These types of businesses can easily lose a client based on that clients opinion of the product / service they received as well as how they feel they were treated on a personal level. In fact, a perception of negative treatment by the staff or even another client before, during or after a service presentation, can ruin the chances of repeat business from many clients.
Perception: Websters Dictionary describes this as "the way we feel or think about someone or something'. The word feel, denotes a certain plus or minus factor relative to absolute truth and reality.
For example, I could walk into a room and to me it could seem hot and stuffy. While in the same room on the other side, someone might feel as though they were freezing. The actual temperature may be a comfortable 74 degrees. This is where the word feel becomes relative only to individual perception.
In the Spa business, the feelings and perception of products, treatments and ambiance by the client absolutely rule and tend to dictate the life or death of a Spa or Salon. For that matter, these things will also determine the longevity of therapists, practitioners and front desk personnel as well. This is an important concept for all of us to understand when working with clients and colleagues as well.
Client: Webster's defines this as "one who pays a professional person or business for services." Now this is an important definition for the person or business to remember and even more important to the paying client, because if they are unsatisfied, they will most often not want to pay.
As Therapists, Clinicians and Professionals, we can educate ourselves to be technically perfect, do all of the introspective self work and do our very best to be the most humble, aware person on the planet. Does this guarantee that we will avoid any pitfalls on the bumpy road of corporate interpersonal travel? No, it does not!
Just as everyone on the planet has different fingerprints and different irises each person is unique in their bio-individuality, just as emotionally and spiritually, humans exist on differing levels. This becomes important in an environment such as a Spa, where we see a vast cross section the societal fabric.
The Spa, is a place where each person desires and expects to feel important and to be treated as such. This is because the Spas and Salons originally were a place where the wealthy people went to be pampered physically and emotionally.. Thus, practitioners, clinicians and employees are admonished by their employers to begin a difference of interaction with these clients from the very second they arrive, thru their treatments and departure. In fact, Hilton Hotels developed it's own "5 Star" level of client/service worker interaction which starts when the client is 15 feet away from the service worker. https://hotelexecutive.com/business_review/2994/the-loyalty-principles-gain-and-retain-guests-through-best-practices-in-customer-service-and-engagement
There are some hotels and spas which restrict their employees and service providers from any verbal interaction at all with their guests/clients, other than what it takes to perform the task at hand.
All this, is to make clear that there are really only 2 entities whose feelings and/or perceptions actually matter in a spa or salon environment, that being the paying client first, and secondly, that of the establishment owner.
In any situation involving the feelings or perception of the client, concerning treatment, environment or practitioner/client interactions It will be the clients opinions first, then that of the owner. Period. Does this make the client always correct? Yes. No. The clients can be totally disengaged from reality or realistic expectations and yet, In most situations, do not expect your spa or salon owner to do anything other than smooth the bump with some kind of consolation prize and the promise that the "practitioner' will be talked to. Does this mean that we the practitioners are always correct and just being stomped on? No. Even practicing the very best "active listening" techniques, you also might misconstrue the actual feelings and meanings of what is being given to you by the client, or anyone else for that matter.
Recently, I was talking with a colleague of mine, who owns a wonderful Spa/Cafe/Yoga/Clothing Boutique,(BODY), in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico about this very subject. Having been in the Healing Practices for 40ish years to include establishing a bodywork school in Santa Fe, she offered this great advice. " Deep Listening" is what will help each person truly understand the entire message, feelings and all being given to them by another person."
Although active listening is a great start, what I am finding is that, deep listening will not have an agenda. Deep listening, cannot involve our ego and its need to be right, deflect or protect. Deep listening also cannot happen, if we allow internal dialogue to piggyback along with the true message.
So, what does all of this mean for us as practitioners? Do we need to feel less than, knowing that our opinions may sometimes not have weight where we practice? Does this mean that we must automatically believe that our Spa owners and Directors are always going put our feelings /opinions last and differ to the client every time a question arises? I would say no to these questions.
Hopefully, we as practitioners can rise above the aggravation and confusion of what seems to be an inherent part of our business and remain professional. I would also suggest the practice of deep listening, also known by other names, remain heart centered and hopefully, each of us will have an awesome Spa owner/director who also practices deep listening.
And remember, a job well done, is a matter of perception held not only by yourself, but others as well.
Namaste, Steve Lynch, LMT,AAS/Holistic Health, CTE