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Technique. This is a sacred word to skin therapists. To begin with, it's French-more on that in a moment. For generations, technique has been the skin care profession's raison d'etre-oops, I mean entire reason for being. Mastering the traditional posture, movements, and protocol defined the very essence of being a skin therapist, similar, let's say, to the discipline of a classical ballerina or a Cordon Bleu chef faceting perfect, six-sided baby carrot nuggets. But here's the big news: technique is not enough.

These days, it's easy to get distracted. The real trouble is, the distractions take our attention from the issues which really count - client service being key among these.
We are such sensory beings, and barraged as we are with marketing messages, a simple trip to the store may turn into a phantasmagoric trip down the rabbit-hole. When I buy groceries, I will often see shoppers, apparently from other places, who cannot hide their amazement at the shampoo aisle of my local supermarket. Has washing your hair ever involved so many decisions? The same goes for purchasing a pair of blue jeans.

Every business owner that survives the critical early years in operation will arrive at a point where the physical expansion or remodeling of the original location seems like a reasonable idea. Client growth beyond your ability to serve as currently built, cramped working space for a larger spa team and the desire to add new treatment options, all may foster the desire to redesign your spa's layout and look. Besides, that once-vogue Tuscan theme with its faux finishes and terra cotta accents may now seem ancient indeed to your regular and newer customers.

There is truly nothing more important than education to the success of any business, especially in the skin care industry. Manufacturers may tend to forget this-they think that their potential success rests with their products. Actually, the key is in the education of the people who use their products. I have dedicated the past 30 years to the education of skin care professionals. But here's what I've discovered: our clients also need to be trained. In fact, they are badly in need of a sort of Client Boot Camp.
I agree with the great Dr. Samuel Johnson, who said that "A little learning is a dangerous thing."

We have all heard it before: “Lose 40 inches!”, “Better than Botox!” “World’s best serum that will make you look and feel like you are in your twenties again!” Are these false claims? Did you get the results that the product advertised? Did the aesthetician not understand how to use the product correctly? Was the product applied to the wrong skin type? What went wrong? You bought the product in good faith and it didn't live up to the claim. Why not? There are several reasons why we don't get the results from the magic that is promised in the bottle.

When a guest comes into your establishment, what do they see? What do they feel, smell, hear, and maybe even taste? Your focus on the details of client care gives the ability to take a satisfactory experience into an extraordinary and magical one. This magic can reside in a one room spa studio or in a 10 room mega spa. It can exist in the surgi-center medi-spa or the multipurpose treatment room in the back of a conventional salon.

Last Saturday evening, dressed up to the nines and head held high, I went out for dinner with my friends in a trendy part of Vancouver, and didn’t get noticed once. I was elated. Yes, I was happy not to be glanced at, stared at, or leered at, because that is my every day reality as a facial burn survivor, and for once, I got my anonymity back, and for once, I did not have to explain what had happened to me to anyone. I could just be me: Karen. 

Our world is brimming over with superb products. In far shorter supply: Professional representatives of those products who win us over with their personalized niche approach. When you skillfully combine both – great products, offered and supported by great service to enhance your enjoyment of the product – you have the formula for the passionate customer loyalty needed to succeed in today’s overcrowded marketplace. This formula sounds so easy, yet few businesses get it right all the time, or even most of the time. When we ponder the success of our business competitors, we may wonder: Is it the products they carry?

If you own a business, you may have noticed that the marketplace is starting to feel more than a little crowded. With an economy that is still less-than-stellar, it is more saturated than ever with businesses vying for the attention of customers and potential customers. In fact, your own mailbox and inbox are probably full of ads, coupons, and marketing messages trying to win your business. And if you are feeling inundated with offers and information; just imagine how your customers must feel. Therefore, if you are not doing something to set yourself above the competition and establish customer loyalty, your business is in big trouble. 

There are many luxury treatments that we can discuss, but I would like to address the issue of acne, and with it, your youngest clients. Why? It is vitally important that our children receive the help they need through diet, education, and emotional support in order to overcome difficulties associated with acne, and the confidence issues that it brings. By giving your best efforts and demonstrating your knowledge and a professional approach, you give your clients all the reason to trust you and to trust that their acne condition will improve. These are your future clients - once they believe in you, they will be your followers for life.

Your spa can have an unbeatable line of products and services, employ the most skillful and dedicated aestheticians, and generate the sort of profits that can turn the most successful of businesses green with envy. However, all can be lost in the blink of an eye if you do not pay enough attention to the people that put you there – your customers. Good customer service is vital to the life of any business, and it's not just about keeping customers happy. It's also about tending to the unhappy ones and addressing their complaints.

Communication is essential in all aspects of life, whether interaction is achieved through words, writing, or actions. Without effective communication there can be no mutual understanding between individuals, exchange of information, nor expression of true feelings thoughts or ideas. It is so often taken for granted that when we speak to others what we say is actually perceived in the manner in which we meant for it to be interpreted. Too often we speak without forethought or consideration and our message is misconstrued by the recipient resulting in confusion or insult. Communication goes beyond the spoken word.

And last but not least is the important consideration of your clients current skin care program. Directing your questions with respect to all of the products they are currently using will assist the aesthetician in finding areas of their existing skin care that may need to be addressed. I always encouraged my new customers to “bring their face in a bag” so I could review the products along with the ingredients. This snooping also uncovers how they use their products, how much, are they dipping their fingers in the jar, have the products been exposed, etc. Finding out how they care for their products means this would be time to instruct them how to use skin care properly.

To help you acquire the most out of this edutorial, analyze the following points of reference, which will be found through the length of the series, while reading along to assist you in answering the final questions.

Professional skin care in the 21st Century has never been so exciting, technical, scientific, profitable and yes, extremely competitive. Open up a fashion magazine today and you will find no less than 30+ non-professional skin care brands claiming to reduce lines and wrinkles, improve skin, restore elasticity, replace Botox tm and on and on and on.
These companies also promise simulated “professional peels” and “microdermabrasion” in do-it-yourself at home product kits. Think about it, if you are reading these ads, it’s inevitable your clients are reading them too!

Spas come in all shapes and sizes from the mega resorts to the independent day spas; well so do clients and their needs. Are you prepared to meet the needs of all your clients? Young, mature, pre-teen, petite to large size clients are all looking to spas for waxing to massage but are you prepared. I know you are thinking YES… but while many spas are prepared for the average size clients many are not prepared for ALL. There are many things to consider including ADA requirements, equipment strength, and therapist etiquette.

Only a generation ago, children were to be seen and not heard. Now, young people who might have been dismissed as “kids” back in the 20th century are proving to be the most powerful segment of American society in terms of establishing and driving brand dominance in the consumer marketplace. Rather than viewing consumers under the age of 21 as simply future-tense buyers, the fact is that national purchasing trends across the board in fashion, beauty, food and lifestyle choices are shaped largely by teens and ‘tweens. Fierce brand loyalties to a specific label form younger and younger, as children are barraged with marketing messages from infancy, and often acquire personal income well before high school.

Some patient diseases – such as skin cancer or acne – are especially well-suited to co-management between a dermatologist and an aesthetician. The physician may see the patient, but typically it is for a shorter amount of time and the patient is usually referred to the aesthetician, who can educate the patient on medication use, make sure follow-up appointments are kept, and help the patient with the psychological aspect of the disease. Because aestheticians scrutinize the patient’s skin, they are also more likely than the nurse – or even the dermatologist – to notice and question potentially cancerous lesions.

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