It took me years of being in the spa business to really understand what great customer service means. I thought I knew how to take care of my customers, but it took my being a spa director and having the experience of training staff to open my eyes to what the customer is really seeking.
In my 25-plus years in the spa industry, I have found the one constant in providing exceptional customer service is: Give guests what they want.
Understand and experience your services
Knowledge is power; clients today are looking for your expert advice and recommendations on what magical treatments your practice has to offer. Your client may come in seeking a one-hour Swedish massage session, but what that client really wants is release of stress, or relief from pain and stiffness that your treatment will provide. As a massage expert, you can suggest the treatment best suited to the desired outcome.
I have found the best way to sell any service is to receive it myself; this has become part of my training of all new associates. Their training includes receiving treatments they have never had before, then describing those treatments to me in their own words. Nothing better describes an experience than firsthand knowledge.
As a massage therapist, you can’t truly experience your own work, but you regularly receive massage from other practitioners in the modalities you practice. Understand the products and tools you use during sessions, familiarize yourself with the benefits of various ingredients and techniques, and know which services are best for the conditions your clients present with. If you work in a spa, it’s also a good idea to receive the non-massage services offered, especially if those services are often packaged with your treatments.
Improve customer service by listening
Massage, facials, nail services and body treatments are all basic services offered at any spa, but nowadays these services are widely available outside of traditional spas. Your clients have many options when it comes to choosing where they will receive service, so the key to making them choose you is to provide a consistently superior, personalized experience.
The difference between a good therapist and a great therapist is the ability to listen. Even the most creative, exciting treatments can seem mediocre if you don’t listen to your client.
In my experience, I have seen many therapists who come to work, do services the way they want and believe that is acceptable. An exceptional massage therapist takes the time to talk to each guest before providing service, listening to the guest’s needs and expectations, and then tailoring the service accordingly.
I pose this question to my therapists every day: “What will you do today to exceed your guests’ expectations?” They need to really think about this by putting themselves in each guest’s shoes. Is this service going to be exactly the same as the service the guest would receive down the street, or will it be what he asked for and what he needs?
I often go back to the saying, knowledge is power. From the moment a guest calls to make an appointment, to the look on her face when she comes out of the treatment room, giving her what she wants and needs will always be the key to successful customer service.
About the Author
Beverly Fox-Crismond is spa director at One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach, Florida. Located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, The Spa at One Ocean features oceanic-inspired décor and more than 40 marine-inspired spa treatments.