Spas are known as a haven of renewal and rejuvenation. In that spirit, spa patrons have high expectations for the care they receive, both in and out of the treatment space. In last month’s Pulse, four ISPA members imparted their wisdom about providing excellent customer service. The guest experience is a topic close to the hearts of all spa professionals; following are additional comments from industry experts about the value of a customer-centric approach.
WOWING CLIENTS IS A TEAM EFFORT
“Every guest is important,” says Stephanie Doud of ReadyCare Industries. “Customers have many spas where they could go; we want them to return because of the amazing service offered to them.”
Uberlube’s Cheryl Sloane agrees that an extraordinary experience is a spa mandate, and she has found a full-team approach is helpful. “Customer service comes from the top,” she says. “We need to believe in our team and trust them to make decisions and handle problems. Then, we need to show the team that management has their backs—and always be available for customer service issues. It is never a mistake to have good engagement with your customers.”
Christina Mangiante of Body Bliss believes “each spa director knows how to train their staff on basic customer service, sales and conversational skills at a level that works for them.” And the rewards are great: “Repeat clients, word of mouth referrals, increased gratuities, complimentary reviews will all happen organically with fantastic customer service,” she says.
Data drives the world. That corporate truism has been a given for the lifetime of anyone leading a company today—but especially over the past two decades, when the sophistication level of data collection, analysis and utilization has overtaken every other business tool to the point data is ingrained in our every action.
For organizations in the spa industry, “data is being generated at an ever-increasing pace,” says Cecilia Hercik, director of spa and wellness for The Spa at Sea Island. “It can be overwhelming if you’re not ready for it. But it’s so important to running a business: Data can contribute to your company’s strategies”—from staffing and scheduling to marketing and client relations, from product development and service offerings to budgeting and branding.
The spa is an oasis of serenity where guests should enjoy a tranquil escape: one designed to free them from stresses and encourage them to focus on wellness. While many spa professionals and their customers might agree with that sentiment, the specifics of the experience they envision are far from unanimous.
A common culprit in the debate over an ideal spa environment is personal technology devices. Does an incoming text message or email alert diminish and detract from spa’s promise of a temporary escape? Or does scrolling social media or multi-tasking increase and intensify the benefits of an hour- or day-long getaway?
From spas advertising a strict “digital detox” to facilities offering high-speed wi-fi as a market differentiator, perspectives abound on appropriate electronic device policies. Hear from four ISPA members as they discuss their spas’ “digital disconnection” strategies and share insights about guests’ preferences.
Delivering a Wow Experience – How to Create Exceptional Service Habits
By Dr. Bryan Williams
It all begins with a thought. Thoughts turn into words, words turn into behaviors, and behaviors turn into habits. In fact, anything we consistently do will become a habit. Napoleon Hill wrote: “Thoughts are things, and powerful things at that.” It generally takes anywhere between three to four weeks of daily repetition to form a habit, but once it’s formed, it is very difficult to not do it. The mind doesn’t know if it’s a good or bad habit. Your mind just accepts whatever you feed it, and the habits ensue. To deliver a consistently exceptional service experience, there must be habits that are hardwired throughout your entire team.
How do you make sure your spa stays relevant with the changes we’ve experienced in the past several years?
Touchless therapies have become popular—especially during and since the Covid pandemic. While acknowledging that “it can be scary to embrace technology,” Emyln Brown offered hope that “it can also lead to change,” and the panel shared ways new technology can be a positive change for spas.
Amanda Al-Masri finds “more people are interested in wellness, but we have less people to work” and advises spa leaders to “embrace touchless therapies, as it’s a great way to add revenue. Hands-on therapies are still very important and should not be replaced, but the touchless helps amplify results.”
“Touchless is complementary to human interaction,” agrees Simon Marxer. “Being able to offer a broad menu is sound business.”
In many industries, companies follow one of two “go to market” strategies: focus on providing extraordinary customer service, or emphasize low prices. While most busnesses make efforts to cater to both goals, every company leader has one or the other priority in mind when making day-to-day decisions. For spas, the default is nearly always to promote great experiences.
The challenge of creating a customer-centric environment is not new. But many spa leaders say staffing turnover during and since the pandemic has exacerbated an existing issue. In an era of decreasing service mentality, how can spa leaders train and promote exceptional customer service? Conversely, do spas face a decreasing return on investment when trying to win the approval of every client?
The Forbes Five-Star criteria for spas has undergone major changes recently. Michael Conte, Forbes Travel Guide’s senior executive trainer, recently joined an ISPA Town Hall to discuss what those changes are, and to offer advice on how to ensure our spas provide extraordinary and extremely personalized services to obtain or keep those Five-Star ratings. ISPA Chair Patrick Huey moderated the event.
Global Best Practices to Jumpstart Success – How to Elevate Your Spa’s Wellness Programs
By Jean-Guy De Gabriac
There’s a reason why sharing best practices is important in our industry. Doing so ensures that we are able to identify the proven-and-tested solutions and ideas that can help us elevate our practice to a higher level and create the best possible standards for the spa industry. Sharing best practices, especially on how we plan, develop and deliver spa wellness programs and activities, will help us build tools, strategies and resources that can jumpstart success for our spa or business.