One if the difficulties service providers face is that many customers only buy sporadically. I think this happens a lot when your services are viewed by your customers as an “optional expense.” The spa and alternative health industries continue to grow, but some customers only come in for 1 or 2 treatments then move on. So while your industry might be growing, your business might not be, unless you can increasse client retention in some way.
Service packages or series treatments, when they’re designed right, can give you more stability in your business by giving your customers incentive to see you more often. Here are some pointers on designing your packages:
Determine the length of your package. Depending on your industry, you might have a preconceived idea of what a package is. What I’m asking you to do is open your mind to new possibilities for what’s included in them. Customers like to buy in bite-size pieces, but you can decide on how to slice the cake.
Multiple services in 1 visit. You can create a package that includes many services that take place over a few hours or 1/2 day. This is the most common in the spa industry for example, but it’s not necessarily the best model because it has a built-in risk. Yes, it’s a higher service sale that day, but if it’s based on consecutive treatments, there is also a greater liability to you in the case of short-notice cancellation. This type of package doesn’t usually increase your income. It’s more of an ammenity, to increase the service sale of out-of-town guests or gift-certificate recipients.
Multiple services as a series. Your series timing depends on how often someone needs to come in for a treatment. The advantage to this type of package is that it increases customer retention, because the person is going to come more often. If you structure a series so that treatments are performed within a specific time-frame, you will also have people coming more consistently. That benefits your client because they will have usually have better results (based on following your recommended treatment plan.) Series packages are a natural fit for most holistic health and beauty services.
Membership type packages. One type of membership package I’ve seen yoga studios use successfully is to charge by the month, instead of by the class. This type of program stabilizes the yoga studio’s income, but is is still a relatively small buy-in for the customer. A month is easy to commit to, but you can make them longer. Other businesses create a frequent customer type of package, with special perks or a built-in discount. You can upgrade member’s treatments, give them a small gift, invite them to exclusive members-only events, etc. The general idea here is that the customer is rewarded in some way for committing in the form of a membership.
Set the standard for a good basic package. You’re the expert! In your professional opinion, what services should be included for a good, basic package? Take a look at what services your average customer needs to get good results. If you add too many services, people won’t go for it. If it’s too few, it’s not worth the package discount you are providing. Make a good solid plan that most people would choose.
Create a full-service premium package. If someone really wanted to splurge and get the best of everything you do, what would you recommend? It should cost about 50% more than your basic package, and have a much higher perceived value. At this level of service, your customer should be able to relax knowing that you’ve thought of everything!
Provide incentives. What benefits do you want to build into your packages? Many businesses discount their packages, but I would rather see you think in terms of “value added” bonuses. You can upgrade treatments, or add in freebies. Estheticians can include a free eye treatment, paraffin dip, or special massage with a premium facial. Massage therapists can upgrade a regular massage to aromatherapy or hot stones. If you’re a teacher or coach of some kind, throw in a free book you’ve written, or provide a little bit of in-between session support. In a series type of package, include an extra one after they’ve bought a certain minimum number of treatments.
Keep it simple. You want to limit your packages to about 2 or 3 at the most. Some service providers go package-crazy and overwhelm their customers. Don’t make your customers wonder if they got the best deal or not. Make the decision easy for them. Clearly describe your packages in terms of the benefits. Why would someone choose one package over another? Remember, you still have your ala carte items on the menu too. So while options are good, too many choices can be stressful for people.
Make it attractive. Give your packages unique names that also meet the professional standard for your industry. For example, I remember not hiring an integrative physician because she had cutesy health packages named after flowers, like “The Daisy.” It didn’t fit with the more serious treatments she provided. Alternatively, some spa menus have packages named after flowers or a similar theme, and it really works! So make sure the names you choose for your packages suit the kind of work that you do and tie in with your brand image.
There are other ways that you can increase client retention, but a package or series builds it right into your service menu…while at the same time increasing results for your customers.
Jaya Savannah - Chief Inspiration Officer. Strategy Coach for Holistic Businesses. Trainer, speaker, and writer. Spiritually aware, yet street smart. Elephant lover.