The Human Factor is the sum total of the personal interaction a guest experiences during a spa visit.
For an excellent guest experience, they must get 100% attention from staff. And not just any attention: they must get the right kind of attention. Attention and treatment that is consistent—and in line with—the company’s Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Core Values. All levels of staff must clearly understand, and buy into, the organization’s vision and mission.
It’s not just about the hair, hands, face, or feet—it’s about creating the experience. From the time a guest reaches your front door, to the time they exit it, their experience is shaped by the social behaviour and interaction with the people in the business.
We have a saying, “Your business is only as good as your worst employee”. Your goal must be to have your staff doing the same things, to the same standards. All the time. The guest must leave with a positive impression of how they were treated by all the staff.
Creating a gracious, welcoming environment for all guests—regardless of their physical appearance, weight, disability, or gender—must be a top priority.
There are standards that should apply to everyone employed at your spa. There could be a simple dress code, or a more detailed one to fit with a spa’s theme. What about wearing a lot of jewelry, tattoos or strong scents? Should that be allowed or not? Guidelines on punctuality, use of personal devices (cell phones etc.), and communication between staff members are examples of standards that would generally apply to all staff and have an effect on the atmosphere created for the guest.
Everyone plays an important role in the smooth operation of a spa. From the cleaners to the massage therapist, all staff must treat each other with respect in order to achieve a harmonious work environment that will benefit everyone—including the guests. Guests have ears and eyes for communication not always intended for them so your team must be clear on these standads.
Having clear standards and expectations for staff behaviour is a necessity for creating a positive guest experience.
Staff education and training is the way to achieve this. Individual and group training must be continuous. Practicing mock situations can be helpful in training staff to deal with unusual situation and unhappy customers. Practice, practice and more practice.
Setting clear expectations for staff is key to achieving a happy, efficient work environment. Detailed job descriptions covering all aspects of a job help staff feel secure in what they are doing. Providing detailed information for procedures from answering the phone to re-booking, will help your staff to improve the guest experience.
A positive, friendly workplace environment is essential to having your staff feel like they’re part of a great team. Celebrate your staff’s successes, communicate with them, and empower them. Happy staff generate positive guest interaction.
Staff training—both group and individual—should be mandatory and be done on a regular basis. There should be opportunity for the sharing of ideas, and for feedback—both positive and negative.
Staff Interaction with Guests
Having standards for the way your staff communicate with guests is crucial to maintaining the desired professional atmosphere for your spa.
There are many communications skills and standards that should be expected in all workplaces, and then there are other more subjective standards that will depend on the atmosphere you want for your spa.
In any spa, speaking clearly and making eye contact with guests should be a minimum standard of interaction. What is considered acceptable regarding other elements of verbal and physical interaction between staff and guests depends on the policies of the individual spa.
Staff should never be heard by a guest speaking negatively about management, guests, other staff, or the spa facility. The guest must experience only a positive attitude.
Policies should be developed for what constitutes acceptable behaviour for different categories of staff, and at different stages of the spa visit.
All Staff Members
Personal communication between staff and guests should also have standards. Do you have a list of topics that are to be avoided, such as religion or politics? The spa owner needs to decide the level of personal sharing that takes place. For example, is it alright to discuss the guest’s family or personal life only when the guest initiates the conversation? Or perhaps you let your staff use their own discretion based on the history between them and a particular guest? Is hugging OK? How about a ‘high-five’?
The Reception Team
Consistent in-person and phone communications standards must be established. Do you have a checklist for your reception staff? When a member of the reception team gets all the required information, it can help make the guest’s visit run more smoothly. How does your team respond if the guest does not want to share their email or credit card information? Who guides the guest from reception to where they will receive the service? Is that the role of reception, or does the other staff member providing treatment meet them there? Making sure all staff know their role will make the guest’s visit run more smoothly and the experience be more enjoyable.
What does the conversation look like in the chair? Is there a set of mandatory topics such as the condition of hair and scalp, trends, and home care? Do you have guidelines for how communication takes place, for example: face to face, not in the mirror?
Estheticians, Massage therapists, and Medical therapists
Staff must know the details and standards of all services they provide in the spa, and be able to make recommendations. Does your spa have a policy in place for the pre-treatment conversation? Is your staff able to explain, in detail, the service the guest is about to receive? Do they give the guest an opportunity to ask questions? Are staff required to ‘check in’ with the guest during a service to ensure the guest is comfortable and that everything is satisfactory?
Assistants, Cleaners, and Other Staff
Defining the role of support staff will help them to do their job effectively, and contribute in a positive way to the guest’s experience. How much, and what type of, communication is expected between support staff and guests, and between support staff and other staff? Do you expect the cleaner to address a guest by name, or do you expect them to be ‘seen but not heard’?
Do your guests leave happy and relaxed? Have you improved their mood? Brightened their day? If your guests experience consistent, positive treatment from your staff, you can count on them coming back.
So make sure you provide excellent services in a beautiful environment, but at the end of the day, it’s the human factor—your staff—that make the difference.
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