25 Sep 2022 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2020 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Customer connections


Customer connections

How can software companies help spa operators keep in touch with customers, strengthening their relationship and loyalty, during the coronavirus pandemic? Key suppliers share their insights

Software companies are helping spas keep in touch with customers during the coronavirus pandemic SFIO CRACHO/shutterstock

Rick Stollmeyer
CEO, Mindbody

Why is the online customer relationship so important for spas at the moment? There will be a huge demand for spa services when we get out of the COVID-19 lockdown as wellness will be a focus for many people. Staying in contact with customers now will help drive business back into spas when that time comes.

How can spas use your software to keep in touch? Mindbody offers digital marketing tools, including email automation and Bowtie, an AI receptionist, to help spas keep in touch with clients while they can’t see them. We’ve also just launched a virtual wellness platform for spas to offer virtual appointments and consultations with current and prospective clients.

How else are you supporting operators? Mindbody is offering business education through content and webinars to help guide spas as they navigate this pandemic. In addition to marketing tools, our software also offers online sales of retail products, which can help spas earn revenue while they’re closed.

On top of this, our Mindbody One community is a network in which our customers [spa operators] interact with each other – an important feature as the wellness industry is being impacted at an unprecedented global scale.

Bowtie, an AI receptionist, helps spas keep in touch with clients while they can’t see them
Jeff Dickerson
CEO, DaySmart Software

Why should spas keep in touch with customers? Taking the guest experience online should be a priority for spas right now and keeping in touch fosters a closer bond.

Many medi-spas now face the challenge of delivering post-operative care instructions and evaluations. Digitising data sheets, making instructional videos and conducting real-time video calls may be the only way to service these clients. That obviously represents a radical shift, but finding new ways to connect customers with practitioners is our new normal.

How does your software help? Our Orchid Medical Spa Software provides a few ways to optimise and automate client communication across multiple channels including targeted email and text message campaigns. Don’t be shy about promoting gift cards or discounted pre-paid packages. Use Facebook Live to sell products, leverage social media to feature client tips, staff profiles – focus on positivity of any kind.

We have a remote access function so owners and managers can still tend to their business from home.

How else is your software supporting operators at this time? We’re currently beta testing our new tele-consultation feature which we developed in response to coronavirus. The idea is that practitioners and clients can schedule and hold video consultations from within our software. If the service provider wishes to charge a fee, for a skincare consultation for example, we’ve made allowances for that, but spas and practitioners could use this just to keep that client interaction consistent. We’re rolling this out to all of our customers for free. The mantra is ‘we’re all in this together’ and there’s never been a more critical time to reach out, even if you’re shut in.

There’s never been a more critical time to reach out, even if you’re shut in
DaySmart is rolling out a tele-consultation feature for free / DimaBerlin/shutterstock
Alice Smithson
Marketing manager, iSalon

Why is it so timely for spas to be visible online? With the majority of us staying at home, we’re using our phones, tablets and computers much more than normal. It’s a great time to take advantage of this and put your spa out there for existing and potential customers to see. Share uplifting messages, updates from your team and daily affirmations to remain positive and inspiring.

How can iSalon help with this? Spas can use our software to reach clients via customised SMS message and email marketing. We also offer social media services via our iCreate platform so we can put together engaging social content on a spa’s behalf for them to share with their followers and communicate that way.

What facility does your software offer to build a community? Creating a community during this time will allow customers to feel supported and is an excellent way to provide peace of mind and iSalon’s YourApp is an ideal way to do this. It’s a fully native, customisable app for spas with registration and full setup. Clients can use this to stay in touch with spas, visit their website, look at available appointments (when the time is right) and get in touch.

How else are you supporting spas? More than anything we will be there to support and guide spas during this uncertain period. Our chatbot Ruby is available online to assist instantly with any queries and we’re also reaching out to all spas that have asked for support or those that may need some advice on a one to one basis. We believe communication and support will get us all through this so we’re making this our focus. We have created a page of information to share how we can help each other: http://lei.sr/F7G6U

More than anything we will be there to support and guide spas during this uncertain period
iSalon’s chatbot can assist with queries instantly
Leonie Wileman
COO, Premier Software

Why should spas be keeping in touch with customers? In these unprecedented circumstances, it’s how you react and support clients online that will truly determine how well your spa bounces back after COVID-19. Being understanding of your clients’ needs will show them you care. Remaining flexible to cancellations and rescheduling appointments will help put them at ease.

Sharing online tutorials to help clients stay relaxed and pampered will support them when they need it most. It will also keep your brand front of mind when the lockdown lifts – a time when clients will be looking for a place to go to share quality time with friends and family.

How do you help foster stronger connections? Automated marketing is a vital tool for keeping in touch with clients. You can advise them about changes in opening hours, reopening offers, or explain the steps you’re taking in light of the pandemic. Simply select the audience criteria of your message, create your template and schedule to send it via email or SMS, at a time of your choosing.

How else is your software supporting operators? If spas decide to run at reduced capacity or close, Core by Premier can help to make the process as simple as possible, from limiting online booking to rescheduling/cancelling treatments from home.

Financial options include reducing memberships rates to discourage cancellations, taking payment for retail products online, and extending gift voucher expiry dates. All the while, spas can monitor any revenue loss through cancellation reason codes.

It’s how you react and support clients online that will truly determine how well your spa bounces back after COVID-19
It’s easy to limit online booking slots when spas reopen
Brett Smith
Vice president, global strategy and product management, Concept

Why keep in contact with customers during lockdown? Engaging with customers when facilities are shut will increase the possibility of them returning once they reopen and this is particularly important for spas which offer memberships. Maintaining engagement with members will increase the likelihood of them not cancelling their membership and can also increase the chance of renewal when that time comes.

How can your software help? With Concept’s Membership application, spas can send emails to members, whether that’s an update about resuming operations, specials or promotions on items retailed in the spa, purchasing gift cards, or even relaxation techniques.

In addition, with Concept’s CRM application, a spa can create detailed marketing campaigns and track their success. They can target campaigns based on various criteria such as service history, retail purchase history, or even frequency of visits.

How else can your software support operators? this time of uncertainty, replacing a spa service with a gift card is a great way to ensure guests return once COVID-19 passes. Spas can sell gift cards using Concept, enabling them to secure revenue even though they’re not physically open.

Once the pandemic subsides, spas are going to have to be ready to handle a pent-up demand for their services – people will be driven to find ways to release their stress. Being able to offer real time online reservation capabilities will be paramount to managing high demand. Concept’s online reservations and payment options, which also enable customers to enter information in advance of a visit, leads to a more streamlined check in and check out process as well.

Spas are going to have to be ready to handle a pent-up demand for their services... and online booking will help
Shez Namooya
Head of sales marketing, Ez-Runner

How should spas reach out to customers? Lead with compassion, maintain relationships and connect on a human level. You’ll be rewarded when normality resumes.

How are you helping spas to do this? We have automated communication tools and depending on responses, the system triggers another set of replies. But content is crucial and should not be too salesy. 

How does your software foster connections? Our Insight product helps you to manage your ‘tribe’ by NPS surveys, which are used widely across many industries to get a ‘feel’ for what customers think of your brand. You’ll have advocates, but also customers who are not so happy. Do you know who they are? How can you make them feel better about your brand? Our success coaches can help with all of this.

How else is your software supporting spas? Our solution operates in the cloud by default so any home-working is perfect for us.

The shift towards digital has gathered huge pace and we offer a facility to help with social media post creations. We’ve also been working with digital content suppliers who can create explainer videos. These are ideal for spas as they hit both your audio and visual senses to explain something. And if you don’t offer vouchers, now is the time to really get going on this.

We’ve been working with digital content suppliers who can create explainer videos. These are ideal for spas as they hit both your audio and visual senses to explain something
Sudheer Koneru
CEO, Zenoti

How important is it for spas to use this time to build on their customer relationships? The need for spa services is not going away. Coronavirus will change how the needs are met though and businesses will need to adapt the services they provide while taking the necessary precautions to stop the spread of new viruses. Customers will have questions and opinions on hygiene and sanitation concerns as well. This will be a two-way communication. It’s essential for spas to stay in touch and involve customers so they buy into the solution and the recovery happens faster. 

How does your software help spas stay connected? Zenoti provides integrated marketing software for email and text communication. While newsletters are a good way of reaching customers, we encourage them to contact their most valuable clients and use our two-way texting feature to truly engage them.

We’re providing email template content around coronavirus to help with communication. We also have marketing automation (with our Smart Marketing module) that will enable spas to really focus on recovering all their customers while they’re also busy dealing with the rush of traffic when they do reopen.

How is Zenoti helping spas to drive revenue in this time? We have very comprehensive views in this area and we’re sharing creative ideas to inspire spas on our website in much detail.

Zenoti offers online gift card sales which are a great way to allow regular guests to continue buying their monthly services. Add incentives with discounted prices or ‘bonus coupons’ for extra services. One of our clients, Mario Tricoci, a hair salon and spa, is enabling its customers to support employees by donating a portion of gift card sales to the team. Similar donations could be pledged to medical worker organisations or charities – an act of kindness which further incentivises gift card purchases.

We’re providing email template content around coronavirus to help with communication

Products can be sold online via the Shopify Integration built into Zenoti and spas should use every available channel (especially e-commerce and direct orders) to boost sales. Our spas have found success in scheduling Zoom meetings to offer virtual consultations or personal shopping trips.

We recently held a webinar on driving revenue during COVID-19 which we’ve made available on demand via this link: http://lei.sr/B5K6p. It touched on the above points and the importance of supporting the spa team such as holding regular meetings and sharing company updates and words of encouragement to keep colleagues connected. This reduces unnecessary stress brought on by unknowns and mitigates potentially damaging rumours.

How can your software help spas recover once they reopen? Consumers will prefer not to exchange cash or credit cards over the counter and we enable consumers to pay from their mobile phones directly via ZenotiGo.

We also feel people won’t want to wait around in reception due to social distancing and Zenoti has rich mobile solutions enabling guests to check wait times at a spa, put their name in a queue and show up just in time for their turn and more.

Further, we think guests will be wary of using pens and forms. So when they book an appointment, Zenoti automatically emails a link for consultation forms which they can fill out at home to reduce reasons for contact/physical touch.

Spa-goers can make contactless payments using ZenotiGo
Zenoti launches COVID-19 Resource Center

Spas worldwide can get real-time data on how coronavirus is impacting businesses through the Zenoti COVID-19 Resource Center.

The software company has 10,000 customers in 50 countries and has collected data on the impact the disruption is having on their trading. This has been translated into a heatmap showing the effect on appointment trends. Spa Business reported on early findings in March which showed sale declines of up to -73 per cent in Indonesia, while South Africa was the only country to exhibit growth, at 4.7 per cent at the time.

“We’ve established this resource centre to help those we work with in the community,” says CEO Sudheer Koneru. “I’ve run a spa and salon business before, and have a deep passion for making guests feel good about themselves, so they can go into the world and do great things. That’s why I’m so committed to ensuring that our company and employees are doing all that we can to help others through this difficult time and at no extra cost to anyone.”

The resource centre also includes a downloadable guide that Zenoti has produced for spa businesses during the coronavirus crisis. It includes a range of information, such as how to manage existing appointments, review memberships and work on communication strategies.

Spas can download the guide using this link: http://lei.sr/g7Q8d

A heatmap shows real-time data on the impact on spa businesses

Originally published in Spa Business 2020 issue 2

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