At Hidden Beauty UK have a wide range of mystery shoppers who visit a variety of different beauty, spa, hair and salon businesses. One of the areas that our shoppers are often to ask to assess is the client consultation process. Whether it is for a hair cut, a massage treatment, or an eyebrow shape carrying out a client consultation is essential.
Our very first top tip from our mystery shoppers on consultation is to actually do a consultation! On numerous occasions our mystery shoppers who work for us here at Hidden Beauty UK report back to us that a consultation never actually took place and so couldn’t be scored. One of our expert mystery shoppers said “the salon was beautiful, technically the treatment was very good, but there was an inadequate consultation which meant that the treatment could not be tailored to suit my needs”.
If you are not doing a proper consultation you are failing your clients and your business in many areas. Firstly, from a safety point of view. If the client is unsuitable for treatment you need to find out about it; maybe the treatment needs adapting in some way? Managing the clients expectations is also helped by the consultation. Finding out what they are expecting from the treatment is helpful in delivering what they require and avoids any misinterpretation. It’s also a great marketing tool. By collecting a telephone number and email address you have the advantage of being able to stay in touch long after the treatment has finished and to invite them back for other treatments.
Our second tip is to consider completing the consultation form with the client. Quite often our shoppers report that they feel ‘abandoned’ when they are left with a consultation form on a clip board or on an ipad. “I was left in reception with a cup of tea and a consultation form on a clip board. I had quite a few extra things to point out in some of the questions I was answering but there was no where to expand on them and no one to tell. When the Therapist came back it was too late to explain about some of the points I needed to expand on.” Often clients have questions or wish to expand more fully on an answer and there is no one to help them. By managing the consultation process with the client you are building a rapport and using a key sales tool. It is often tempting in a salon or spa, especially at Christmas and other busy times, to save time by giving the client the form to complete themselves, but you may be missing things that could often be picked up when you discuss the questions together. Invest in consultation time as it will more than repay you and your business.
Our third and final tip is to actually look at what is written on the consultation form. There have been many occasions when a shopper has completed a lengthly form only to find that the Therapist completely ignores the information that has been given that would enable them to tailor the treatment to the clients needs and perhaps gain a loyal client. The form is whisked away and a ‘standard’ treatment ensues. Not only is this potentially dangerous if the client is unsuitable for treatment, but does not demonstrate the standard of client care that is needed in order to gain a clients trust.
One of our shoppers said, “I noted on the consultation form that I had an issue with my lower back and couldn’t lay flat, only to find that the Therapist took the consultation form from me, smiled, asked me to follow her to the treatment room and then proceeded to tell me to lay flat on my back on the couch. I didn’t feel cared for.”
Completing a consultation and using the information to good effect will set your business apart from your competitors
Take a look at your consultation process and see how you can make small changes in your businesses procedures to get the most from this important part of the client experience.