Putting together a smooth-running, harmonious team is arguably one of the toughest tasks for small businesses, particularly in a spa, salon or clinic environment. Experiencing staff problems is inevitable; the most you can hope for is that the problems that arise are individual issues that you can improve together one-on-one, as opposed to team drama – a lot more difficult to resolve!
Some of the time, clients will feel comfortable enough to come forward with a problem about an individual staff member – but this will generally only happen if they are a regular, with a strong relationship with either the receptionist or the business owner, or in the event that the problem is large enough to warrant a formal complaint. But what about the smaller things? The kinds of things that aren’t large enough (or just a bit embarrassing) to make a fuss about, but annoy clients so much that it’s just easier for them to find an alternative salon?
Here are some of the most common client complaints of bad therapist habits – you might consider incorporating them into your next staff training session.
The noise from chewing gum can be very disturbing to clients when in close quarters with their therapist; during facials, injectables or lash and brow treatments for example, even if the culprit’s mouth is closed. Request your staff opt for mints instead. If you’re feeling generous, you could even leave some mints or mentos at reception for your team to share – they will love you for it!
Noisy jewellery or shoes
Every detail contributes to the overall ambiance and atmosphere you create within your spa or clinic, including your staff. And not just their uniforms either; their composure, how they express themselves with clients, the way they speak and their level of volume. If you’ve created a quiet, blissful sanctuary, this can easily be disrupted by noisy shoes or clinking, jangling jewellery. Kindly request your staff keep this in mind when accessorising their uniforms.
Most therapists are already mindful of this, but cigarette smell can be extremely difficult to mask. Much like losing the ability to detect your own perfume soon after applying, therapists can’t notice the lingering smell on themselves when others can. Ensure to be thorough when going through your protocols with any staff that smoke – suggest measures including removing uniform prior, tying hair back, thorough hand-washing, hand sanitiser, and plenty of mints.
Too much perfume
Also often a tactic used to mask cigarette smoke, this is a big no-no in the workplace for a number of reasons. Of course you want to encourage good hygiene and pleasant fragrances amongst your staff, but not only will a head-to-toe cloud of perfume or body spray detract from the fragrant experience component of your spa facilities and product ranges, it can also be distracting or even unpleasant for clients during their treatment. In addition to this, studies suggest that as much as one third of the population react adversely to too much perfume or artificial fragrances, including headaches, migraines, or itchy skin and eyes (more details in our August print edition, stay tuned!). In worse cases, there is also a risk of triggering asthma attacks, either in clients or staff members. Encourage a light hand when it comes to perfume, and no aerosols in enclosed spaces.
Establishing a client’s mood and talking habits is one of the keys to providing them with a great service. Yes, you want your staff to be friendly, but there are plenty of clients that will be put off by therapists that continue to chat throughout the entire treatment when they simply want to relax in peace. Encourage staff to pay close attention to body language and cues, ask how the client is feeling, or you could even incorporate questions around mood and chattiness into your consult form – the choice is yours.