A client lands on your website, reads your service menu, and clicks to book before you ever speak with them. Everything from choosing a time on your calendar to sending out confirmation and appointment reminders is automated so you can fill your appointment book while you do other things in your business.
How can we make online booking better for estheticians?
Online booking companies will probably get mad for posting this — but I believe that the current online booking for estheticians is flawed. There is a way to make the online booking experience better.
The current online format isn’t the best method for us to serve our clients. Although you may save some time on the initial booking process, you’re likely to be sacrificing the client experience later down the road and therefore, impacting your profitability in the long run.
Online booking systems are great for cosmetologists (e.g., booking a color treatment or haircut) and massage therapists (e.g., booking a Swedish or deep tissue massage) because of the nature of their offerings.
Clients can choose from a menu of services based on simple descriptions on a website, even if they’re new to the service provider.
But it’s different when it comes to services offered by estheticians because of the complexity of services. While it’s fine to have clients book a brow or Brazilian wax appointment using an online appointment tool, it’s very different when it comes to skincare treatments.
For example, a client might have heard about a treatment from a friend and wants to book the same appointment. However, the potential client doesn’t know if the treatment is right for their skin condition.
If you let clients book appointments without first assessing whether the treatment is right for them, it could waste your valuable time and be frustrating for your new client.
Even when a client has received a particular treatment in the past, skin conditions may have changed and that particular treatment may no longer be the best solution.
Honestly, clients shouldn’t be choosing a service from your menu until you have had a consultation to determine a treatment plan. We need a different way to deliver the best experience for our clients and here’s how:
Include a “Start Here” Button On Your Website
I believe it’s important that our clients don’t have the option to pick and choose their own skin treatments. You’re the esthetician and expert who needs to physically assess each client’s condition and do a thorough intake to determine the best course of action based on the client’s skin goals.
Direct all new skincare clients to start with a consultation instead of allowing them to pick their facials or other skin treatments. Build enough time into their first appointments for an assessment to make sure the treatment you recommend will meet your client’s desired outcomes.
Book By Time Instead Of By Service
If you do use an online booking system, you could clean up your service menu so you’re not presenting clients with a long list of facial services for them to choose. Book by time instead.
Instead of booking by services, you can book by time, e.g., 60-minute custom treatment at $XX and 90-minute custom treatment at $XX. Not to mention, delivering a personalized treatment will make your clients feel special and increase the value of your offerings.
Be The Esthetician Expert
As a skincare expert, you should be recommending the most appropriate treatment instead of letting your clients pick what they think is best.
I have had estheticians tell me that they have many certifications and invested in all sorts of modalities, e.g., microcurrent, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, enzyme treatments, and so on… why would they toss these services out of the window?
I’m not saying “don’t offer” these treatments. I’m saying, as a licensed professional and expert, you choose their treatment plan. Once you have a consultation, you can make recommendations instead of letting clients choose what they think might work for them (just because their besties had a similar treatment!)
Adapt To Clients’ Needs
Recently, I booked an appointment online and chose a glycolic facial because I was in the mood for a peel. I woke up with a skin irritation on the day of the appointment and instead of canceling, I decided to go ahead and let the esthetician determine what was best for me.
I was shocked when the esthetician informed me that I couldn’t change the treatment because I booked a “glycolic facial” through the online system! There I was, laying on the treatment table with my mouth hanging open. What???
That’s just crazy… my face was clearly irritated and inflamed so obviously it wasn’t a good idea to use acid on my face.
Take Back Control As an Expert
Let’s take back control of the client experience — starting with how clients book appointments with us. You absolutely must start with a consultation, especially with facial treatments. Do you think this should be mandatory before touching someone’s face? I do.
However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t offer a variety of services. Position yourself as the professional and expert to help your clients achieve the best results possible.
You may wonder how to let your community know about the different treatments you offer if you don’t list out all of your services on your online booking page?
There’s a lot you can do to get the word out about your different treatments. Write about the services you offer through blog posts. Talk about what each service does and highlight the benefits. Create a FAQ page about each service and share testimonials from your clients.
The most important thing is to cultivate the mindset that you are a leader in this industry. Leadership isn’t just about leading a team — it’s also about being a leader to your clients.
Being a successful esthetician or spa owner is part mindset and part skill set. If you want to hone in on both and take your business to the next level, get the knowledge and support by joining the Esthetician Inner Circle.