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Patient/Client Retention – What it Takes to Keep them Loyal

Posted on June 20, 2018 | by Marita Carroll | in Uncategorized

Patient/Client Retention – What it Takes to Keep them Loyal


Is your company going the extra mile with a defined plan that will keep your customer loyal and at very little cost to your organization? We all have lost patients/clients for various reasons. Are you following as to why and more importantly do you have structures in place to prevent this in the first place? Many spas and aesthetic practices are losing people without really hearing why or understanding what caused the person to defect.  Patient/Client retention is at the top of every owner’s wish list.  Strong follow up by the practitioners, and front desk concierge is, of course, an imperative ongoing tool and goal.  However, by identifying what retention tools drive engagement, successful spas and clinics can begin to develop techniques that will have a direct impact on retention and subsequently, profits.


Tie Compensation to the Tactics and Strategies that Retain Patients/Clients


Would you like to know how much money you will make in a year from now? Pre-book 75% or more of your customers before they leave for their next visit. This allows you to forecast your numbers. The pre-booking number comes from the number of patients/clients in a pay period who have scheduled their next appointment with the service provider before they leave. If the service provider saw 40 clients during the pay period and 20 of them booked their next appointment before leaving, his or her pre-booking percentage would be 50 percent because half of the scheduled clients are pre-booked for their next appointment.


Pre-booking and retention should go hand in hand. Retention percentage This refers to the number of patients/clients seen in a pay period who return and request a specific service provider. If the service provider saw 40 patient/clients during the pay period and 20 of them were return requests, the provider’s retention percentage would be 50 percent because half of the scheduled clients were repeat business. Realistic retention is a return request in a 120-day period. Percentages for both should match very closely. If you see retention numbers higher than pre-booking, it shows the patient is loyal, but the provider is not staying on top of keeping the regularly pre-booked.


Cash is king! Sell everything in a series to allow for consistent maintenance of their service, and better results. Series of Service Percentage This percentage is determined by identifying service categories that are sold in packages, such as laser treatments, facials, massage, and medical-grade peels. Selling a series locks in the customer paying up front thus enhancing business cash flow, coming in more frequently to maintain service quality and finally spending more money each subsequent visit. Suppose a service provider had $4,000 in gross service sales for the two-week pay period and $2,000 of that total came from series sales. Divide $4,000 gross service totals by $2,000 series totals, and your series percentage would be 50 percent.


Recommending two retail products to your client to take home increase your retention of that person by up to 40%! Retail percentage This percentage is derived by dividing the service provider’s retail product sales during the pay period by their service sales. For example, if a service provider generates $2,000 in service sales during the pay period and in addition sells $300 worth of retail product to his or her client, divide $2,000 by $300 and you would get a 15 percent retail percentage to service dollar sales.


Give people what they expect and a little more

Successful spas and practices first identify and truly understand their client’s expectations.  Then they create structure and protocols to ensure the staff is exceeding the base expectation consistently.  Take the time to review with the staff the expectations of the patients and the public.  Be confident that the entire team recognizes and acknowledges how your spa or practice plans to exceed those expectations with each person.  Then it is time to give a little more. What extra add on or complimentary upgrade can you offer that provides the client a little “Wow Factor” and keeps them with you. What about an eye or hand treatment? A high perceived value with little product cost associated with it.


Build opportunities for repeat business

This may seem obvious, but many spas and practices miss this opportunity.  Monitor what clients are asking for.  Engage your team to ask client’s what they are interested in.  Offer products and services that complement client’s desires and existing purchases.  Make good use of your business software to track and categorize any and all feedback you receive.  If technology is more of a burden than a blessing to you, keep it simple.  Create a folder entitled “Ideas”, place it in the break room and encourage the staff to submit thoughts and feedback from themselves and their clients.  Don’t let great ideas go to waste because it is the wrong time of year when the idea is presented.


How about if your machines aren’t being used enough right now and they are already paid for? Invite your top 25 clients who spend the most money with you and have not had a certain treatment to come in and experience one complimentary. Many of you are already paying for fixed staff cost and the machine is just sitting there. Get it into action. If a series of 5 is needed offer a special retail package when they purchase a series. Your clients will love you for it and most likely buy some new things. Make sure to offer the services on your least busy days.


Be a challenge solver

By quickly resolving patient/client complaints, the spa or practice will build ‘emotional’ loyalty, which is a huge asset.  Clients have all been disappointed at one time or another about a service that was provided, a product that was purchased or the way they were spoken to.  What many spas and practices miss is proper follow-up ensuring that an acceptable resolution within a fair and reasonable time frame has been made.  Create protocols for management to follow and monitor these factors regularly.


What is on their mind?

Everyone enjoys being part of something ‘bigger’.  It is no different with the spa or practice client.  Create short surveys that are unbiased and well structured, with questions you really want answered.  Remember, much of a survey’s success has to do with how it is presented.  Write the questions keeping in line with the culture of your organization.  Offer the survey in a fun, light-hearted way, if that is how your practice presents itself to the public.  If you are a medical spa, priding yourself in being on the cutting edge of technology, create a survey for your website that is interactive.  The goal is the same, get feedback from the end user, the spa or practice client. Offer an incentive to fill it out. Get a vendor to give you a $100 gift basket to raffle off for all surveys collected in a given month. What gets rewarded gets done.


Turn the feedback data into information that is utilized

Gathering the feedback from clients as to what interests, inspires and impresses them is only one piece of the puzzle.  Be sure to turn the feedback data into information you use.  The first step is to centralize where this data is gathered.  Second, assign a manager or front desk coordinator to process the data into information that can be used.  Third, review the results of the survey with the key players and decision makers of the organization.  Finally, do something with the information!  Reacting to surveys in a timely manner builds additional trust and loyalty with clients by showing that you do listen and care about their needs and wants.


Stay one step ahead by analyzing trends

Now that you have started to focus on identifying what creates retention in the present, develop plans and ideas for building more in the future.  Trends, needs and desires of the patient/clients changes over time.  Make good use of the feedback data and information gathered by brainstorming with the team and decision makers to understand how client intentions and motivations are changing.  Look at not just what services and products they buy but why they buy.  Insight from the practitioners, technicians and clients is the best and most profitable way to build loyalty in the present and into the future.



Taking steps to ensure that client loyalty is earned and not just expected, is every owner, practitioner, technician and team member’s responsibility.  Do not miss opportunities to enhance your business of beauty.  Review and put these proven techniques into action to guarantee a successful and profitable place for everyone to work.


Yours in Success,


Bryan Durocher