Did you know that wellness is a $1.5 trillion industry globally? As the economy slowly recovers from the COVID-19 crisis, consumer spending and interest in personal wellness are once again on the rise.
However, the market is still extremely competitive and crowded — and the only real way to be profitable is to make sure that your brand connects with customers on a deeper level.
For wellness franchise owners or district managers, one of the best ways to do this is to offer exceptional customer experiences consistently. In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can offer a consistent experience to your clients across all your spa locations or wellness facilities.
Let’s dive in.
1. Build a strong brand identity
Regardless of the physical location, your clients will expect a consistent experience from a spa or wellness clinic that carries your name. The first step towards that is to build a strong brand identity for your wellness franchise.
Since your services are essentially intangible in nature, you must reinforce your brand identity through visual elements like the color scheme and décor at each of your locations. In other words, you need to make sure that the look and feel across every spa or wellness clinic in your franchise is consistent and on-brand.
However, in the absence of proper guidelines, you can’t expect your franchisees to remain on-brand. You must establish and share a clear set of instructions and guidelines that cover everything — from colors, fonts, and logos, and styles to the voice and tone to be used for marketing.
The right voice and tone can accentuate your brand personality and give it the desired positioning. As such, you need to ensure that it’s consistent across all channels including websites, social media accounts, promotional emails, and ads created by your franchisees.
Besides sharing clear examples of best practices and how to stay on-brand, you should also share adequate examples of what not to do. This will help you ensure that each of your wellness franchises seems like a natural extension of your brand so that clients can recognize it instantly.
2. Standardize your operating procedures
Just like the visual elements of your brand, having well-defined operating procedures also plays a vital role in creating consistent customer experiences. Wellness clinics and spas provide a very intimate and personalized experience to clients. So, the need to maintain a certain standard in operating procedures is paramount.
Establishing standards of operation can help your franchisees avoid unpleasant customer experiences. For example, clients often complain about rushed treatments, ineffective pressure, bad staff hygiene, unprofessional approach, and disorganized experiences at massage clinics.
Any of these unpleasant and off-putting experiences can reflect negatively on your brand if left unchecked. That’s why it’s important to share your standard operating procedures (SOPs) with your franchisees. This should include guidelines on client interactions, staff dress code, cleanliness, hygiene, scheduling appointments, prepping before services, and cleaning up after.
3. Conduct regular training sessions for franchisees
As discussed earlier, SOPs are essential in creating a pleasant and consistent customer experience across every location of your wellness franchise. However, you must also train, orient, and sensitize the staff at your franchises so that they internalize the essence of your brand. After all, these are the people who play the most critical role in maintaining your image.
As Marcin Stryjecki, SEO Project Manager at Booksy, puts it, “Gaining this consistency all starts with a really solid training and development program for staff as this significantly helps to maintain a standard of excellence across multiple venues.”
Training must address why it’s important to stay on-brand, the consequences of not doing so, and how it can impact a franchisee’s bottom line. Effective training will enable your franchise staff to adhere to your values and demonstrate consistent levels of excellence in communication, client interaction, scheduling/managing appointments, and checkout.
The wellness industry relies heavily on the skills and expertise of its employees. To ensure that each of your locations offers a consistent experience to clients, you need to conduct regular face-to-face training sessions for your staff. These sessions should not only focus on helping them improve their craft but also their interpersonal skills and etiquette.
Although this may involve a significant investment of time and resources, it will go a long way in helping your wellness franchise live up to its reputation. Any compromise on staff training will almost certainly reflect poorly on your brand image and deter clients from coming back to you.
4. Ask clients for their feedback
In the wellness industry, clients want to be treated with a good amount of care and attention. They want you to listen to their needs, understand, and address them appropriately. If you’re able to do this well, you’re sure to win their loyalty and increase your chances of getting repeat business.
To that end, see to it that your wellness franchisees proactively seek the customer’s feedback and act quickly if something needs to be fixed. Asking for feedback will not only enlighten you about issues that negatively affect their experience but also contribute greatly to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
However, clients are often hesitant to share their feedback in person, so you should open up multiple communication channels/platforms where they can freely share their thoughts. Ask your franchisees to ensure that their websites are responsive and optimized for mobile devices.
Social media facilitates two-way communication with your clients and can offer a goldmine of feedback. Ensure that your franchisees monitor their social media accounts regularly for such conversations and provide timely responses to them. If you want to be perceived as an approachable and responsive brand, you must listen keenly and act swiftly.
5. Have strong leaders in all your locations
Systems, policies, and documented procedures are all essential, but it also takes great leaders to enforce them.
“Consistency truly is the holy grail to a multi-location spa business. Streamlining all treatments, marketing, training, and customer service are just a few elements that help in keeping the business successful, but more important is the daily follow-up via management,” says Amal Elbahnasawy, Foundress at ARTISANskin.
Amal emphasizes the importance of “having a strong leader on the floor each day ensuring that those elements are being put into place as well as putting out any ‘fires’ that might appear throughout the work day.”
She adds, “Anyone who has worked at a spa knows how important it is to resolve any issues quickly and thoroughly. It really comes down to leadership implementing a consistent management style that matches the branding of the spa.”
6. Communicate, communicate, communicate
“Communication between locations and those establishing expectations is crucial,” says Kristen Pechacek, Chief Growth Officer at Massage LuXe.
“It’s extremely important that locations have visibility into the brand’s mission, goals, and changing standards. If the locations feel bought into the ‘why’ behind brand decisions they will feel a responsibility to uphold the brand and customer experience,” she adds.
So, make it a point to establish clear and open communication practices across your organization. Touch base with teams regularly, welcome input from your franchisees, and ensure that everyone is in the loop with all important company updates.
For best results, use a robust platform like Compliant IA to manage all your internal comms. Compliant IA’s teamwork and collaborations platform enable you to send messages and share photos and documents from anywhere, so you can touch base with teams with ease. The solution is entirely cloud-based so you can access the features, files, and information you need no matter where you are.
7. Audit and inspect regularly
An essential part of managing a wellness franchise (or any franchise for that matter) is to ensure that your franchisees are following your standard operating procedures in letter and spirit. You can accomplish this through regular checks and audits to monitor compliance.
This can not only help you address any issues that prevent you from offering consistent experiences to clients but also help you plan your training needs. While you must address problems quickly, you should also recognize and reward your franchisees who demonstrate a high degree of compliance with your SOPs.
When it comes to preserving the sanctity of your brand, any amount of effort is worth it. Fortunately, however, there are solutions that can greatly minimize your effort but still produce stellar results.
Audit solutions from Compliant IA can help you share customized operations, safety, or merchandising checklists with all your franchisees from a single platform. You can even attach photos and documents to demonstrate best practices in cleaning, sanitation, and maintaining your brand standards.
Managing a successful wellness franchise requires a comprehensive strategy and seamless execution. What makes it all the more challenging is the highly personalized experience that your clients demand.
Your franchisees may often be tempted to change up the way of running things, and it is your job to make sure they don’t dilute the brand promise. This requires communicating a clear set of brand guidelines, standardizing your operating procedures, training your staff, and conducting regular audits to ensure compliance with standards.
A trusted wellness brand is not built overnight — it is often a time-consuming and assiduous process. When you deliver services with a consistent level of excellence, customers are sure to return and bring you more repeat business.
About the author:
Francesca Nicasio is retail expert, B2B content strategist, and LinkedIn TopVoice. She writes about trends, tips, and best practices that enable retailers to increase sales and serve customers better. She’s also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores.