On October 16th and 17th, Coyle attended the International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference and joined spa industry professionals from around the country in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Louis Mattassi, a seasoned spa expert with over 20 years of industry experience and a Trainer and Consultant for Empowering You Consulting, advised spa owners and managers on how to exceed guest expectations during spa visits.
In a session aptly named, “The Magic in Spa Service—Exceeding Guest Expectations,” Louis Mattassi explained the connection between guest expectations and guest loyalty. Essentially, spas that exceed expectations see increases in spa customer retention. Mattassi believes that true spa guest service begins only when spas go above and beyond anticipated guest behaviors. He stressed the importance of tangible service; by surpassing guest’s expectations with concrete details, spas can gain repeat guests and develop a loyal customer base.
To achieve outstanding service levels, Mattassi uses a personal philosophy that encompasses basic guest needs: “Be—Do—Have.” “Be” addresses self-awareness and integrity. Accordingly, if spa staff members emit inviting, relaxed, and positive vibes, guests will match these emotions and maximize their spa experiences. When staff members appear stressed or behave transactionally, the guest experience is negatively affected.
“Do” focuses on the planning aspect of a spa service—from the moment the guest enters the spa door to the follow up the day after a guest’s visit, the process flow must be perfectly planned and executed. As evidenced by Coyle’s 2011 Global Spa Report, the spa visit does not end once the guest leaves the door. Based on Coyle’s research, 86% of spa goers would feel comfortable receiving a follow-up correspondence post-visit. By providing a follow-up call or e-mail post-visit, spas can ensure the quality of the spa guest experience continues even after the treatment is over.
“Have” concentrates on the final product; if implemented properly, this philosophy can provide a spa with an environment conducive to excellent guest service. To implement this philosophy, begin by shaping staff member attitudes to ensure they align with internal goals and standards that define the brand.
Mattassi discussed six basic customer needs:
- The need to be understood. Asking questions is imperative to gauge guest preferences and understand the purpose of their visit. Once guests feel listened to, they offer trust and respect in return.
- The need to feel welcome. Guests visit spas to relax and escape daily stresses. Spa owners and managers must create an inviting environment where guests can truly enjoy themselves. The difference is in the details and small additions such as offering a beverage or a towel will greatly improve the visit from the guest perspective.
- The need to feel important. All attention must be directed towards the guest’s wellbeing. Guests are a spa’s number one priority, and they should feel that way. Addressing the guest by name will make the guest feel like the service is personalized and their patronage is valued.
- The need to feel comfortable. If the first three needs are achieved, this need should fall into place if all three needs are constantly being met. Guest should feel understood, welcomed and important throughout the entire spa experience and not just at reception. Gauging guest preferences during the treatment will continue to ensure comfort and continued use of guest names will ensure the spa experience feels personalized from beginning to end.
- Value for money spent. Value is a major priority for most spa guests, especially given the current economic climate. Because spa services are a luxury expense, guests must be convinced that the price matches the quality of the service. Explaining products that are used and the benefits the treatment offers can help spas achieve this standard. Guests will leave the spa knowing how the treatment was beneficial for both mind and body.
- Create the “right” perceived value. Guests set their own expectations about services and treatments and decide whether or not they are willing to pay. While discounting and coupons generated by the internet “daily deal” frenzy might not always create the “right” perceived value, however, as shown in Coyle’s 2011 Global Spa Report, guests who attend a spa using an online coupon are still 63% likely to return. So treat all customers equally to ensure each and every customer has the best chance to convert into loyal guests.
As emphasized by Mattassi, providing outstanding guest experiences is the key to retaining and growing a loyal customer base. If spas can follow these six steps, they can narrow the gap between achieving spa satisfaction and spa loyalty and turn each spa guest into a brand advocate.
Coyle’s mystery shopping referral services can help manage these expectations and provide you with the complete story about your current spa guest experience. For more information on Coyle’s spa services call us at (212) 629-2083 ext. 106 or contact us today.
Please click here to download Coyle’s 2011 Global Spa Report.