Scott Clark Owner, The Spa and Sauna Co. 5 locations in Nevada and California
We realized during the aftermath of the last recession that we needed to mitigate the effects of an economic downturn. Our business was almost entirely reliant on new spa sales to sustain the business. We had always offered to drain and clean hot tubs but not in an organized fashion. If anything, we almost dreaded the calls, as we had no plan to deal with the fulfillment of the service.
Several years ago, we developed a plan to systematically grow our valet services. We now have a host of options for customers to choose from. Our most popular plans include monthly visits as well as regular draining, plumbing purges, cleaning and filling. Customers can choose to pay monthly or receive a discount for paying for a year at a time, with auto-renewals.
In many ways, selling the service is the easy part. Customers want someone else to maintain their big-ticket purchases. Most folks don’t change their own oil or even wash their own cars. Hot tubs are no different.
The real challenge is offering a consistent experience for our customers. Employee training and turnover in the valet department is a real challenge, and we have found that constant reinforcement of training and performance expectations — along with continuous recruiting — are keys to keeping our customers happy and their hot tubs ready to use. Customer retention is a vital part of creating a real recurring revenue stream to the company.
The real benefit of creating a solid valet department comes in the form of customer loyalty. When our customers are seeing us every month and speaking with our employees on a regular basis, they remember us. When their spa looks brand new three or four years after purchasing it, they tend to use it more. Customers who use their spa and remember where they bought it from also tell their friends about us. Our valet customers are our best advocates and send us the most referrals.