The Right Questions

Get the right information before your client comes for their appointment and avoid a whole lot of hassle, writes Angela Bartlett


When my team and I mystery shop salons and spas, we are rarely asked any prearrival questions when we call to make appointments. But gathering relevant information from the client at the initial point of contact is essential
for improving your business.

Top five reasons to ask pre-arrival questions:

1 Safety – many treatments are not suitable or safe for everyone, so asking a few key health questions ensures the treatment the client has selected is safe and relevant for them. Diabetes, heart problems, epilepsy,pregnancy and major medications such as steroids can preclude a whole host of services. Why have I put this at the top of my list? Because safety should always come first!

2 Customer service – asking a few relevant questions at the time of booking demonstrates you are interested in the client and value their business. Asking simple things such as whether they know how to find the salon or where to park, for example, shows consideration and starts to build rapport, helping to set you apart from your competitors.

3 Salon management – if, upon arrival, it becomes apparent a client has pre-booked a treatment that is totally unsuitable for them, then an alternative may have to be quickly found. This can often cause problems with re-allocating rooms and equipment and can make the salon look disorganised. Prearrival questions help you to be more prepared and manage resources efficiently.

4 Maximising staff – Asking pre-arrival questions can help you to manage staff more efficiently too. For the same reasons outlined above, finding an alternative treatment at short notice may mean finding alternative staff to carry it out. If not every therapist is qualified to carry out every treatment on your menu, you may have a problem on your hands.

5 Client satisfaction – if you haven’t found out the reasons a client chose a particular treatment it can be difficult to manage their expectations on arrival at your spa or salon. Finding out what the client understands about the treatment they’ve booked can save confusion about what they are expecting and avoid disappointment. Pre-arrival questions can, therefore, help to establish client a good client relationship from the moment of booking.

Of course, clients don’t want to be bombarded with a host of irrelevant  questions so keep them pertinent to the five sections outlined above to make sure staff are working safely, efficiently and providing outstanding client care.