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Thu07192018

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Attracting and Serving Older Clients

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Old is a relative term with a definition open to interpretation. People view the meaning of “old” differently, and it is usually used as a generalization. To children, the term typically falls under a different spectrum in their mindset. To a child, old typically defines anything that is older than them, meaning essentially everything. However, once childhood recedes to youth, and youth recedes to young adulthood, the concept of “old” begins to take on a new definition. Eventually the idea of “old” becomes inevitability… becoming old is the process of time, and because time is a natural progression of what currently is, there will always be older generations.

The current age groups that are traditionally considered the elder generations are twofold: one side holds the “Baby Boomers,” and the other side holds the “Silent Generation.”
A large percentage of the medical spa market already consists of the Baby Boomer generation: 50- and 60-somethings that are typically still employed, have more disposable income, and generally have a growing fear of getting older. In general, they are a very specific clientele that require a certain level of commitment to attract and retain. Because they are not typically retired, and often still have younger children, they have less available free time. This lack of free time translates into needing a reliable spa to provide treatments.
Reliability comes in numerous guises. Simply being available for appointments is one thing, but having a location close to the client’s home and being flexible with hours also helps. Because many Baby Boomers still work, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to find time for spa appointments. Furthermore, because they are often short on time, they frequently have tighter schedule regiments. With tight schedules, the advertised timing of a service should adequately reflect the amount of time the service will actually take when the client comes in. This time crunch can be difficult to maintain based on the treatment and the variety of physiologies that can be encountered. Because each person holds a different physiological identity, categorizing the time it takes to perform one treatment to the next can be difficult. The best option is to explore the averages, and personally dedicate time to fully understanding each client.

red-roomBaby Boomers can be big spenders when it comes to looking good and feeling well. By dedicating time to know the client, you can pick up on if they have any special requirements or will have reactions to some of the treatments. Appointments can be tailored to meet their needs and timeframes. Utilizing personal touches for each customer helps deliver the individual attentiveness that Baby Boomers appreciate. They typically require a level of attention that necessitates each appointment be treated like the first. There is a mindset that a great appointment will get a return appointment, and the continuation of those return appointments is contingent upon the level of greatness that they continue to experience. Because of this, Baby Boomers may be hard clients to read; they generally have a different mindset than the younger generations and are more likely to judge critically. This judgment means that each appointment needs to start with the atmosphere from the moment they arrive.
If you are planning on increasing your market with older clients, the atmosphere of the salon should be inviting to all ages. This feat in and of itself is daunting. Simple and comfortable reception furniture, neutral colors, and common amenities that deliver a positive and pleasant reaction: fresh coffee, interesting reading material and even an available phone can all lead to a memorable appointment. Your clients will be coming to your business to relax, and if the experience delivers the definition of relaxation they are expecting, they will continue coming back. The extra services and attention that you provide at the time of the appointment will lead to word of mouth and returning clients. If you are planning for the older generation between the age of 70 and 90, there are more considerations that you will need to make for you facilities. The furniture should be free of obstacles and be easy to sit down in and get up from; and chairs should be comfortable enough for an elderly person to sit in for an extended amount of time.

massageCatering to the needs of the Silent Generation also requires a different level of attentiveness. The Silent Generation consists of those born between 1925 and 1945, with a majority having been born during the Great Depression. This generally gives them a different mindset than Baby Boomers, and it also means that they have 10 to 20 more years of experience. Ten to 20 years may not seem like a lot on paper, but in the scope of human life, it makes a tremendous difference to how the body reacts to treatments, the types of treatments being sought, the availability of disposable income, and the extra level of service that they will be looking for.
A big difference between Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation will be the level of disposable income that is readily available. While many Baby Boomers are still working and focusing on their careers, the Silent Generation is often retired and living on a fixed income. This fixed income is then supplemented by the fact that there are often a variety of medical expenses that the elderly have to routinely account for. Instituting specific senior sales or discounts at your business can help to alleviate this extra cost and drive more sales from older clients.
Many elderly clients may have missed the modern age of technology. They may not use cell phones frequently, or utilize e-mail or websites. Explore marketing yourself with traditional methods to attract the attention of older clientele. Utilize print marketing, direct mailers, coupons, and make sure that you have a business listing in the local phonebook. Most phonebook listings are free, and they are an invaluable tool in getting your name out to older clients. Print advertisements with local newspapers, while more expensive, will also help increase your presence in the elderly market and show a direct attention to their specific needs and ideals. Including coupons is a great way to measure which ads work best, and they help drive a participatory aspect with bringing in older clients.
Look towards local medical centers and network with the staff there. Being close with medical providers can lead to a direct boost in elderly clientele. If you are in the position that your medical spa is near an office, you can offer specials to those clients that are just coming from an appointment. It is a great way to promote your business and peace of mind in the customer. Medical appointments can often be stressful situations; with the proper touch your business can help ease that stress, and in the process, ease the stress of their caregivers.

massage-2Marketing services to your current clients’ elderly parents is a great way to build rapport with your existing customers and add new business with another core demographic. As the average lifespan increases throughout the world, there is a growing need and desire to maintain the necessities of life as it was. Experiences and services provided by medical spas give older clients a feeling of uncompromised humanity, and the delight that you can provide to an older parent means worlds for their caregivers and helps build a strong word of
mouth presence.
Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing available: it comes from trustworthy sources and it is completely free. By providing services for older clients and their caregiving children, your business can earn a committed level of respect that transcends the concept of modern customer service. Word of mouth spreads particularly quickly in communities that spend a majority of time together: hospices, re-tirement homes, medical care facilities, et cetera. If a member of the community receives an outstanding service experience, they are likely to talk about it. Word of mouth is built on service, and the level and type of service the Silent Generation requires is highly unlike the dedication needed with Baby Boomers.
Members from the Silent Generation require an entirely different pace than the pace involved with Baby Boomers. Try to put yourself in the place of the elderly client. When they come in, greet them and make eye contact. Offer to take their coat and walk them to the chair or table. Before you sit down, offer to help them get into the chair. Ask how they are doing before moving into the service you are providing. Take extremely careful considerations when providing services to your elderly clients. Older clients will have a different skin type, particularly thicker nails, and often suffer from arthritis. Becoming cognizant of the factors and how to relieve and accommodate these special situations can be paramount to serving elderly clients. And unlike Baby Boomers, most elderly clients in the Silent Generation are not in a rush to leave; they are there to relax and feel like their old self, before their old self became their current self. Businesses that appreciate and adapt to the slower pace mentality will not only increase the elderly client’s overall enjoyment, but it will strengthen your business’ relationship with them. It will make your business more versatile as your current clients begin entering their golden years.

old-peopleBringing in elderly clients is more difficult than marketing to the younger generations. There are fine lines between what is expected and an overall change in attitude between the two eldest generations. Each generation carries its own set of measures that the experience will be judged upon, and whether you are marketing to one age group specifically or aiming on increasing attendance from both, special allowances need to be made. On one end are the business minded, appointment and time oriented, professionals of the Baby Boomer generation. On the other end are the retired, easygoing members of the Silent Generation. While catering to older clientele may be a niche market, it can be rewarding both fiscally and experientially, and it preps your business to capture the needs of a steadily growing demographic.

Thom Boersma holds a Bachelor’s in English and a Bachelor’s in History from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s in English from Eastern Michigan University. He is certified by the State of Michigan in secondary education and has worked in a variety of retail locations before working as a trainer for Borders Group, Inc. for more than five years. He is currently the marketing and advertising coordinator for DaySmart Software, the makers of Orchid Medical Spa Software. Outside of work, Thom is an avid writer and photographer. His written and photographic work has been published in literary magazines, and he has performed onstage alongside poet Rodrigo Toscano. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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