In the service industry, one fantastic experience will always be outweighed by subsequent subpar visits. At best, a customer may return to your spa or salon a couple of times in an attempt to relive that first glorious experience, but when they come up empty afterwards that initial experience will be viewed as an anomaly, and they'll take their business elsewhere. Does this create pressure on spa and salon owners, as well as their staff? It does. Service must be outstanding, and it must be consistently outstanding.
Do You Want To Confuse Your Customers?
Everyone's tried a new restaurant and had a superlative experience. Afterwards you post praise on social media, rave to your friends, and plan your next trip back. But everyone's also had that experience of returning with high expectations only to be disappointed by cold food or a discombobulated waiter. For the customer, this poses a dangerous question in their mind: which experience is the true one?
Confusing your customers is never a good business strategy, especially in an industry as competitive as professional spas and salons. When service is up-and-down, the best-case scenario is that a customer will return in the quest to emulate that initial impeccable experience. The worst-case scenario is that one slip-up means you'll never see them again. Neither of these scenarios are effective for client retention, which is why the message of service consistency—as obvious as it may seem—is crucial for sustaining success.
Create The Highest Of Expectations
According to ISPA's 2013 U.S. Spa Industry Study, there are some extremely encouraging stats for the salon and spa industry. ISPA refers to these as "The Big Five":
- In 2012, the number of spas grew for the first time since 2008.
- 2012 spa revenues were estimated at $14 billion, a 4.7% increase from 2011.
- From 2011 the number of spa visits increased by 4 million (from 156 million to 160 million).
- Average dollars spent per spa visit in 2012 was $87, up 1.8% from 2011.
- Spa jobs increased by 1.2% from 2012 to 2013, which represents 4,200 jobs.
Do these numbers make you feel good? They should, so take a moment to soak them in.
Now, let's bring you back down to earth: without consistent performance, these positive stats mean absolutely nothing. While the economy has slowly been rebounding since the historic recession, spa and salon visits still represent a luxury only those with disposable income can afford—so it's logical to assume that a dissatisfied customer will take their business elsewhere in a heartbeat. That's why you must create the expectation that your customer will have a first-class experience each and every time they walk through your doors.
Don't Leave Consistency To Your Competitors
Did you decode one of the hidden messages in the numbers above? Industry growth means more competition. That means there's even more pressure on you to deliver consistent performance. Many customers fear the unknown. If your service level is up-and-down, they'll become gun-shy about returning no matter how high those ups were. That provides a prime opportunity for rival spas or salons to steal away your confused—or disgruntled—client.
Stats: just when they're making you feel all warm and fuzzy, hidden truths reveal themselves. Overall, "The Big Five Statistics" should make you feel great about your industry, and your business's potential for growth. Unfortunately, in the service industry the reality is that you're only as good as your client's last visit. With consistent performance, you can retain your customers. Case studies aside, there's some simple math to support that: one bad experience can leave a client with a wandering eye, while continuous good ones will keep them loyal.