How Discretionary Services Could Be Damaging Your Salon or Spa

Everyone loves to receive a little something extra and your clients are no exception. So how could providing your clients with the odd extra service for free, be causing damage to your business? Seems impossible does not it, but the fact is you could be setting yourself up for an unhappy client in the future.…

Everyone loves to receive a little something extra and your clients are no exception. So how could providing your clients with the odd extra service for free, be causing damage to your business? Seems impossible does not it, but the fact is you could be setting yourself up for an unhappy client in the future.

And here's why …

When a client comes to your salon for her facial (or any other treatment), she expects to receive exactly what she had on the last visit and the visit before. Because she has returned to your salon, chances are she has been satisfied with what she has received in the past. Then one day you have a bit of extra time up your sleeve and decide to throw in an additional foot massage just to pamper her and make her feel special.

Well, your client will just love her additional foot massage, but something just went horribly wrong. You have just created a new expectation within your client. When she comes in for her next facial, she's not only going to expect what she has had in the past, but she is also going to expect that pampering foot massage that she got at her last visit.

So, what happens when she does not get her extra foot massage because you do not have a bit of spare time? Yup, you guessed it. She's going to be disappointed in her service – the exact same service she's been happy with in the past . She did not get her foot massage and now she showers cheated.

Now you have a dissatisfied client on your hands instead of a satisfied one.

What went wrong?

You were only trying to be nice and caring, and it all came back to bite you on the behind. You've turned a happy client into an unhappy client because you decided to provide something extra just that one time.

Does not seem right, does it? But the fact is, you set a precedent and then did not follow through. You were not consistent in your treatment protocol.

I bet that was not what you intended when you gave her that nice foot massage, was it?

So, what's the solution?

First, each treatment you provide in your salon must have a strict protocol that every therapist / technician follows. You must deliver this protocol without exception every time.

Nothing less and nothing more.

If you wish to add a foot massage to your facials, then do so, but it must become part of your standard protocol that is delivered every time – not just when you have some extra time on your hands.

Second, if you feel you must give the client a little extra something for some reason, let her know that it's a one-off event. This way she can appreciate her foot massage without letting it become an expectation during future visits.

Third, reward your clients consistently. If you want to give you client's something a little extra because they mentioned a friend, then create a proper referral system that rewards your clients with the same thing every time they refer someone to you. If you want to give your clients a little treat because it's their birthday, create a birthday program that goes out to every client on her birthday. The key is consistency and predictability.

Now, you may say, “I do not want to be predictable”, but there's nothing wrong with predictability if you're at the top of your game. Just take a look at those hamburger mega-chains that produce a pretty ordinary product. They have one big thing in their favor – consistency. And that consistency and predictability has millions of hamburger lovers proving that consistency is more important at the end of the day than quality.

So next time you feel in a good mood and want to throw in a little extra for your client, think about the possible long term consequences and instead create a better protocol.

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