The Beginners Guide to Online Spa Consultations
Last year with the global shutdown of spas, we sought out new ways to survive the financial onslaught of the pandemic.
One of the biggest and most successful initiatives was pivoting to online consultations. For spas that already had a strong customer service and retail platform, it provided a means of selling products safely, to existing or new customers. It was also a very effective vehicle to continue or initiate new relationships with the hope that upon reopening, these customers would also receive in-house treatments.
The spas that have been most successful are those who had the best client interaction skills pre-pandemic. Because there is no longer an opportunity for an in-room hands-on examination/assessment, more astute questions are required with heightened listening skills.
If customer consultations, interactions and home care recommendations posed a challenge for your spa prior to the pandemic, transferring to an on-line platform will not be immediately successful. Training is required and there is a learning curve.
Online consultations should be given the same dedication and professionalism as for any new treatment within the spa. It’s more than just setting up a video conferencing service and scheduling clients in 20 minutes slots. For me, the long term success of online consultations as a service relies on 3 things:
- Training your team on why, what and how we deliver online consultations.
- Educating your guests on the benefits and effectiveness of online consultations.
- Creating a fun, educational and amazing experience that they will love, remember and rave about.
My experience has been that most spas provide no lack of product training. Unfortunately so much attention is given to the details and rollout of the product that no thought is given to skillsets that actually help the team sell the product. This is why retail has been such a challenge for the spa industry for so long.
You don’t want to make the same mistake with online consultations. While logistics are important, the guest interaction is the real sizzle. Training should provide three things: (1) confidence of execution, (2) clarity on the process (3) positive outcome that’s the same as that received at the spa, minus the treatment.
When I discuss online consultations with spa managers, their uncertainty is mostly whether their staff can create a positive experience through conversation and achieve positive outcomes.
In theory, they are providing expertise, guidance, education, and a regimen but it doesn’t feel this simple for some spa management.
One way to provide a team with more clarity is to address the potential barriers up front (real or perceived) and discuss the solutions or workarounds together. We list what we would normally do in the spa. Proceed then to tick the items which remain the same, and brainstorm alternatives for those which cannot be performed during online consults.
From an assessment point of view, the foundation of a solid consultation remains the same whether performed “live” at the spa or online. For most therapists this is the area of training that needs to be enhanced the most. Having the confidence and the ability to listen well and ask follow up questions that will inform their decisions is a learned skill set.
Once these potential barriers have been addressed, the team can move on to role playing. Initially, team members may practice with each other with different skin or body scenarios and experimenting with various responses. This is when knowledge of in-house retail products should also be perfected. One of the outcomes for online consultation should be to create a personalized homecare regimen.
Focusing specifically on each aspect of this will help your team to familiarize themselves with the new online format and the level of communication needed.
After this, I suggest reaching out to family or friends and allowing your team to now practice on someone who isn’t a spa professional themselves. The problem with simply practicing with each other is that our communication skills don’t have to be perfect. We are spa professionals after all, I know what you mean and you know what I mean. But our family and friends do not. This is where we get the true test of how well we can communicate and lead a guest through a video consult.
EDUCATING OUR GUESTS
Although online consultations is not a new concept for other areas of health and wellness, it is still relatively new for spas. For our customers who are accustomed to visiting a brick and mortar location it may seem very impersonal.
Therefore it’s important to focus on aspects of their experience with us which remain the same, whether in person or online. As mentioned earlier, we can still learn about their issues through a great interactive consultation, assess their concern and develop a plan to help them solve their problem.
Accentuate the positive aspects of your exchange. By highlighting the benefit of receiving skin and body care expertise from the comfort of their own home, while avoiding traffic and travelling time the value of online consults is heightened.
Remind them that you will reopen in the not too distant future, or if you’re currently open to feel free scheduling an appointment with you.
If you want more information on how to set up a proper environment for an amazing experience or transitioning to online consultations, contact us at Moontide Consulting for a complimentary consultation. We have everything you need from proper training to customized scripting to digital expertise.
We look forward to speaking with you.