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Grandmom Knows Best: Five Tips for Delivering a Perfect Spa Experience

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People are hungry for love, affection and attention. Any good spa manager and therapist knows this. As a therapist, I would measure my effectiveness, not by tips but by the amount of daily hugs I received from my clients. If none were forthcoming it worried me; what could I have done better?

I think that going to a spa should be like a visit to your grandparent’s home. Here are five things that my Grandmom did which made me feel special. Apply them with your own clients and watch your wait list grow.

  1. Anticipate Their Arrival

When my Grandmom knew that I was coming, she would watch for me from her picture window. I could see her smiling face from a distance. I felt welcomed before she uttered one word.

Your spa may have an attendant or receptionist to escort your client to the locker room. But  imagine how welcoming it would feel to them if you were waiting with a big smile when they arrived. Depending on the nature of their job,  yours might be the first genuine one that they received all day. How powerful is that!

  1. Take measure

I never had to say a word to my Grandmom about how I was feeling. Perceptive and observant, she would simply assess my body language.  As a child I never understood why or how she understood me so well. I thought that it was magic. 

Verbal language is only 7 percent of communication. Most therapists are introverts and as such can be very perceptive. Use that strength to your advantage. When your client walks through the door you should begin to assess their gait and stance for indications of stiffness or discomfort. Check their face for signs of stress. Their demeanor speaks volumes. Once the intake form is completed it will probably confirm what you’ve already perceived. You’ll be better equipped to conduct an insightful, compassionate interview. This will engender their trust.

  1. Listen well

My Grandmom made me feel important by listening to me. She never interrupted and held everything that I said in careful consideration. She asked questions. She would tell me the truth and never patronized me.

Many spa therapists don’t review the information on a customer’s intake form. That can be a huge mistake which can lead to physical injury, bad impressions,  declining business and poor social media reviews.

For therapists who do use the forms, don’t ever allow your interview process to become routine. The intake form is a highly important source of information. It should serve as a guide to meaningful conversation about why your customer is there and what they really need. It can lay the foundation for accurate product recommendations as well.

  1. Create a Personalized Experience

We always had a huge family Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents. My Grandmom would lay  out all of the traditional southern foods; turkey, stuffing, ham, mac & cheese, greens, rolls, pies and cakes. And in the kitchen was a small pot of spaghetti with meat sauce for me-my favorite food.

Giving your customer what they need and want is basic to a quality experience. But the therapists who go beyond are memorable and engender loyalty. Sometimes customers will select a treatment which is completely inappropriate due to their skin type or an activity which they are engaged in .i.e. a body scrub after sunbathing, a facial after Botox injections.  Unfortunately many therapists will perform the service anyway. Here are some rationalizations I’ve heard:

“Well my customer scheduled the treatment!”

“Our computer system won’t let me switch the service!”

“The product is already measured out. I can’t get any more!”

This type of mentality serves neither the customer nor the brand.  The therapist who “inconveniences” herself by suggesting a more suitable treatment or modifies the existing choice will generate trust, loyalty and often great social media reviews from her client.

The best spas ensure that their therapists well trained and empowered to customize a service to their client’s needs. If you are a manager and the mere thought of this gives you heart palpitations, take a deep breath and have a seat. Many spas are doing this every day. The rapidly changing consumer market is demanding personalization. Perhaps it’s time to reexamine your SOP’s that don’t allow for flexibility.

  1. Prolong the Experience

I never left my grandmother’s without taking a piece of her love home with me. She was a seamstress so it might come in the form of a specially sewn garment or a swatch of beautiful fabric to wrap around my dolls. It might be a bag of homemade cookies, a mini pie or a Tupperware bowl of spaghetti. Whatever it was reminded me of the time spent with her.

When you recommend a retail product to customers it prolongs their positive spa experience and extends the benefits of the treatment. It serves as a reminder of your caring. It’s another step toward a great customer experience.





Linda Harding-Bond
Linda Harding-Bond is shifting the paradigm on spa retail training. Her Express Online Retail Training Course is exactly what's needed for post-COVID-19 spa re-openings. Designed to bring your therapists' retail skills up to speed, it will quickly position retail as a robust alternate revenue stream. Linda has provided training for many world-class organizations including The Oberoi Group, St. Regis Hotel, Anantara Hotels & Resorts, Shangri-La Hotels, The Resort at Pedregal, GoldenEye Resort and Spa and Six Senses Resorts. She is author of "Listen, Engage, Sell!: The Foolproof Method for Increasing Spa Sales in 7 Days or Less" and "The New Esthy Handbook: an Essential Guide for Novice or Nervous Estheticians". Connect with her at Linda@Moontideconsulting.com .
Linda Harding-Bond

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