Re-Opening Safely. Best Practices of Adjusting Client Flow and Procedures

@cryoprosunited May 11, 2020

 

This is a SUMMARY of exchange of information and opinions in Cryotherapy Professionals Group on Facebook between May 4 and May 10. We talked about the adjustments that the cryotherapy centers have been making in order to comply with the state or city rules and to ensure safety of clients and employees.

As you will see from this article, opinions on what is a reasonable safety precaution differ. Not only some countries or states have stricter rules than the others. It is also about the business owner’s beliefs and relationship with the clients. At any level, there is no consensus about what safety means in these circumstances, and there is no “one size fits all”, either.

While many people are scared and cautious about resuming their pre-crisis habits, others are eager to get back to their favorite treatments and thankful they can. As a result, some centers report their business being very slow post re-opening while others have full schedules to the maximum allowed capacity from day 1.

The bottom line is, you need to make a decision that reflects your beliefs and company culture and stick to it. Whatever you are doing, communicate and implement it with confidence.

SAY WHAT YOU DO AND DO WHAT YOU SAY.

Communication and marketing activities

Principle #1: Let clients know you are back and ready for them.

The more personal, friendly and encouraging you can be in this communication, the better. There definitely is a fatigue of coronavirus-related information, and people have grown immune to certain statements, including “we are in this together.” For this reason, do not overwhelm with long lists of formal safety procedures as your main message. “How have you been, we missed you” will be much better received.

Be positive and fun on social media. Post a “welcome back” video that does not look produced and polished – speak from your heart. There was an awesome example by Heather O’Neill, the owner of CryoFit Alamo Heights in San Antonio, TX, also showing all ways of how to book an appointment (revisit her post in Cryotherapy Professionals Group on May 10).

E-mail everybody on your list and/or use Messenger if that is how you have been communicating.

But, most importantly, call every client who has been active in the last 6 to 12 months, or so. Show that you remember them and care and invite them back. You could even have your calendar ready and take appointments on the go. Having a special offer + scarcity element (“our schedule is filling up fast”) may serve as an extra motivator. Here is CryoFit’s experience: “My staff called every single client that we have had active over the last year. I believe taking the time to do these things is VITAL for re-opening.”

Importantly, none of the above will cost you anything.  

Principle #2: Set clear expectations, but do not overstress the limitations.

The message should be client-centered and positive, despite of asking them to sit in the car, leaving all personal belongings behind and/or wearing a mask. Do not stress what you REQUIRE, point at the benefit for the client, instead. The same thing can be said in 2 different ways with just a little tweak.

Example of administrative, unfriendly language: “We ask that you wear a face mask when entering our facility and disinfect hands at the door.”

Example of the same message rephrased: “For your safety, we suggest that you come with your own mask already on. Once you come in, you will also see a stand with sanitizing wipes right at the door – grab one and use throughout your visit!”

Some cryotherapy centers are posting photos and videos of interacting with clients and cleaning on social media, especially Instagram, to illustrate what to expect:

 

Principle #3: Be creative in your campaign. Put emphasis on bringing back what people have been missing and play the “local business” card.

Just two weeks ago we witnessed an extremely successful “name your price cryo” campaign by John Zabojnik, the owner of Texas Cryoworks and Wellness in Waxahachie, TX. Without spending any money on marketing and accepting clients by appointment only, they managed to have the busiest days in the history of the business, an 1,5-hour waiting list and record revenue, as most people who came paid full price, while some who chose to stay at 50-75% of it were outweighed by the people who paid more than the regular ask. John called it an “interesting psychological experiment”.

New procedures

Because of social distancing requirements being lifted very gradually, all cryotherapy centers are implementing new scheduling procedures and adjustments in client flow management.

The most popular measure: switching to “by appointment only”.

Depending on the layout and the type of treatments offered, approaches differ from one business to another. Examples:

  • Only one client or members of the same family in the center.
  • 25% max capacity – no more than 6 people on premises at any given time, including staff.
  • Spreading out appointment slots to allow enough time for cleaning, from 15 to 30 minutes before consecutive treatments.

Requiring appointments seems to be becoming a new norm. Even busy traffic locations that were previously relying on walk-ins are successfully changing to pre-booking. Heather O’Neill reported: “Pre-Covid, about 50% of my business was walk-ins, so I was really worried that we would lose so much business. We offer WBC/Compression/Infrared Sauna/Vitamin IV drips/IM-s. But even with this many services, we were able to accommodate 48 appointments on Friday (10-7) and 34 on Saturday (9-4).”

Nevertheless, there are a few businesses still accepting walk-ins either only for cryotherapy or for all offered services. It all depends on what you can pull off from the organization perspective without appearing negligent, but, most importantly, on what you feel comfortable with and can “sell” to your audience.

Common approach: eliminating on-site waiting.

Many businesses currently require that clients wait in their cars until their appointment time comes and they are invited inside. It is also common to request leaving personal belongings behind.

At Norspring, every client gets escorted through the facility from arrival till departure

Some businesses have limited the number of available services to make management of appointments and flow easier.

About 15% of business owners say that they do not currently offer all services in their portfolio. The other 85% have decided to go all in.

Sanitization

More cleaning and surface sanitizing is now part of every business’s daily routine.

The spread-out client flows and longer breaks between consecutive treatments allow more time for wiping surfaces between every two visits and cleaning doorknobs, and hand sanitation stations have also been installed everywhere.

Some businesses have taken a few steps further. For example, Chicago-based CryoEffect BodySpa Freeze Fix has trained all employees in safety, cleanliness and sanitation at the same level nurses get trained and implemented procedures observed at medical and dental practices.

A few locations report bathroom use restrictions and even require cryo clients to come in already dressed for the cryochamber, in shorts and tank tops, to eliminate a need for a changing room.

Cryo-X has installed shield screens in their injection room to allow for communication between the client and the nurse without breathing on one another.

We also see some checkout routine adjustments to minimize the need to use terminal’s touch pad or to sign on the tablet screen.

Protective gear

Some cities have made wearing masks mandatory, others have not; so, despite of CDC general recommendation to wear a mask in public we see a wide range of approaches, such us:

  • All employees and clients wear masks all the time.
  • Employees are only required to put a mask on for some contact treatments.
  • Clients are required to come in wearing their own masks.
  • Clients are provided with masks – disposable for free or branded washable for free or at a surcharge.

 

From the group discussions we see that about 60% of businesses have their employees and clients wear masks, about 8% only use masks for close contact services, and the rest do not require mask wearing, as there is an ongoing argument about having a mask on all day long being unhealthy and protection against coronavirus being insufficient.

A discussion about gloves for cryo shows that business owners are seeking solutions that put less strain on washing or sanitizing after every client. Fingertips do not require protection as heavy as feet, allowing for flexibility. Preferences differ from using disposable gloves inside wool mittens to prevent contact and make reuse possible to switching to lighter, easier washable and/or bleachable items.

Pat Kendall suggests a product that is not expensive and has served her well:

 

Cabela’s and some other brands are also in use.

Location owners disagree with each other when it comes to requiring that clients bring their own PPE vs providing everything on site.

Some businesses, especially in Europe, believe that their clients will feel safer if washing their items at home and being the only users.

A French center, Norkapp, only provides protective gear upon request, while the policy encourages people to use their own.

Italian The Longevity Suite sells branded kits (including a headband, mask, top, shorts, gloves and socks) that then become clients reusable’ set of personal wearables.

This approach raises questions among US cryotherapy providers, from safety concerns from choosing insufficiently protective material or having it damp to thinking that this would enable clients to bring in more germs from the outside environment.

This discussion just proves that, without a sound fact base and meaningful common regulations in place, business owners can (and will) have their own way to handle the situation, and the most important aspect is their ability to reach an agreement with their client base about the measures being reasonable and sufficient. Clients need to feel safe and secure, while we take care of their wellness and wellbeing. Both overkill and lack of consideration may turn out to be harmful.

Attached below are two actual current procedures, kindly provided by Sense Float Cryo Spa and Curt Read, the owner of Chill Cryosauna.

Two examples of actual current procedures, shared “as is”

Sense Float Cryo Spa:

 

Chill Cryosauna

To protect our clients and employees, the following procedures are in place.  These procedures have been coordinated with our insurance company to obtain additional advice and recommendations, to prove to them we are doing everything we can to reduce contamination and to reduce liability (cost).

1. All appointments are scheduled (by appointment ONLY, no walk ins).

  • We tell them to wear a face mask at all times.
  • To leave all items in the car.
  • Pay by credit card then (to reduce time in the office and handling of possible contaminated items).
  • Clients are asked to text us from the parking lot when they arrive.

2. When they arrive:

  • When we are ready, we text them to come to the door.
  • We ask if have been felling OK.
  • If they have been in contact with anyone, they know that may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
  • We take their temp at the door before entering (digital on forehead 93 F or below).
  • If b, c or d are not acceptable we ask them to reschedule for a later date.
  • We spray their hands with our sanitizer. (We make and sell disinfectant, one of our revenue generating modals.  Helped defray our losses.)
  • All clients must wear a mask at all times. (We provide if they do not have.)

3. Employees:

  • Wear:
    • N95 face mask.
    • gloves.
    • safety glasses.
  • Constantly and periodically wash their hands with our disinfectant.
  • To protect themselves when leaving by spraying their clothes, shoes, hair, face (everything) with our disinfectant.

4. After treatments we:

  • Provide a glass (or more) of drinking water (that we make) to re-hydrate.
  • Have them gargle with our disinfectant. (Kills bacteria and viruses).
  • Disinfect the area they were in with our sanitizer. (change rooms, chamber, restroom, door handles, etc.)
  • Spray the area with our disinfectant.
  • Mist the air with our disinfectant. (Clears the air of any airborne pathogens, connects them sending them to the ground and kills.)

5. Asked the landlord to change the air filters every month with MERV-11 filters.

6. Coordinated with our insurance provider (to solicit any additional measure’s and obtain assurance of our process.)

NOTE:  Disinfectant does not need to be wiped off, it can air dry.

 

THANK YOU for contributing to this content goes to all business owners who shared and commented: Heather O’Neill, Sense Float Cryo Spa, Susanna Zapponi, Claud Serre, Bill Emendorfer, Alicia Michelle, John Zabojnik, Dave Seal, JoBeth Loreman, Rivanna Cryotherapy Recovery Center, Marcus Wilson, Jessica Barclay, Lorren Belakjon, Pat Kendall and Curt Read.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION. We address industry-specific topics weekly. Cryotherapy Professionals Group on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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