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Customer Service--It's in the Details

By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: April 23, 2008, from the September 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Very infrequently do I have a bad spa experience. However, one spa really illuminated the necessity of customer service in this industry, not to mention the fact that often it is the little details that count.Now, this facility was lovely, and my technician was great, as were the products used, however it was those small details that prevented it from being a positive encounter for me. These wouldn’t be found in a textbook or learned in esthetic courses, so I felt it was important to mention them—the little things that help add up to the complete, positive spa experience.
     For starters, I arrived at the spa early to peruse its boutique, which came highly recommended. I always like to look at spa retail areas to see what innovative ideas are out there for marketing and retailing. The shop had closed a full 90 minutes before its published closing time; no explanation was given as to why. Right there was a potential sale lost.
     Instead, I was led into the locker room to change and was invited to relax while I waited for my appointment. It was clean and well-appointed, however the robes did not take the local climate into consideration, and I had to help the woman next to me with her locker combination because the numbers were too small for her to read. After making my way to the relaxation lounge—a path that takes all spa-goers from the locker room back through the public spa lobby and finally through more doors to the lounge—I sat down in a reclining chair only to discover that it was nearly impossible to maneuver. A fellow spa guest showed me how to use it after watching me fumble for five minutes. The woman across from me finally gave up trying to figure it out and went to seek an attendant for assistance. Because I was one of the last appointments of the day, the lounge was fairly depleted of its supply of magazines to read. Instead, I decided to sit back and enjoy the quiet—which was broken not once, but three times—by a young male attendant who loudly slapped a replenishment of magazines onto the various lounge tables.
     My technician did arrive on time, cheerfully introduced herself and led me to the treatment room; however, she explained the service to me with the door wide open and lights fully lit. Once the door finally was shut, the treatment was well-done and quite pleasant; however, easing me into the atmosphere would have been my preference.  
     Imagine my surprise at the conclusion of this treatment to have the lights turned on and to be told that my bill was sitting on the counter, with a pen, no less, waiting to be signed. The therapist pointed it out and said she’d be waiting outside the door for me. This completely ruined the moment of post-treatment bliss and any positive effects that my treatment could have had. So, sales slip in hand, I rejoined the therapist waiting for me. Even though it was still during spa hours, and even though I’d been told by the receptionist that I could stay and enjoy the facilities until the spa closed for the evening, when I left the treatment room I was told that all of the refreshments had been put away for the evening, and noticed that the lights in the relaxation room had been turned off. So I returned to the locker room, where I was again quickly whisked out for the evening.
     Did I leave relaxed? Certainly not. Would I return to that spa? No—especially when it was located in an area with many other reputable spas of equal caliber. How many other clients that day had the same type of experience?
So often it’s those little things that you don’t always think about that make the spa experience what it is for the client—it goes beyond the treatment being done or the years of training the therapist has had. Customer service encompasses the entire spa experience. Don’t lose sight of the details.

Until Next Time,
Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Editor in Chief