Day Spa Business Plan Template: Mystery Shopper Reveals Why Salons Are Losing Thousands Of $$$….Could This Be Happening In Your Salon Too?

Imagine being invited to someone’s house, having a really great time and then never being invited back again…you’d feel pretty hurt, right?

Well, two months ago I was asked to be a mystery shopper for one of Auckland’s top Day Spas and that’s exactly how I felt when I left the Spa….totally hurt that I hadn’t been invited back.

Now for obvious confidentially reasons, this Spa (who is not an Inner Circle member) shall remain nameless, but I wanted to share my experience with you and show how a failure to ask simple questions or do any follow up marketing could be costing YOUR salon a bucket load of money every year.

Before you read on, this story is not to bad mouth this Day Spa.  In fact, I have to say that the service I received prior to and during the treatment was up there with some  of the best I have ever experienced when visiting a Salon or Spa.  But that’s what makes it so bad. They have spent so much time putting systems and procedures in place to ensure the customers have this amazing experience, but it’s then let down by complete neglect at the back end.

From the moment I made the booking on the phone the receptionist sounded delightful, asked all the right questions and took my credit card, explaining their 24 hour cancellation policy – a sure way to prevent those frustrating no shows!

When arriving at the Day Spa I was greeted and shown to a lounge where I was given a consultation and then shown the facilities available to me while I was at the Spa which included a sauna, steam room and gym.  Everything was done down to the finest detail, even matching the tea I drank to the type of treatment I requested through my consultation.

Before being taken through to the treatment room I was taken to a relaxation room and introduced to my therapist, as well as another therapist.  From the time I walked in the Spa I had met 4 different people, who all knew me by name and made me feel incredibly special.  I felt like a valued client of the Spa, and not just one therapist!

The treatment itself was also excellent, with music and lighting tailored to my mood and post treatment I was taken to a separate room to relax even further, drink some more tea and fill out a satisfaction survey.

I think you get the picture, overall the WOW factor was huge!

So you can understand my disappointment that I was NOT ONCE asked if I wanted to rebook another appointment.  It was pretty evident that I had really enjoyed my visit to the Spa, so as a guest to the Spa, why wasn’t I invited back?…HOW RUDE!!!

Please Let Me Come back To Your Spa…PLEASE!

Maybe I was missing something, was I meant to get down on my hands and knees and beg to come back?

One simple question would have turned a $140 sale, into at least a $1700 – $2000 client over 12 months, because you know what, if they’d asked me to come back, I would have said YES!

“Okay Chris, we would LOVE to see you back here at (salon name) again, so let’s make that next appointment for you now because we do get booked up very quickly and I don’t want you to miss out on the time that suits you best….how does 3pm on (date) or 10am on (date) suit?”

Now obviously I am just one client, so can you imagine how much money this Spa is losing if clients are not being re-booked…it’s scary!  But that’s the difference between a great salon/spa and an average salon/spa.  Members of our Inner Circle program understand the value of a customer, they don’t look at each client as a one-off sale, rather as a customer for life who will be worth thousands of $$$.

The next thing here was that I was not offered the professional products to go away with and use until my next appointment.  It’s a fact that 70% of clients who are NOT sold retail will go down the road and buy it from a chemist or supermarket (a salons biggest rival) within 24 hours, the products will be crap and the client won’t be a happy camper!  Who are they going to blame first…that’s right, the salon/therapist!  So they will never return.  How sad!

Maybe they didn’t ask me because I am a guy or some other lame excuse like that – whatever it was, it wasn’t good enough and will be costing the salon a fortune!

*If you have never heard about former Schwarzkopf CEO John Lee’s 1000 hour customer care policy, you should Google it, learn it and apply it to your salon!

Finally, the reason for me writing this story some 2 months after my visit to the Spa was to at least see if they did some follow up marketing.  A welcome letter perhaps, with a voucher to use off my next booking or an email with their latest offers…did it ever happen?….Nope!

After my visit to the Spa, I filled out a lengthy mystery shopper questionnaire making specific reference to these issues and how all the positive aspects of my visit had gone to waste because of the failure to rebook or retail to me.  I even made special mention that I would look forward to receiving follow up marketing from them as I REALLY wanted to come back.

I suppose I’ll NEVER know if they fixed any of these issues because I am still waiting to be invited back.

Salon Gift Certificate Template: Does this happen in YOUR salon???

customer service

Salon Gift Certificate Template: Does this happen in YOUR salon???

Yesterday, I did some free research for you, ‘mystery shopping’ a local salon business touted as one of my town’s most up-market, stylish salons.
And the news is:

It failed my report card.

I won’t name the salon, but if its owner is reading this, she’ll recognize herself. This salon is one of three owned by a young entrepreneur who’s done a lot of things right, but still lets money fall through the cracks through lack of attention to detail. And there is magic in the detail.

I wandered in late yesterday afternoon, a Monday, to get a haircut. The layout is impressive – 20 chairs line the walls, with a massive raised catwalk down the middle for the fashion shows the salon has become known for.

That’s a tick for laterally thinking about how to create a ‘buzz’ that spills over into attracting new clients, an ‘involvement device’ to acknowledge that as the majority of customers are women, they’re interested in all things fashion and style, not just getting their hair done.

I was greeted at reception by a pleasant young lady (one of five staff on duty, only one of whom was actually cutting hair, being a Monday) who informed me that my haircut would cost an eye-watering $71. This for the privilege of having the services of the company’s ‘art director’, an innovative way of describing their most talented stylist.

When I visibly gulped at this – in a town where an average male haircut might stretch to $35 – she offered me instead, one of their ‘artists’ – another inventive term for what ordinary salons would call a ‘senior’ – for only $62. And if this was too much, I could have one of their ‘designers’ – their version of a mere apprentice, for a few dollars less.

Another massive tick from me for innovation. This salon owner is doing what I’m constantly nagging our Members to do – to re-think what it is they’re selling, to re-invent the business in such a way that it differentiates itself from the competition, simply by re-branding the common and thus making it un-common. Out of thin air, creating more perceived value. “Ordinary salons have seniors and apprentices. We have ‘artists’ and ‘designers’.”

Here’s what’s instructive: using differential pricing, you can elevate the perceived value of your own services. Example – clients insisting they only want the owner pay more for that privilege.

Next, I was asked to complete a client details form – name, all my phone numbers, email address – and crucially, tick-boxes for how I found out about the salon. A database-building system most salons are too lazy to implement, too ignorant to recognize its value.

I was introduced to my ‘artist’ who led me to her chair.

Unfortunately, that’s about when the shine started to come off an impressive start.

I was handed a selection of magazines. They were dog-eared, months old. As she washed my hair, my ‘artist’ cheerfully asked me the standard questions – ‘had a busy day so far?’ Yes, thanks. … ‘Got a big weekend planned?’ Mmmm…couple of social functions, that’s all. ‘What line of work are you in?’

I knew she was going to ask this, so I threw in a truthful answer, specifically to check her pulse.

‘Er, I show salons how to market themselves more effectively, more efficiently, how to increase the per-visit ticket price, and get customers coming back more often…’

“Really….and do you live locally?”

She might have been thinking, but it wasn’t about what I was saying. Nice enough girl, no pulse.

But the wheels really fell off back at the reception desk. Here I was, a brand new customer just walked in off the street, happily paying my $62 buzz-cut bill. I stood there idly chatting with the receptionist, my ‘artist’ attentively nearby.

Sigh. No attempt to sell me product, despite earlier telling my ‘artist’ I always use gel in my hair.

No request for feedback (i.e. testimonial) about my experience in their business.

Not even the slightest effort to re-book me next month.

I walked out the door, the sound of staff chattering to each other about their Christmas plans fading in my ears.

What a crying shame that it’s like this in almost ALL businesses. Attention to detail is its own economic stimulus package.