Operations

End of Year Thoughts — Love Thy Client

Posted on December 1, 2007 by LCT Staff - Also by this author

There is “customer service” and then there is “client worship.” Client-love is one very quick route to being successful in this industry, and there are many ways to worship.

For instance, clients come to a spa to feel different. Are you surprised? They are stressed at work. Their teenagers are doing that hormonal thing. Their carpets need cleaning. Their car still has a crack in the windshield and they need a break! It is the job of the spa professional to “take them away,” as Calgon would say, and transfer their thoughts to a more peaceful alpha state.

The following are some of my favorite methods:

Make That Client Feel Like They Are Your Only Client Lifting your clients to new levels requires focusing only on them. Upon first contact, make sure you and your employees call your clients by name. Make sure your chauffeurs also go beyond the “How are you?” greeting and customize it with something like, “Mr. Smith, let me be of help to you.” Or, “May I offer some special music for you or refreshment?” (Yes, that means keeping a thermos of hot coffee in the front seat for mornings and beyond-the-bottled-water for afternoons). Do whatever it takes to make them feel like you are offering them a rolling spa. (Hey, how about a neck pillow and some mixed nuts to make them feel like they’re in First Class.)

The romance doesn’t end at the completion of the trip. Make sure your chauffeurs escort clients to the door and shake their hand and tell them something unique such as, “On behalf of XYZ we hope that we made the last leg of your journey a pleasant one.” Your ability to care for and fall deeply in like with clients is one very important element of the service that you provide.

There is an old saying that you have to spend money to make money. When I enjoy working with a client, I always go out of my way to thank them verbally, with thoughtful notes, and oftentimes with gifts. The theory is that this karmic insurance pays back, with interest. Many say that your initial investment will be returned to you at least 10 times over within a year.

One operator told me that to thank clients who were good with referrals or were simply great clients, he would send a care basket. His average basket would cost around $15-$25, however, the client was so surprised to receive this personal and unexpected treat that he would go out of his way to sing the company’s praises. On average, the return on investment for one gift basket was over $6,500 in one year.

Don’t Forget About Your Base In a kamikaze effort to get new clients, we sometimes forget about the old ones. I make it a habit to re-thank-you on a quarterly basis. Thank those clients who have been with you for years by letting them know that you appreciate their referrals. Have client appreciation parties. Gather your favorite six clients for wine and cheese and do a mini focus group with them. In another life, I did this on a quarterly basis. Typically, I would throw a bash around the holidays. It was an elegant, catered affair and was absolutely worthwhile. Old clients who had fallen out of habit would come and new clients would bring their friends.

Remember, your clients are your business. Without a clientele, you are not in business. No matter how wonderful you and your company are, you have to provide over-the-top, better than world-class customer service. You simply must drown your clients in everything wonderful!

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