Planning An In-House Event- A Checklist

When did you have your last in-house event? If you can’t remember, it may be time to start planning something. Events can be great sales generators for clients both new and old. With simple planning any event can go seamlessly, and be lots of fun for all involved.

Here is a checklist for planning an event:Plan-Image

3 months :

  • Decide what type of event that you are doing, such as introducing new services, products, customer appreciation, fundraiser or service education.
  • Is there a charge for the event?
  • What are the goals of the event?
  • Decide on a budget and get help from vendors for giveaways.
  • Wil you offer shopping discounts, gift with purchase, live demonstrations, mini services?
  • Set the time and date.
  • Brainstorm marketing ideas.
  • Assign roles-who on your team is responsible for what area of the event?

2 months:

  • Work with your graphic designer or outside company to create all marketing materials needed for the event. Outline your digital marketing campaign and create internal marketing pieces.
  • Create a program and timeline for the event.
  • Start to think about giveaways for event.
  • Internally communicate the event to your staff.

3-4 weeks:

  • Display all internal marketing materials for the event, such as posters and POP signage.
  • If doing a mailing, send out now!
  • Start talking about the event on your social media platforms and with clients.
  • Call your clients to personally invite them to the event.
  • Ensure your staffing for the event.
  • Start your reservation list if it is space limited.
  • Order any additional products that you may need. Your retail areas should be fully stocked for event day.

Week of Event:

  • Review your reservation list.
  • Prepare any goody bags or giveaways.
  • Order flowers and hors d’oeuvre.
  • Confirm with vendors if needed.
  • Continue with your social media outreach.
  • Review the event with staff and that everyone knows their roles.
  • Clean every square inch of your facility.

Day of Event:

  • Set up facility, chairs and flowers and make sure all treatment areas are ready.
  • Do a walk through of the facility – everything should be perfect.
  • Make sure a list of all expected guests is ready for their arrivals.
  • Engage- make sure to tweet and Facebook!
  • Be sure to collect all the names and contact information of attendees.
  • Smile and have a successful event!

There is no need for any in-house event to feel stressful or harried. Pre-planning and communication are the keys to success. An event is a nice change of pace for all involved. When you have identified and determined the goals of your event, all that is left is the execution. Follow up with your attendees about the event and get their feedback. Post photos of event on your social media channels and thank all who attended.

How to Cultivate Customer Satisfaction

6a00e54ee3905b8833017ee9a08b73970dCustomer satisfaction is something that is earned through a single exchange between a customer and a  business. In the Cambridge dictionary customer satisfaction is described as: a measure of how happy customers feel when they do business with a company.  The big question is, how do we really know that the customer was happy with our services/products/experience? The obvious answer is to ask. Ask the customer about their experience and get feedback . Often clients are reluctant to share how they really feel, so offering a survey on-line through your website is an easy solution, or a follow-up phone call. As consumers we have all received survey requests with our sales slip, offering discounts for completing it in a specified period of time. Often we just dismiss these requests, however if you have developed a relationship with your customer, they will be more inclined to follow through.

Here are a few ways to help you cultivate customer satisfaction in your business:

1. Build a Relationship: It sounds easy enough but customer relationships start with the first phone call, and people may argue that they start earlier than that with your marketing and advertising. Getting to really know your customer and their needs and wants and cater to those requests. Remember that they called you! Don’t lose the chance to build your relationship immediately. How a customer is treated on the phone is an early predictor of how they will respond to you. If you haven’t already, get all your staff trained on telephone etiquette.

2. Getting Systematic Customer Feedback; As mentioned, feedback is critical to your business’s performance and the development of customer satisfaction. If you do not ask for customer feedback, it is time to start. You could be loosing customers and not even know it. Share feedback with your team and use it to improve how you do business. You can also use to generate your own survey that you can share with your clients.

3. Have Established Protocols for Customer Complaints/Resolution: Customer complaints and issues need to be dealt with quickly and effectively in a timely manner. No matter the situation that led to the complaint, a quick resolve is the best way to get your customer back. Although you can not predict every potential customer issue, having your staff trained on how to handle complaints properly is key.

4. Focus On Satisfying the Customer: Look at your operation and focus  on key areas where you can have the most impact with your customer. Your goal is to meet, anticipate and fulfill your customers needs. Find ways to go above and beyond  to satisfy your customer.

5. Take Care of Yourself: In order to have the best interactions with your customer and provide the best service, employees need to feel good about themselves. Employee burnout is a real issue and can have disastrous effect on your business. Make sure that all your staff/employees are presenting  their best selves, getting enough rest and exercise. Happy employees=Happy Customer.

These are just some ideas on how your can cultivate customer satisfaction in your business. Customer satisfaction is a process that involves your whole team, don’t let a good customer get away.



5 Effective Sales Strategies

Sales QuoteWhen people say they don’t know anything about sales, I say they are wrong. Everyone is involved in selling in some way every day, whether its “selling” dinner to your children, talking to your boss about a proposed project, or discussing policy changes with employees. We try to influence our audience with details, facts, descriptions and a desire for them to accept our proposal. How successful we are depends on many factors; information provided, how it is provided and how the message is delivered. It is often said that you get more bees with honey and that can be the case with how we approach sales.  Sales can cycle like the phases of the moon, but there are some strategies that you can implement that provide some consistency, no matter who is your audience.

Here are 5 strategies to remember in sales: 

  • Know your Product: Knowledge is power! If you don’t have product education, you can’t sell. Having detailed information about your products and services is critical to selling them. Clients know when you are scrambling for information. They want you to be the expert so they can trust your judgement. If you need product training, get it – no excuses.
  • Know your Customer: Who is your client? What are their needs? You should have a clear discovery process where you can uncover their needs easily. Clients want to feel like they are having a personalized experience. The first step to making the sale is to offer solutions that fill their needs.
  • Body Language: Use a level, friendly voice and speak with confidence. Make eye contact, smile and maintain a positive attitude.
  • Overcome the No: Turn objections around with providing additional information . You need to sell value over  price; features and benefits are what is important.  No one likes to feel pressured, so sampling is a great option, as long as you follow up.  At times, a no means no – that needs to be respected.
  • Attitude: Having a positive attitude is one the most important factors in sales. Radiating a positive attitude directly impacts your client and closing the sale. People know when someone if not truthful or unhappy in their job, and therefore will not want to do business with you.

Think about where your team’s weaknesses are in your customer sales cycle. You may need additional sales training, product knowledge, incentives and a new attitude about sales and your customer. Acara Partners are experts in sales and sales training. Contact our office to learn how Acara can get your sales on track. Call Colleen Acunzo at 203-488-0028 ext 305 or email

6 Tips For Handling Customer Complaints

Sharing thoughts and informationCustomers are the cornerstone of any business – they bring in the money,  act as your PR agency and help to build your brand. Building customer loyalty and trust takes time. Despite our greatest efforts to deliver excellent services and products, there are times when our clients may be unhappy.

Often, our management staff needs to “solve” a situation, on their feet, acting swiftly for a peaceful and agreeable solution. At Acara, we like to use the THANKS method to diffuse and resolve customer conflicts. It is an acronym for a set of actions that can easily help to resolve any customer situation.

T  :     Thank the customer for bringing the situation/problem to your attention.   Customers like to be heard – let them talk first and you listen.

  • 26 out of 27 customers who experience poor service do not complain, they just never come back.
  • Use the opportunity to build customer loyalty.

H  :     Hear the complaint fully without interrupting the customer. Listen carefully.

  • Be prepared to be the best listener in the world.
  • Keep yourself focused, you want information to lead to a solution.

A  :     Apologize for the inconvenience the customer has experienced.

  • You are not accepting blame, but acknowledging the customer’s displeasure and inconvenience.
  • Find a point that you can both agree on.

N  :     Need more information.  Sometimes the above may not lend you all the information that you need to make a reasonable and fair decision.

  • Encourage customer “Tell me more” or “Walk me through the situation.” 
  • Expand your customer’s knowledge.

K  :     Know a solution for the customer and be prepared to propose it.  If you don’t know the answer, go the extra mile to provide appropriate information in a timely manner.

  • Ask the customer how they would like the situation resolved. ” What can we do right away to get this situation straightened out?”

 S  :    Solve the problem or find someone who can. Be familiar with the company policy for returns and complaints.  There is nothing more irritating to a customer to have to wait for a result.  You want to provide immediate resolution to the conflict.

In handling any customer complaint you want to be sure that you take action and have follow through. Showing sincere interest and concern about resolving any situation is what the customer wants to hear, even if you can’t give them exactly what they want.  Be sure to give specifics about whatever action plan is developed, if immediate follow through is not possible, give specific dates and times the customer will hear from you. Follow up and follow through are the keys to developing and retaining customer trust and loyalty.

Who is Managing Your Social Profile?

e_socialmediaThere is no doubt about it, social media is in every square inch of our personal and professional lives. We depend on social media for researching products or services we are interested in, as well as looking to see what our “community” also thinks and feels about various  services and especially businesses.

An area that has seen an upward surge is how people use social media to research plastic surgery. Yes, they are looking on various social media platforms to research doctors, facilities and alike.  Plastic surgeons in particular have credited social media for a 31% increase in plastic surgery. So what does this mean for your business? What it means, is that how you interface on line with your community is critical to your brand and your business.

Here at Acara Partners we know how important a business’s social media profile is.  It is the difference between building and maintaining a client base and not having one at all. Our digital team uses the latest strategies in social media management , not only to build your inbound/outbound marketing practices, but to secure and maintain your social media footprint.  Acara fully implements best practices and understands the nuances of the medial aesthetic field, such as Hippa regulations.

You cant leave your reputation and business to chance. It is not enough to just post on Facbook and expect results. Strategy, design and content management are key components of  of a successful social media program.  If you are interested in a free consultation for your business, please contact Colleen Acunzo at 203-488-0028 ext 305.

Why Customers Don’t Return?

The answer to this question could be easy or complex. There are varying degrees of “tolerance” for every client and what could be a deal breaker for one person, may not be for another.  Personally, I know that there are some things that are deal breakers right from the get-go.  We have all had incidents of varying degrees in an array of businesses — issues that are out of the owner’s control and those for which they are responsible.  We tend have more tolerance for issues that are out of the owner’s control, however, those that “are” in their control are the deal breakers. 

Let’s run down the list of why a customer would not return to your business:

  1. Rude front desk staff
  2. Lack of information to make a decision
  3. Forceful or pushy sales team
  4. Lack of professionalism from staff
  5. Uninspiring facility and decor
  6. Dirty and unclean facility
  7. Unwelcoming facility and waiting areas
  8. Treatment rooms needed a facelift
  9. Outdated technology
  10. Lack of marketing materials
  11. Poor social media profile, such as website or Facebook accounts
  12. Tarnished online profile 
  13. Staff that comes across as too “sales-like” and not personal enough
  14. Difficulty to reach your business — location and parking issues
  15. Cost: is your pricing competitive with those in your marketplace?
  16. Poor product return and exchange policy
  17. Poor customer service

These are just a small sample of things that can drive a client away.  The biggest issue is that when someone has a bad experience they tell at least 10 people, but if they have a good experience they share it to only half of that.

So how can you ensure that your clients return?  There are a number of ways, but first you need to know why they didn’t return.  Reaching out to your clients post-treatment within 24 hours is a great way to get feedback and develop a relationship.  A 2011 American Express survey showed that 90% of customers prefer to resolve service issues by phone.  People tend not to like confrontation, therefore they would be more apt to talk on the phone than in person at your front desk.  Show your customers appreciation when they are in your facility and look at the above list, making sure that you are not in violation of any items.  If so it may be time for some retraining.

Customers are the “face” of your business — treat them with the courtesy and consideration they deserve .


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