How Discretionary Services Could Be Damaging Your Salon or Spa

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by Pam Stellema

in Business Development, Customer Management, News

Everybody loves to receive a little something extra and your clients are no exception.  So how could providing your clients with the odd extra service for free, be causing damage to your business?  Seems impossible doesn’t it, but the fact is you could be setting yourself up for an unhappy client in the future.

And here’s why…

When a client comes to your salon for her facial (or any other treatment), she expects to receive exactly what she had on the last visit and the visit before.  Because she has returned to your salon, chances are she has been satisfied with what she has received in the past.  Then one day you have a bit of extra time up your sleeve and decide to throw in an additional foot massage just to pamper her and make her feel special.

Well, your client will just love her additional foot massage, but something just went horribly wrong.  You have just created a new expectation within your client.  When she comes in for her next facial, she’s not only going to expect what she has had in the past, but she is also going to expect that pampering foot massage that she got at her last visit.

So, what happens when she doesn’t get her extra foot massage because you don’t have a bit of spare time?  Yup, you guessed it.  She’s going to be disappointed in her service – the exact same service she’s been happy with in the past.  She didn’t get her foot massage and now she feels cheated.

Now you have a dissatisfied client on your hands instead of a satisfied one.

What went wrong?

You were only trying to be nice and caring, and it all came back to bite you on the backside.  You’ve turned a happy client into an unhappy client because you decided to provide something extra just that one time.

Doesn’t seem right, does it?  But the fact is, you set a precedent and then didn’t follow through. You weren’t consistent in your treatment protocol.

I bet that wasn’t what you intended when you gave her that nice foot massage, was it?

So, what’s the solution?

First, each treatment you provide in your salon must have a strict protocol that every therapist/technician follows.  You must deliver this protocol without exception every time.

Nothing less and nothing more.

If you wish to add a foot massage to your facials, then do so, but it must become part of your standard protocol that is delivered every time – not just when you have some extra time on your hands.

Second, if you feel you must give the client a little extra something for some reason, let her know that it’s a one-off event.  This way she can appreciate her foot massage without letting it become an expectation during future visits.

Third, reward your clients consistently.  If you want to give you client’s something a little extra because they referred a friend, then create a proper referral system that rewards your clients with the same thing every time they refer someone to you.  If you want to give your clients a little treat because it’s their birthday, create a birthday program that goes out to every client on her birthday.  The key is consistency and predictability.

Now, you might say, “I don’t want to be predictable”, but predictability will help you get to the top.  Let’s face it, McDonalds doesn’t produce the best hamburger in the world, but wherever in the world you order a Big Mac, you can be 100% sure of what you are going to get.  That’s because McDonalds has built their business on consistency and predictability and millions of hamburger lovers prove that I’m right.

So next time you feel in a good mood and want to throw in a little extra for your client, think about the possible long-term consequences and instead create a better protocol.

Pam Stellema
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Pam Stellema

Pam is an industry experienced coach, salon owner, speaker, author and copywriter.She works beside salon and spa owners to show them how to effectively grow their profits and remain in business for the long-term.
Pam Stellema
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