With spas and medical spas opening up or on the cusp of reopening, it's time to reevaluate our customer service strategy in light of the changes in society and our daily lives. We cannot continue with the old styles of communication and customer care in a new, socially distant world.

Read my expert tips to learn five helpful pointers for making your clients feel close, even though we are forced to keep space between us.

1. You better be smiling under that mask.

Please don't think that just because your clients can't see your mouth that you don't need to be smiling. A warm welcome with a genuine smile will be felt through the mask and is exactly what your clients need to see.

Be sure to give your most heartfelt welcome as soon as clients arrive. Great your clients by name and give them explicit instructions on where to sit and how to be comfortable upon entering your space.

Many clients will be thrilled to be walking back into your spa, but some may look like a deer in the headlights: fearful and slightly stressed. It's your job to put them at ease the second they walk in the door and reassure them that they are in good hands.

We cannot blame clients that still feel apprehensive to visit businesses or spas where they could risk exposure. There is still a lot of fear in the air. So, it's crucial now more than ever that your clients feel instantly welcomed, looked-after and loved upon arrival.

2. Keep inter-staff conversations upbeat and to a minimum in front of clients.

This point was driven home for me just recently when I was in the checkout line at the grocery store. The cashier and the bagging person were so wrapped up in their own conversation that they barely acknowledged that I was standing in front of them. Moreover, because they were speaking incessantly to each other, I actually felt like I was being rude and interrupting them when I had to ask a question about one of my items.

This cannot and should not happen in the spa industry or any other service industry, for that matter. The role of your staff is to be attentive, conscientious and actively participating in all aspects of the clients' service experience.

On the other hand, when staff do engage in conversations, it's crucial that they stay upbeat and on neutral subjects. There are a lot of things happening in the world right now but work is not a place to discuss them! Ensure that staff are counseled on ways to create a relaxing and pleasing environment for clients and remind them that discussions amongst them and clients must remain cheerful and focused on work and customer care.

3. Navigate client conversations with care.

In these unusual times, there is no doubt that clients will have a lot to say about how they are feeling and what they are doing to cope. Most of us are not trained psychology professionals so we need to do our best to make clients feel listened to without crossing any professional boundaries. It's really best that we guide conversations back to the skincare, anti-aging or body care-related services that we are performing.

As much as it is tempting to allow clients to vent their worries and concerns: some of that is OK but too much can take away from the quality of their treatments. When conversation gets a bit too heavy, steer the dialogue towards the present moment with treatment specific questions regarding their skin, current at-home regimen, their comfort during the treatment, their goals for their skin going forward, etc.

Don't waste precious, constructive time with your clients wallowing and complaining; use it wisely and professionally to get their skin back on track and help them reach their goals moving forward.

4. Get creative with your hospitality.

It's important that we still do those special little touches that we did before the pandemic to make our clients feel pampered and spoiled. Many spas and salons traditionally had some water, teas, treats or even a glass of wine on offer in the waiting room.

Moreover, several clients enjoyed these snacks and beverages and looked forward to them as part of their spa experience. Since that is not currently an option, consider partnering with a local coffee shop or juice bar close by to your spa. Maybe they can offer your clients a discount code to pick up their beverage or snack before they arrive for their treatment. You could offer their staff a discount or giveaway in return. It's a win-win to support another local business in your area and make your clients feel pampered and taken care of.

If you prefer another approach, you can always mail treats directly to your clients' homes. So many retail shops, bakeries and restaurants are getting really creative with how their products reach customers these days, so perhaps you can partner with them to send some special treats directly to the homes of your beloved clientele.

The other thing that clients will be missing out on is sampling your skincare, serums and makeup displays. Most beauty and spa establishments are not putting out samples or testers right now. However, that doesn't mean that clients should miss out on this very important aspect of the retail experience.

Create some sampler bundles and gift them individually to clients when they pay for their service. These would also be another great gift to send in the mail. As I've mentioned in previous articles, it's crucial that you promote retail sales and sampling is a sure-fire way to do so.

5. Answer client questions before they're asked.

Clients have so many questions and it's no wonder why! We have all had to press the restart button of our businesses and there have been so many changes to our protocols, state, and local regulations. In light of this, it's absolutely key that you quell your clients fears and apprehensions and offer steady and concise information.

If you haven't already; update your FAQs on your website. Create a video outlining all of the common concerns that clients could have right now. Dedicate posts on social media to your current best practices and what you're doing to keep your clients safe and your facility clean. Clients need a lot of reassurance right now. If you want to create a wonderful experience for them, make sure that you have resources available, on every medium possible, to explain how you are caring for them in this new era.

Follow these five expert tips for creating a warm and welcoming customer experience in this new phase of the spa industry. Leading with a genuine smile; being cognizant of staff and client conversations; getting creative with hospitality; and amazing communication will bring your facility and services to the next level. We are all in this together, and a few important tweaks to our customer care plans will only make our clients feel safer and more loved.