Yvonne Huxley is 'shooting from the hip'
I'm concerned that we're setting up our spa teams to fail.
As a spa manager, you will typically receive your financial targets for the year and then distribute individual targets to your team members. This is a system designed to help the business achieve its overall target but the team's targets are on a shorter timescale (either weekly or monthly).
These targets may be perceived as more intense or pressurised, which means we're often not giving our teams the tools to succeed.
We talk about targets yet we tell therapists not to sell, but rather to 'encourage' the guest to continue their skin/body care at home. From a therapist's perspective, this can appear contradictory – if it is meant to be an easy, talk-through process with no pressure, then why is there pressure on the therapist to sell?
Often, there is a reluctance in the industry to sell ‘from the floor’. Maybe the teams don’t feel empowered, or maybe they don’t feel sufficiently educated to sell effectively. Some therapists are fantastic at delivering high quality treatments and can easily upsell into these courses and repeat visits but after that, once outside of the treatment room, they become uncomfortable and lack confidence. In scenarios like this the service becomes incomplete and the end of that customer’s spa journey may be lost.
Are we giving our spa teams all the tools to succeed?
I believe that we do not allocate sufficient time for our teams to ensure a seamless transition from one area of the spa to the other. During the journey from reception to treatment room and back to spa reception, the guest will potentially experience a 47 minute hands-on treatment (55min treatment). When the guest leaves the treatment room they are either dropped off at relaxation room, or taken to the reception and very quickly handed over to the care of a receptionist (who is often a great retailer who therefore hits their target). This means that the therapists (and possibly other team members) who were an important part of the guest's experience can be left feeling somewhat demotivated.
Given that there are several factors which are dependent upon company / brand policy or staffing resources, there may be a multitude of solutions which are easy to incorporate into a spa’s daily operation to address these challenges.
We need to look at the way in which we educate our staff. Brands are becoming increasingly competitive with the amount of support provided in terms of training, incentivising and developing. This is great news, but it is down to us as managers to ensure that these opportunities are being used to the full potential.
Also, we should be empowering our staff to take time with each guest; not reprimanding them for giving that little extra time and care to their clients. Instead, think of it as a Return on Investment of the time.
A less hurried approach to the end of the treatment experience and some time to really have a decent conversation with the therapist could be all it takes to upsell a client to a £160 retail sale, based on the fact they felt they had a truly personalised approach.
Appointing brand ambassadors within teams is another idea; looking for team members who spark and ignite passion and interest within the brand but who can also encourage those less confident.
The end results are plentiful – an increase in revenue, increased morale, staff development and guest satisfaction. Really, it's a no-brainer!
Yvonne Huxley is the Programme Leader BSc International Spa Management and Senior Lecturer at the University of Derby