in your spa, wellness center or salon

As the wellness industry booms and new spas and salons pop up left and right, customers are faced with an increasing number of options when it comes to taking a soothing break. So how do you set your establishment apart from the rest? The answer is simple, yet hard to execute: focus on creating great customer experiences. Research has shown that investing in customer service makes sense for your business. When products or services delivered with competence, not only are customers more likely to return: they are also happy to spend more money. Plus, of course, happy customers tend to talk to friends and family about their great experiences: according to research by American Express, satisfied customers tell an average of nine people about the good service they received.

Here are five tips to help you create the optimal atmosphere for your spa

1. Make guests feel welcome

First impressions matter. Do guests who walk into your business see a welcoming, relaxing space, with a smiling employee greeting them “good morning”? Or do they encounter a tired space occupied by a bored staff member who couldn’t care less if the customer stays or leaves? Train your employees to be friendly and welcoming, and make sure they always display a helpful attitude: people come to your establishment to relax and feel better, so this is not the right place for distant or fast-paced service. Small gestures, such as offering a glass of water with lemon and mint to your guests as they take off their coat, can go a long way when it comes to creating the right atmosphere.

2. Make booking easy (and accurate)

Too many health clubs still think they do not need an electronic system to take care of reservations, and rely instead on good old pen and paper. Well, at least they must be saving money, right? Wrong. When you don’t have a system to manage appointments, it’s very easy to make costly errors that will disappoint and annoy your customers, such as accidentally double-booking a massage therapist. Not using an electronic reservation system also means that you will waste a lot of time in manual work – for example double-checking all information when the time comes to pay your employees who work on commission. Not to mention all the money wasted on needlessly complicated accounting! Invest in a reservation system that enables you to take precise reservations easily, and that lets your guests book as they prefer, too. According to research by Coyle Hospitality, many spa customers want to be able to book treatments online. A software solution that allows customers to see real-time availability of your resources will improve the guest experience, and may also lead to additional revenue for you, as visibility of empty slots on the website or customer app may motivate customers to book a last-minute treatment.

3. Be available on all channels

Modern consumers look for information on you and your products online long before they come to your establishment. An online presence is therefore crucial. Today, more people visit websites on their mobile phone than on any other device – so make sure that your website is responsive, and performs as well on mobile devices as on desktop computers. Don’t underestimate the importance of an active social media presence. Create a page on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, and don’t forget to keep it always updated and fresh with interesting articles and active promotions. Social media is not a one-way communication channel: you must be there for your customers, and answer all their questions and comments, no matter if they come during the night, via e-mail, or as a tweet. If you don’t, you risk looking aloof and uninterested in your guests. Gone are the days when it was enough to answer the phone and smile at guests entering your threshold: customer engagement is now a 24-hour, all-channel activity.

4. Reward loyal customers

You have probably heard this before: it’s seven times more expensive for a business to obtain a new customer than to keep an existing one. Not only is it costly to reach the right people with advertising; existing customers are also more likely to try multiple products than new customers, and generally end up spending more money at their favorite businesses. According to a research by Bain & Company, if you manage to increase customer retention rates by just 5 percent you can actually grow your profits 25 percent up to 95 percent! So how do you turn customers into regulars? A loyalty program can help. Loyalty programs are relatively inexpensive to set up, and can give great results, giving your guests an incentive to return while also providing you with insights into your most loyal customers’ habits and preferences. And after a while, you can use the knowledge you have acquired through the program to improve your offering and make your guests happy with personalized promotions and perks.

5. Ask for feedback

There is no better way to show that you care than to actually listen to your customers’ opinion. Ask your guests for feedback, and if there is a problem, do not ignore it! Just by answering a complaint, and making sure they feel heard, you may be able to keep a customer. A study from Maritz and Evolve24 found that 83 percent of people who had made a complaint, and received a reply by the company, considered themselves satisfied by the simple fact that they got a response – even when their problem had not been solved. A Coop supermarket in Switzerland was shocked to discover that their most loyal fans were not shoppers that had never had problems, but customers who had made a complaint, and had their problems solved. Don’t hesitate to enroll friends and family to help you audit your guest experience: are your standards consistent throughout? Is anything amiss? Where can you improve?   If the service in your spa is subpar, it won’t matter how varied your offering of treatments, or how updated your equipment. After all, the only thing better than spending some relaxing me-time at a spa is spending some relaxing me-time at a spa where people are friendly, welcoming, and genuinely happy to have you as a customer.

Written by Giada Pezzini – LS Retail