best practices ... customer service
Clients come into the spa for all sorts of reasons—to feel better, look better, relax, rejuvenate and recharge. Now you can add a surprise addition to that list: to socialize. "The spa has become the new bar," reports Colorado spa consultant Melinda Minton. "People go there to be with friends; singles go to meet singles. This trend cuts across age groups. We don't have barn raisings, we don't do church the way we used to and our families live all over the country. People go to the spa to feel like they're part of something. That's a big switch."
One way to encourage group bonding is to do waxing out in the open. "Wax bars are popping up everywhere," says Canavino. "It's only facial waxing, mostly brows. People are comfortable with that. And it allows the spa to introduce the client to other waxing services."
One of Canavino's clients installed a wax/skin care/make-up bar in the lobby. "You can see it from every department of the salon and spa," Canavino reports. "The client can get her brows done at the bar, but has to go to the spa area for all other waxing. It works phenomenally."
That movement from one area to another is what Canavino calls "client flow," and she says it's essential to the client experience. No longer can a spa sit back and have the client come in, get a service, pay and leave.
"Make it a structured experience," Canavino recommends. "That will make a big difference in building business." Tightly plan every aspect of the visit, she advises. The flow begins with the "culture welcoming," followed by a service that allows the client to choose complementary services that the technician suggests. After that, Canavino builds in relaxation time, retail time and prebooking the next visit. Best practice also requires keeping detailed client records. Not only will you track clients' habits and preferences, but you'll be able to identify your top-spending clients and put your customer service efforts toward their needs. Typically, 20 percent of clients visit the spa once a week and bring in the bulk of the revenue. "The big mistake spa owners make is paying more attention to the 80 percent than the 20 percent," says Minton. "They take their best people for granted." No matter how much of a customer service stickler you
are, there will always be some dissatisfied clients. Like every other best practices procedure, handling complaints requires
a solid plan.
"Spas should have one person, someone in management, who addresses all serious problems," Canavino says. "Clients don't want to repeat their complaint to three different people; this also helps your staff, who won't have to invent solutions themselves."