I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes here, so please throw all your biases and horns out the window. I have developed courses on customer service and quality control, so I do have some background. And I’ve visited several spas in my lifetime. And yes, the customer is always right! Didn’t you know that?
First of all, the customer needs to be made to feel welcomed. If you are on the phone when she arrives, or you’re sweeping the floor, stop what you’re doing and focus all your attention on her(or him)! Smile brightly and call her by name. “Good morning, Brenda! It’s so nice to finally meet you. Welcome to my spa!” That is better than sweeping the floor, which should be done before opening time, and preferably the evening before, prior to leaving the premises. The seats should be colorful and comfortable, if you are going to ask the client to wait for the facial, manicure, pedicure, or treatment such as massage, reiki or reflexology. Do not seat the client in a cheap, hard, dusty chair. Magazines and/or best selling books should be available before, during and after the treatments.
Now if you have given the client a time for the relaxing treatment, don’t you think you will decrease any stress by starting on time. If there is an unforeseen problem, be very professional and offer tea or coffee or water. Some spas include a glass of wine or champagne. That’s fine if you are an upscale spa, that has the funds to do this. I’d be thankful for a cup of tea or glassof water and so, I believe, would be most clients. So if you are requiring someone to wait, be ready to be polite enough to have soft music, not blaring songs that you prefer, and offer a refreshment, free of charge.
In a spa, as in many other establishments, cleanliness is next to godliness. If the shelves, sinks, chairs, bathrooms, floors are dusty and dirty, many clients notice and this will be two trips in one-their first and last! So hire someone to clean for you, or make sure you are responsible enought to clean every square inch of the place yourself. I once sat down for a manicure at a spa, and saw clippings from someone else’s nails in the dish where mine were being placed. A real turn-off! Make sure you are keeping all towels and facecloths washed and odor free, and do not reuse items that would have bacteria from someone else’s skin on them, without de-sanitizing the items. A friend of mine once attended a training institution to learn all about working in a spa, and in the end quit because of the unsanitary policies. I believe she did receive her money back, or part of it anyways. I haven’t had any waxing done, but I believe some spa owners try to save money by reusing old wax or wax that has been used on someone else’s body. You might like to shed a little light on this topic.
The setup of the spa has to maximize space, but I believe it has to show good taste and be a comfortable and a restful setting. When I am there I should feel relaxed and not have to worry about anything. The person who is performing the treatment should treat me respectfully, explain what she is going to do, to alleviate any stress or uncertainty, and be gentle and professional in the way she gets me to undress, turn over, pass an arm, and so on. For many women, this is their first time at a spa and if they are not comfortable and treated properly, they may never venture into another one or be repeat customers.
Products such as creams, lotions, nail polishes, jewelry should not be shoved down someone’s throat. It should be the least thing the client has to think about. If the experience is a very positive one, the client is likely to look around or ask advice on a product. But putting the selling of products over the total experience of the spa treatment is selling your talents and spa short in the end. Do make sure you know the products you are using in your spa. Clients expect this, and ressuring them that these products are scent free and will not contribute to skin cancer are serious issues for many of them.
I once arrived at a spa in St. John’s to find out that the power was off. So my facial could not be done. My pedicure was done but I was not happy. I was seated beside a woman who would not stop talking about all the calluses on her feet, and how she had to frequent the spa once a month to get rid of it all. I like that the spa had only one room for pedicures, but couldn’t it be reserved for groups of three of four friends, not two total strangers who did not have a way out of the useless chatter and the overall enjoyment of the treatment. Perhaps the times could be changed, so that only one person could be treated at a time, as I walked away with happy feet but an unhappy mind. It was cluttered with this woman’s trials and tribulations. I came away more stressed than when I went in to the spa!
Communication is a big component of running a good spa. The employees need to have good communication skills. If I’m left on a massage table for 15 minutes and I have no idea what is happening next, I’m living with unnecessary stress. An explanation of what is involved in the treatment should be given to the client. After the initial consult and papers are signed, the reiki master or reflexologist might say “If you feel comfortable, please remove …..and cover up with a blanket. I”ll be waiting outside and I’ll knock to see if you’re ready.” A friend told me of how she was left with a heating pad on her back which was too hot for her and when the employee came back to the room, she was sitting up and not looking too happy. To be left alone for ten minutes with heat and no explanation is unacceptable.
Feedback should be a normal part of every visit. Verbal and written would be best. So “How was your treatment today? Did you enjoy it? HOw could we make your next visit better for you?” Speak with the clients and do not rush the part where the visit is concluded. You should not be interrupted with continuous phone calls. If you have a form that asks for feedback, you most likely will get honest answers, and something that you can bring to employees and discuss. Never be afraid to ask for feedback, as this will make the running of your spa better and customers will want to come back, if treated properly.
I’m sure I’ve missed many other topics but I feel that I’ve hit on many important issues in spas, especially the spas that I’ve been fortunate enough to visit. Good luck with the running of your spa, and if you have a comment, please leave it and I will respond. Thanks!
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