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Vanessa Bird, The Aesthetic Consultant: “Focus on the smaller things too”

Focus on the smaller things too. By this I mean the small details that all add up to play a big part of the WOW Customer Experience. Print invoices out on quality paper, folding them into an envelope before they leave rather than hastily printing something out on cheap paper. Offer water in cut glass tumblers […]

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Focus on the smaller things too.

By this I mean the small details that all add up to play a big part of the WOW Customer Experience. Print invoices out on quality paper, folding them into an envelope before they leave rather than hastily printing something out on cheap paper. Offer water in cut glass tumblers rather than a paper cup. Select a signature fragrance for your business so they are reminded of good experiences with you every time they smell it. Welcome your customer by name rather than waiting for them to tell you their name (possible when you have a booking system). These may not seem important on their own but they all add up to really elevate the experience for your customer.


As part of our series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vanessa Bird, The Aesthetic Consultant. The Aesthetic Consultant®️ understands the challenges faced by successful aesthetic practitioners and clinics as she coaches them to succeed in a competitive market. Vanessa builds world-class Luxury Patient Experiences, dramatically increases revenue for her clients and enhances their positioning and reputation in the aesthetic medical arena. Visit www.theaestheticconsultant.co.uk to find out more.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I’ve worked in the aesthetic medicine sector for years, starting off as a sales rep selling high-end capital equipment to doctors and surgeons that made people look ‘younger and thinner’. As I grew to understand the different technologies available in this fast-moving sector, I also realised what made one practitioner or clinic stand head-and-shoulders above the rest and it wasn’t just their skill or knowledge. I soon learned the most effective ways to promote a business, how best to communicate with customers to understand their needs and how being reachable, efficient and honest would elevate me above everyone else. It was only a matter of time before I created my own consultancy business working exclusively in aesthetic medicine to pass on this knowledge to my clients to ensure they reach their full potential too.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Gosh, it’s down to pricing. Initially I had no idea how to price up my services as I offer a very unique consultancy and there was no-one else offering something similar for me to base my own prices on. I soon learned I had undervalued my skills and knowledge and for a while I really undercharged people. I also found I was so keen to help people that I would give away considerable value during a ‘free exploratory call’ which should have been chargeable, then wondered why they never hired me? Well they didn’t need to did they? I had given them what they wanted for free. I’ve since learned how valuable my skills and services are and charge accordingly.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I learned a lot from the U.K’s leading aesthetic doctor, Dr Rita. Over the years I picked up so much valuable information on how to be successful in business and saw first hand how willing she was to share that information with me and also with other doctors who ‘could’ be her competition. She understood that you always need to be ahead of the curve when it comes to the next new treatment, the new spin on aesthetics or the latest technology. She taught me that sharing information is beneficial for everyone and that creativity in business plays a huge part in your success. She is such a strong business woman as well as an aesthetic doctor I feel privileged to have spent so much time learning from her.

Thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?

Without a great customer experience, you’re quite literally blending in with everyone else and positioning yourself in a market where customers will simply compare you on price or location, and who ever becomes successful by undercutting everyone else until margins are to the bone? Providing exemplary customer care from the moment your customer first reaches out to enquire to long after they have made a purchase with you is the only way to ensure customer retention, word of mouth advertising and referrals. It’s also a much more pleasurable working day when you go above and beyond to make your customers feel special, valued and wanted. Who doesn’t want to make people smile? Your team will enjoy their working environment so much more when they see customers enjoying the experience of buying from you or visiting your business.

We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?

It’s all down to the company view on what makes good customer care and what their customer experience should look like. Your company should have a customer journey that has key touch points throughout where staff are taught how to elevate the experience and ensure the customer has an enjoyable visit and experience. Regular staff training on the standards required from simple greetings to assisting the customer should take place until it becomes second nature to everyone. Explaining to your team WHY good customer service is important and how it can benefit them as staff as well as the customer should be communicated regularly so that your staff are onboard with it and are as passionate as possible about delivering this experience. So many companies fail to prioritise this as they do not make the link between a WOW customer experience and customer retention, an increased spend and repeat business.

Do you think that more competition helps force companies to improve the customer experience they offer? Are there other external pressures that can force a company to improve the customer experience?

Sadly no, I do not think more competition forces standards to improve. If a company fails to see the importance of building their reputation on a strong foundation of good customer care and a memorable customer experience then why would they even think to step up to the plate if there is more competition? The only thing that can potentially make a company stop and rethink their customer experience strategy is continual losses. A loss of repeat business, a drop in average sales value, poor reviews on Google or other websites can sometimes be the wake top call they need, but sadly the damage has already been done and now you are fire fighting your poor reputation.

Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?

I was hired to help find a suitable piece of equipment for my client that would offer long-lasting treatments and make the clinic money. Not only did I find the best fit for their clinic, I also managed to negotiate a very attractive package deal saving them thousands off the list price, got my client a ‘Clinic of Excellence’ status to make them stand out (awarded by the equipment manufacturer) and even had their delivery fast-tracked over others. My client was thrilled with how easy the whole experience had been working with me and how I had pre-empted their request to save money and time. Receiving Clinic of Excellence status was the cherry on the cake for them as it generated a lot of PR and attracted new patients.

Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?

It certainly did. That client now comes to me any time they are looking for new equipment as well as hiring me for other business services and have referred three new customers to me. They are my cheerleaders.

Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Make Everything Easy For Your Customer.

Your customer should never be chasing you to spend money with you. They should never find themselves emailing or calling you to check on the whereabouts of a delivery, or find out that they have been double booked and your staff tells them to ‘call back later’. Being your customer should feel effortless as well as enjoyable. Pre-empt their every move and keep one step ahead of them. Provide details of public transport links and parking if they are a first-time traveller to you. Send reminders of appointments or bookings so they don’t forget. Make sure they have no confusion over fees or payments and think ahead to their next visit and prepare accordingly. Have any goods gift wrapped ready for when they leave so they don’t have to wait around. You get the idea.

2. Create an ‘end to end’ Customer Experience that maintains high standards of customer care throughout that journey.

The WOW Customer Experience shouldn’t just start when they arrive at your premise. Stand out from the rest and show just how much you value your customers from the moment they make contact to long after they leave. Follow up with them to make sure they are happy. Listen to feedback and act quickly to rectify any issues. Ensure your whole team know protocols and how to deliver the same high standard of Customer Experience at all stages of the journey. If any part of the customer experience falls below the standard be quick to identify it and rectify it.

3. Individualize the experience.

If your customer has a favourite table or room they like to book, make a note of it and offer it to them. If you know what their usual drink is, have it ready when they sit down. If you know they had a special event they were attending last time you spoke, show them you remember and ask them about it. If they always like to try things before anyone else, make sure they have access to early bird deals and information. If your customer doesn’t like small talk, make sure your team know this and don’t make them feel uncomfortable by chatting. Take time to remember what they do and don’t like and be consistent every time they visit.

4. Focus on the smaller things too.

By this I mean the small details that all add up to play a big part of the WOW Customer Experience. Print invoices out on quality paper, folding them into an envelope before they leave rather than hastily printing something out on cheap paper. Offer water in cut glass tumblers rather than a paper cup. Select a signature fragrance for your business so they are reminded of good experiences with you every time they smell it. Welcome your customer by name rather than waiting for them to tell you their name (possible when you have a booking system). These may not seem important on their own but they all add up to really elevate the experience for your customer.

5. Enjoy the process.

Your team should be fully trained on delivering the same high levels of customer service at all stages of the journey so that your customer enjoys the WOW Customer Experience every single time they visit or connect with you. Your team should also understand WHY it is so important to work this way and enjoy offering such a pleasurable and efficient service. When your team are genuine and enjoy what they do your customers pick up on it and this is one thing you cannot fake. Make sure everyone enjoys the process.

Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well?

If you consistently deliver the WOW experience and take time to recognise the customer for their loyalty; if you ensure everything runs smoothly, that any complaints are dealt with quickly and their voices are heard, your customers will automatically talk about you and refer you to their friends and family. Sadly it is now so rare for people to receive such a high level of service it is something of a conversational topic; one that works to your advantage if you do it well. There’s no harm asking for feedback after a visit by sending an email to find out how you did and providing the link for Google Reviews either. Or perhaps creating a loyalty programme so customers who refer people to you can collect points to trade in for products or services. Hey, sometimes just asking the customer if they know of anyone else who may benefit from your services can get you some referrals straight away.

My particular expertise is in retail, so I’d like to ask a question about that. Amazon is going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?

Forget about competing in price wars. Nobody wins! Instead identify what your USP is. How do you stand out? Are there other parts of the retail experience you can focus on that will make it a pleasurable experience to shop with you regardless of cost? Perhaps you have really Instagram-worthy packaging and a catchy hashtag that people feel compelled to post about? We all have favourite restaurants, hotels or shops that cost a lot more than others and are often further away that closer competitors and yet we still make time to go because of how we are treated and how enjoyable the whole experience is. Never lose sight of the importance of how you make someone feel. Remove any barriers or concerns about shopping with you, make the experience problem-free and delightful and you will thrive.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would teach the importance of valuing your team or staff and taking the time to understand what motivates and drives them. Motivated staff who feel listened to and valued by their employers always go the extra mile. They are loyal, passionate about what they do and it radiates out of them which makes the whole experience more pleasurable for the customers.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Please follow @theaestheticconsultant on Instagram, add me via The Aesthetic Consultant Facebook Page or even follow me on Linked In (Vanessa Bird). I would love your readers to interact with me.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


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