Our latest article on American Spa teaches you how to make it easier for staff and service providers at your spa to ask for online reviews and referrals. We also explain how you can use those reviews as a learning experience and a way to encourage professional development.
When looking for spa services, most people ask for referrals or turn to a quick internet search. What they hear from trusted friends and what they see online could be the difference between making an appointment at your spa or calling your competitor. Here’s what you can do to help boost your online reviews and referrals to bring in new clients.
First, determine the different techniques to get reviews and referrals:
1. Train your front desk to ask
Your front desk staff are already trained to ask if clients would like to schedule their next appointment during the checkout process. Why not build in a request for reviews, too? It’s as simple as saying, “Thank you so much for coming in! If you enjoyed your services, we’d love it if you’d leave us an online review and tell others about your experience.” Granted, it may feel awkward at first, but role-playing can help the request become a natural part of the checkout dialogue.
2. Make it easy for clients
Clients may absolutely be willing to review your services online, but they’re probably not going to want to spend the time hunting down links to all the different review sites. Marketing automation software, such as DemandForce, will automatically send clients an email after their appointment asking for a review, and will then post that review online.
For referrals, many spas use referral program software on their websites. Clients can send an email or share their friend’s contact info and, depending on the software, both the referee and the referred will receive a discount code to use toward their next service.
3. Put it on your collateral
When you’re ready to print your next batch of marketing collateral—including appointment cards and thank you notes—add a request for an online review with the logos of the sites where you’d like them to leave their reviews. You can also add verbiage to individual business cards for your spa service providers asking for referrals, with a service discount for clients at their next appointment if they refer someone. Just be sure it’s clear that the referred mention the referee at some point during their visit.
4. Encourage your providers to speak up
One of the best things your estheticians and massage therapists can do after each service is ask the client to tell others about their experience. Many times, staff might feel uncomfortable or like they’re being too pushy. If you run into similar feedback, remind them that potential clients would much rather schedule an appointment with someone they’ve been referred to than go in blind. Again, role-playing will help staff become more comfortable with asking.
Then, learn what to do with your spa’s online reviews:
1. Learn from them
It’s great to get online reviews, but you can also use them to motivate and teach your staff. Try printing out the latest reviews and posting them in the staff break room. Discuss them in monthly staff meetings, giving praise for the positive ones and using the negative reviews as a learning experience. If your spa receives a negative review online, role-play a similar scenario and work with your staff, offering guidance to help them troubleshoot the tricky situation. Ask your staff what they could do to make the client’s experience better the next time they visit.
2. Respond to them
It’s important to let your clients know their comments are being heard. For positive reviews, thank them for taking the time to leave a review. Let them know you’re so glad they enjoyed their treatment and you look forward to seeing them again soon. Negative reviews can be a bit trickier to navigate. Again, thank the client for taking the time to leave a review. Apologize for their experience and then—this is key—give them your work email and phone number. Ask them to contact you directly so you can discuss it with them in-depth and make it right. Not only does this show that your spa is open to feedback, but it also takes the conversation offline in a non-combative manner.
(This article was first published on AmericanSpa.com on Aug. 31, 2018)