How to Handle a Hot-Headed Client at the Spa

If you own or manage a salon or spa then you know that some customers can be hard to handle.  Whether it's a scheduling mix-up, a miscommunication or a disappointing service, sometimes clients can be extremely unhappy and want you to know about it.  If you find yourself in a situation with an unhappy customer in your spa then remember my expert tips below.

Contain the conflict.  The first step to diffusing a negative customer experience situation in your spa is to contain it as swiftly as possible.  If you have a customer in your lobby or waiting area that is raising her voice, complaining about the business or just being a Negative Nancy, in general,  then be sure to escort her to a quiet and private area where she can speak without being in the spotlight.  The last thing you want is for other spa guests to hear another guest carry on in an unflattering way - this will surely raise concerns and create a tense atmosphere.  Therefore, give the angry client a space to vent with the least amount of onlookers and eavesdroppers possible so that the vibes at your spa will continue to be relaxing and tranquil. 

Listen and document.  Once you have your disgruntled guest in a private place, take some time to sit down with them face to face and truly listen to their concerns.  Be sure to ask them open ended questions and use a pen and paper to take notes.  When you take notes you are letting them know that their concerns are valid and that you want a written account of them so that you can authentically address the problem.  Maintain a lot of eye contact and nod periodically so that the client knows that you are truly hearing them.  Don't interrupt or try to interject with your thoughts or concerns; simply let them vent.  When the client stops speaking you can ask them, "is there anything else?" and this will let them know that you are open to listening to their concerns in a caring and patient way.  After the unhappy client is finished speaking, repeat back their concerns from your notes.  Make sure that you have all of the information documented accurately while you have the client in front of you. 

Speak with a smile and compassion.  Once the client is done speaking it's your time to shine.  Always try to smile periodically and speak with understanding and compassion.  Thank the client for sharing their feedback and concerns  with you.  Let them know that their opinions are valuable to you and that you will do everything possible to remedy the negative situation.  If appropriate, kindly remind them of certain spa policies, procedures and written consents that they may have signed - sometimes clients are upset about something because they have forgotten about it and just need a gentle reminder.  In other instances, a client may need to understand that a certain spa policy is "for their safety."  Use this phrase liberally as it conveys that your intentions are to keep their wellbeing as your primary concern. 

In the unfortunate case that you or your spa employee are at fault then certainly offer a sincere apology.  Sometimes an apology is all an angry person needs to hear to calm them down and diffuse their anger.  You can say, "I am very sorry that you had to experience this," or "I am so very sorry that you are dissatisfied with your service."  After you apologize, be sure to pause and give the client time to respond to the apology.  Don't continue to ramble on and on and say other things: just simply let your apology sink in with them.  As I mentioned before, sometimes you will turn the situation around right then and there and the client will smile and thank you for the apology. 

If the client is still angry or does not accept your apology then let them know that you are willing to take a different course of action.  It is ideal to offer a remedy immediately.  However, remember  you are running a business and have other customers and obligations to attend to, so you may be able to take action on-the-spot or you may not.  If time or resources are limited, do not feel like you must take action at that exact moment.  Assure the client that you will do everything in your power to fix the situation but you may need to see them or call them later.  The best way to do this is to let the client know that you have heard their concerns, you want to make it right, but that you have to consult with other members of your team before you can give them a final answer.  Let them know when you will be following up  and keep your promise. 

Make sure clients feel valued.  Even if you know that an angry client isn't a good fit for your spa or salon make sure that they feel welcome and valued.  A negative customer service situation can go from bad to worse if you stoop down to their level and act dismissively or arrogantly.  Always come out smelling like a rose and take the high road.  Keep in mind, some people are just looking to vent their frustrations.  Sometimes customers are having a horrible day or just received devastating news.  We don't always know why they act the way they do.  Moreover, some negative clients seem to like to test our limits and enjoy challenging our boundaries - it's like they get a kick out of it.  If you feel like someone is being unreasonably upset then be sure to respectably inform them that they are under no obligation to have treatments at your spa or salon.  In other words, empower them with a choice to not be treated or to be treated elsewhere.  Let them know that they have options and if they feel disappointed with your facility that perhaps another facility will be a better fit for them.  Assure them that their happiness and satisfaction is important to you and that you will support them if they decide to stay at your facility or go elsewhere. 

Customer service is a daily practice that takes patience and grace.  Make sure that all employees are on the same page and understand these important steps.  We can never fully escape negative customer service experiences - they are par for the course.  However, we must respond as well in the good times as we do in the bad.  Make it your company policy to deal with hot-headed clients privately and listen attentively as you take notes.  Speak with compassion and always convey their value.  If you can follow these expert tips when you encounter angry spa guests you will keep the peace and upbeat vibes at your spa or salon for years to come.


New year, new skin, for your spa clients

Our clients will certainly be setting goals and new year's resolutions for 2019: starting a new exercise routine, a dietary cleanse or perhaps a goal to finally give themselves the skin that they always wanted.  We, as spa industry professionals, should be several steps ahead of them ready to guide them in the right direction when it comes to making major improvements in their skin for this upcoming year.  Follow my expert tips below and help your clients transform their skin in 2019.

Start the conversation about skin transformation. 

Whether you are motivating existing clients or working with new ones, be sure to get crystal clear about what your spa can do for them in terms of creating noticeable changes in their skin.  Ownership, management and staff should meet together and chat about how they can present the spa's greatest service and product offerings in a concise and meaningful way.  If you are a laser center, for instance, you will want to brainstorm ideas for promoting certain machines and bring awareness about their efficacy and results.  Be sure that clients understand the technology and can see helpful before and after photos that show significant changes in the skin.  Clients respond best to visual cues via photos and videos. 

If your spa has more of a holistic and natural focus, then invite clients to experience a treatment that will pamper them mind, body and skin in a new and integrative way.  Many clients are looking for skin care routines that create lasting results but also facilitate relaxation and tranquility.  So be sure to talk about what your services can offer them if they are more wellness minded and looking for a new self-care routine in the new year.  The key take away, here: answer existing and new clients' questions before they have to ask them.  Spell out precisely what your spa can do to address their concerns so they will come to you in the new year for all of their skincare needs.

Customize a care plan. 

The new year is a great time to revisit care plans for existing clients and set up novel and exciting care plans for new clients.  Revisit your current client charts and make sure you have updated photos, intake forms and demographic information.  Take a look at their purchase histories for services and retail products and see if it has been a while since they came in or replenished their skincare.  The new year is an opportune time to start a new and fresh regimen and reconnect with clients who are looking for a skincare reboot. 

For new clients, create a short term and long term treatment plan: one for the first 90 days and one for the rest of the year.  It's important to get them started with products and services that will give them a jumpstart  - see what works and what doesn't - then proceed with a regular monthly plan for the rest of the year.  In the first 90 days you can see how clients do with their homecare and if they stick to a treatment plan of in-spa services.  After that, I usually advise my clients that we can start to modify their plan and get a bit more aggressive with their treatments after getting to know their skin.

Reach out and advertise. 

Whether you prefer to reach out to your current and prospective clients via email, social media, postcards or radio/TV ads, be sure to create a brand presence in the new year.  Once again, clients are looking to make changes to their health and wellness routines and will be pleased to see information about  your business.  Perhaps you can offer free consultations and skin analyses.  Consider what product starter kits or packages of services you could offer that would entice them to come in.  Incentives for pre-booking multiple appointments is also a great way to get people in the door.  Informative presentations and seminars are a huge hit especially if you do live demonstrations of services.  Think about interactive and incentivizing ways to invite new and existing clients into your space.  As always, work with your trusted product and equipment vendors to arrange for visual displays, free products and live demonstrations around the spa.  Very often, they have a budget for events like these and will be happy to assist you in creating a fun and attention-grabbing live event in your spa. 

If you are hoping to attract new business to your spa this new year then have a solid plan in place now.  Create a buzz for new and existing clients by getting very clear on what your spa can offer them to transform their skin.  Invite clients in for customized sessions to discuss a transformative care plan for them that includes professional services and products.  And spend some time and money advertising in the new year to enhance your brand's presence so that those looking to make changes to their skin will know where to find you.  These three simple tricks will bolster your business and start the new year off to a lucrative and exciting start!

6 professional skin care strategies for the winter months

For many skin care clients, winter weather brings a whole new set of problems and concerns. Dehydration, dryness, chapping, and itchiness are common complaints.

Some winter skin woes can be fixed with minor adjustments and some are so severe that they can really derail your clients' skin health for the season. Read my expert strategies below to help your spa clients conquer the harsh side effects of winter skin during the cold months to come.

1. Prevent dehydration

Let's face it, once the hot, humid summer months end, the urge to drink water can go along with it. Hot weather makes us sweaty and thirsty and the opposite can happen when we are exposed to colder temps: we lack to desire to drink water.

Be sure to check-in with your clients and encourage them to stay on track when it comes to internal hydration. Even if the craving to drink icy cold beverages has waned, supplement fluids with warm herbal teas and broths.

Dehydrated skin is unhealthy skin prone to redness, flakiness and more clogging oil and congested pores so be sure to see the signs and inquire about this common winter skin outcome.

2. Balance out the effects of dry heat

Like many of our clients, when we turn on the heat in our homes we create a very dry environment in our habitat. Wood burning stoves and radiators, for example, deplete the moisture out of the air. This lack of natural water in the air can cause dry lips, skin, sinuses and take a toll on our lungs.

If your clients are suffering the side effects of dry heat, then recommend a humidifier for their living and sleeping spaces. It's also a good idea to tailor products such as day and night creams to supplement the drying environment of the colder months.

Lotions and lightweight moisturizers that are sufficient during the spring and summer may not be doing an adequate job in the winter so don't be shy about changing things up a bit and consulting with clients frequently.

3. Expect diet changes

Some clients' diets change drastically from summer to fall and winter. In the warmer months, cool salads, raw veggies and green juices go down easy and provide a lot of hydration, vitamins and minerals that benefit the skin.

However, in the cold months, we tend to crave warmer and richer carbohydrate-based foods to satisfy our bodies natural hibernation mode. Don't fail to see that changes in your clients skin can come from dietary changes during the winter season.

Persuade them to get those vitamins and minerals in other ways like soups, vegetable sautés and fortifying and filling slow-cooked chilies and stews. These types of dishes will keep them warm and satisfied but also offer the skin nurturing support of healthy plant-based choices.

4. Consider optimizing immune function

When the days get shorter and our time outside in the sunshine decreases, we may feel less healthy and prone to illness. Advise clients to ask their doctors about testing their vitamin D levels and consider supplementation if levels are low. Vitamin C is also very important for immune function as well as magnesium.

Warm and hot baths with epsom salts and essential oils are a great way to increase circulation and invigorate the lymphatic system. Dry brushing at home is also sensational for the lymphatic system and can help detoxify the body.

Think about offering warming, hydrating and cleansing body wraps at your spa during the chilly winter months and have ample herbal teas on offer in your reception area. As we know, the health of the skin is dependent on the overall health of the body so it's important to assist clients with their overall health and wellness during the winter season.

5. Promote UV protection

Though we don't feel the heat from the sun it doesn't mean we should skimp on daily UV protection. Many clients have a misconception that UV protection is only for the pool, beach and hot summer months.

But we, as skin care practitioners, know that UV protection is a year-round commitment that helps protect the skin from skin cancer and many signs of aging including hyperpigmentation, loss of elasticity and wrinkles. Talk to your clients and make sure that they have a daily, physical (titanium dioxide or zinc oxide) SPF that they will reach for daily.

If their skin is dry and thirsty, then offer up an emollient and hydrating formulation. Moreover, keep in mind that some clients like to ski and partake in other winter sports that will increase their UV exposure and expose them to other harsh elements like wind and frostbite.

Don't be shy! Be their ultimate skin care source for their winter UV needs and they will appreciate your dedication and professionalism.

6. Encourage corrective and aggressive treatments

Some of the major advantages of winter weather include that the lower temps and less UV exposure are great environmental factors for more aggressive and corrective skin care treatments at your spa.

I like to encourage my clients to invest in a package of chemical peels, laser resurfacing and/or micro-exfoliation treatments this time of year. The winter months are a great time to address the damage caused during the summer and correct it.

Exfoliation, as we know, is also crucial for alleviating dry winter skin. It seems contradictory to our clients, but consistent, professional exfoliation will help them stay hydrated and supple during the dry, cold, winter by removing the thick keratin barrier that could be preventing moisture from entering their skin.

Follow my expert tips and help your clients have skin care success all through the year — but especially in the harsh winter months. Skin care is not a one-size or one-season-fits-all care plan, so be their ultimate source of sound advice and inspiration.

How to support your spa clients in the age of synthetic beauty

If you follow fashion industry trends, you may have heard of two new models that have huge followings on social media and pose for beauty and luxury clothing brands alike: Shudu and Lil Miquela. These models are different because they are not actually made of skin and bones — they are completely digital.

Virtual models are "just the beginning of the avatar revolution," according to Cameron-James Wilson, a 29-year-old photographer based in London and the creator of Shudu.

Shudu is considered to be the first digital supermodel, and boasts incredibly lifelike facial and body features and an Instagram following of over 130,000 people.

Obviously, avatars have their limitations: they cannot walk down a runway wearing designer clothes. However, they can be a digital spokesperson to assist you with your next shopping spree or the face of your customer service experience, according to Wilson.

He says that we will be seeing more and more of this because brands want to have their own unique types of models that are exclusive to them and unavailable to others. Furthermore, the British company Irmaz Models creates digital models as an alternative to human models, and boasts that they "never argue, need to eat, throw tantrums or get tired."

So not only is the average consumer faced with photoshopped images of real people, now they will be staring at images of synthetic people. As we know, digitally altered photographs are already under incredible scrutiny for creating unrealistic beauty standards, but now we have synthetic beauty standards to live up to as well.

We will no longer be comparing ourselves to other human beings, in print and digital advertising — we will be comparing ourselves to inhuman, digitally created, beauty avatars.

To add insult to injury, our clients not only view the inhuman, digitally created beauty of avatars, they are also peering at synthetic versions of their own beauty when they use filters on their photos and selfies. A new trend in mental illness has recently been cropping up, and it is called "snapchat dysmorphia."

Julia Guerra reported this month in Elite Daily that consumers are looking into plastic surgery and other medical esthetic alterations so that they can look more like their filtered images on apps like Snapchat. Because our clients are able to alter their own appearances with the help of filters and photo editing apps, they are looking to do the same in their doctor's office.

Applications make it easy to erase wrinkles and blemishes, whiten teeth, widen eyes, plump up the lips and contour the nose. So, clients are going into their favorite spa or medical spa and expecting to accomplish the same things in the blink of an eye. In essence, clients want to look like filtered versions of themselves.

These advances in technology and the pervasiveness of altered and synthetic beauty images begs the question: how can we, as estheticians, medical and spa practitioners guide our clients through it?

The consensus seems to be, among leading dermatologists and plastic surgeons, that we need to explain to our patients and clients that perfection is not possible.

Dr. Melissa Doft, a New York city plastic surgeon, sums it up perfectly when she says that there is no such thing as an absolutely "flawless" look especially in terms of plastic surgery because there is always the risk of scars and complications. She adds, doctors should be cognizant of patients' motives for surgery and if she feels that a patient is getting the surgery "for the wrong reasons," then more consultations will be necessary.

In essence, the process that will ensure the best outcomes for our clients is a thorough and collaborative consultation. We should be investigating our clients' motives for the procedures that they are most interested in. We should also be able to explain how these procedures and surgeries are performed and their probable outcomes and possible side effects.

After all, unless we are genuinely and ethically managing our clients' expectations, we are not doing our jobs thoroughly.

In many cases, we can make positive changes in our clients' skin texture with a series of chemical peels in conjunction with a professional homecare regimen. We can also reshape and contour some facial and body features in qualified plastic surgeon offices.

Not to mention, that artfully applied skin care and cosmetics can also do wonders in terms of perfecting a client’s look and diminishing flaws. However, all of these services take time, patience and professional training.

If we feel that our clients want their flaws to be fixed in the same time that they can swipe a filter onto a photo, then we know that they probably have unrealistic expectations about their care and outcomes. We need to make sure that our clients have a firm handle on realistic images of beauty versus synthetic ones.

Unfortunately, we are heading into an era where synthetic images are becoming the norm. So it is our job to bring the conversation back to a grounded, realistic and practical place.

At the end of the day, we are working on real human beings: flesh, bone, and a soul. We cannot expect to create outcomes based on beauty standards created by manufactured images comprised of altered photos, pixels and digital engineering.

Summer Skin Care Wisdom For Your Spa Clients


The summer months can bring different challenges for our clients' skin: heat, humidity, sweating, clogging, inflammation and UV exposure.  So be sure to guide them through the hotter part of the year with confident and easy-to-follow recommendations for healthy skin.  Read my expert advice below to keep your clients' skin glowing and healthy all summer long.

Sun-safe exfoliation is key. 

Summer isn't a time to stop exfoliation altogether but it may be wise to modify it a bit.  Some clients benefit by taking a break from strong retinoids and high concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids in favor of enzymes and larger molecular acids like lactic and malic acids.  While several clients are great about applying physical SPF, wearing hats and staying in the shade, others are not so compliant.  Be sure to assess your clients' level of sun safety before recommending a summer skincare regimen.  We all have clients who we can trust with strong retinoids year round while others need to take a break from these aggressive ingredients because they will be "living at the beach," or "on the boat" the entire summer. 

On the other hand, there are some clients who feel compelled to over-exfoliate their skin during the summer  because they feel clogged and oily because of humidity, sweating and makeup.  Look for the signs of overly exfoliated and processed skin and be certain to offer gentle alternatives.  If your client feels the need to clean their skin with gritty, jagged scrubs multiple times per week then suggest a foaming cleanser, clarifying toner, or Clarisonic brush to achieve clean skin.  These options can be used safely on a daily basis and will prevent damage from excessive scrubbing.

Make hydration a priority. 

Advising clients to keep their skin and body hydrated during the summer is very important.  Recommend regular topical hydration with products containing aloe, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, sodium PCA, and other humectants.  These ingredients will capture and bind water molecules to the skin which will be especially important for clients concerned with dehydration.  Dehydration can be caused by dry heat, excessive sweating and even frequent air conditioning exposure.  Oftentimes, serums, lotions and gels will be your best bet in terms of a hydrating formulation and water will usually be the first ingredient on the list. 

Advising clients to drink enough water during the summer is crucial too.  As we know, healthy skin starts from the inside and adequate water intake as well as eating fruits and vegetables are a sure way to keep the skin fortified from the inside out.  I encourage my clients to make water intake pleasurable by infusing filtered water at home with fruits like lemon and strawberries and herbs like mint and basil.  Frozen fruit can also be used as colorful ice cubes to cool and subtly flavor water.  It's important to do whatever it takes to get water in your system throughout the day and especially in the hot, summer months.  And don't forget to mention that they may want to watch their caffeine intake, as well, as that can leech water from their system.

Protect the skin without clogging it. 

Obviously, one of the main skin care goals of summer is to make sure that our clients have quality SPF for their face and body that they are willing to use every day.  It should go without saying that clients want to feel protected but not overly coated or clogged during the summertime.  Reach for formulations with micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that are powerful yet lightweight and sheer.  Powder SPF formulations are more accessible now and offer a lot of convenience.  Formulas should be noncomedogenic and compatible with your clients skin conditions. 

Many clients also benefit from UPF clothing if they will be outside and under the sun for several hours per day.  UPF clothing, from reputable companies, can cover large areas of the body and help clients avoid a build-up of SPF creams on their skin.  Other food for thought is asking clients about the frequency with which they change their pillowcases and how often they launder their hats and clean their sunglasses.  All of these items come in close contact with the skin and can do more harm than good when they are contaminated with oil, dead skin cells, bacteria and sweat.  I often see what I call "sunglass acne" in the sunny months of summer.  I notice that clients breakout right where the rim of their sunglasses touch their skin.  Sweat, makeup, oil and bacterial can build up there and clog and infect the skin.  Sharing your best tips can save clients a lot of aggravation this time of year so definitely ask about their lifestyle and think outside the box.

Cleanse with conviction. 

Proper skin cleansing can make or break your clients summer skincare success.  It's important to tell them that cleansers that were appropriate in the cooler months may not be adequate during the hot summer.  Most clients benefit from more heavily foaming cleanser formulations containing  a hefty amount of surfactants.  And if your clients wear makeup certainly recommend a double cleansing process at night.  For most, with skin that is suffocated by humidity, oil, makeup and layers of SPF, one cleanse is simply not enough.  Advise clients that gentle, pH balancing toners with a witch hazel base are great for completing the cleansing process and making sure skin is squeaky clean.   Furthermore, don't fail to offer great skin clarifying support products like clay masks, spot treatment products for breakouts with salicylic acid, cooling facials mists, and gentle at home chemical exfoliation treatments to keep skin clean and hydrated in between their spa visits - I always recommend peel pads.

 Clients should always have a toolbox of products for use at home that can effectively remedy several skin care concerns.  Anticipate your clients summer skin care woes and share your wisdom with them at every spa visit.


5 tips for client retention during the summer months at your spa


If you've been in the spa industry for a while, you may have noticed that your schedule can get a bit quiet during the summer months. Clients take long vacations and are busy entertaining their children who are off from school.

One of the biggest obstacles, however, is that clients may also get sun exposure, which can prevent them from getting some treatments altogether. All in all, the summer can be a tricky time for keeping your books as filled as other parts of the year.

If you are having trouble keeping your clients coming into your spa for treatments during the summer months then read my expert tips below.

Communicate your policies about mixing sun exposure with certain procedures.

Your clients should be clear on which procedures are affected by suntans or sunburns at your spa. Obviously, as skin care professionals, we are proponents of daily SPF usage and avoiding the harmful UV rays of the sun on the whole, but clients are not always on the same page.

Don't let clients find out the day of their appointment that they will have to reschedule because they've had sun exposure: make your safety standards clear and conspicuous. Offer an FAQ page on your website that discusses how sun exposure will affect the outcomes of certain laser and skin care treatments.

When booking appointments, screen clients over the phone and be sure to ask them if they have had recent sun exposure before finalizing their appointments. Furthermore, client intake paperwork should explicitly express guidelines and timelines for clients who have been exposed to the sun and come in tan or burned.

Explain why sun safety is so important.

When clients know and understand the reasoning and rationale behind your rules, they will more likely be sympathetic to them.

As we know, sun exposure on the skin creates heat and erythema, for starters. This state does not mix well with services like laser resurfacing, chemical peels, microneedling and waxing. Possible negative outcomes include blistering, scabbing, skin lifting, scarring and hyperpigmentation.

We need to let our clients know that we are trying to promote and preserve the integrity of their skin and their health overall. Moreover, clients who are looking for brightening procedures like intense pulsed light (IPL) or topical skin care products containing alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids or tyrosinase inhibitors run the risk of injuring their skin or scarring it permanently if they mix them with a suntan or burn.

In many cases, if a client is not compliant with UV protection during the summer months, it's best to have them delay certain treatments until the fall or winter. Your staff should be able to clearly communicate these sun safety objectives and policies in person and over the phone.

Not to mention, members of your staff should not be tan or sunburned at the spa: it will definitely send mixed signals to clients!

Offer products that support your sun-safety cause.

Practice what you preach and offer an array of sunscreen formulations on your shelves that contain zinc and titanium. As long as clients can find an SPF that they feel comfortable with, they will be more apt to use it every day.

For those clients that want a bronze glow this summer, consider offering spray tanning services if you don't already. If that's not an option, then offer spa-quality self-tanners and cosmetic bronzers.

You can even spruce up your summer retail displays with SPF clothing options with your spa logo, hats and other sun protection accessories like lip balms and mineral face powders. Also, be sure to feature retail product choices that are beneficial to summer skin: hydrating serums, spray toners and mists and refreshing gel masks will all please your clients' skin during the hot and sunny months.

Show your clients that you and your spa are there to give them year round skin care support so that they can have amazing outcomes any season of the year.

Entice clients with summer specials.

Keep your spa traffic booming this summer with new and revitalizing treatments to beat the heat. Rejuvenating and cooling facials with gentle enzymes, jade stones and seaweed masks will certainly quench and fortify the skin.

Body treatments are also in demand during the summer, so promote your cellulite and back treatments during the warm months. Foot soaks and detox body wraps are also a big hit.

If your spa has more clinical procedures on offer, then reward faithful laser hair removal clients with seasonal summer discounts and great deals on injectables. Invite clients to try a hydrating facial in lieu of an intense chemical peel.

Be sure to email your clients monthly or weekly with your promotions, events and openings so that they will call in to inquire and book with you.

Enforce your cancellation policy.

Summer is also the time to make sure that your client scheduling and confirmation procedures are running smoothly. Because it is common to get "no shows" on those beautiful, sunny beach days, be sure to confirm all appointments and stick to your cancellation policies.

If your spa has a policy of charging clients who cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice, then certainly follow through. It is not fair to spa staff to be left with an empty schedule because clients decide that they'd rather go to the pool then come for their facial.

Clients should know that your estheticians, massage therapists and other technicians' time is valuable and if they are not going to commit to the time that they have reserved then other clients should be given the opportunity to come in instead.

Summer doesn't have to be a slow season at your spa or medical spa! Show your clients that you are their source for sun safety and summer specific treatments to enhance and protect their skin. Follow these expert tips and enjoy a busy and lucrative sunny season.

What Spa Clients Are Thinking But Not Always Willing to Say


Have you ever gotten the feeling that your client had a "just OK" experience instead of a "wow" experience at your spa? Was there something on their mind that they left without saying? Was an interaction between esthetician and client quite awkward or abrupt?

Read my expert insights today to find out what your clients may be leaving without saying so you can make it right.

They weren't sure if they were supposed to tip

For clients in spas and medical spas especially, it's often not clear if they should tip. Some spas make it obvious that tipping is allowed by providing information on their website or little signs that show a suggested tip amount. While others make it clear that their policy is to automatically include a gratuity in the final price of all of their treatments.

If your spa doesn't spell it out quite so well, then be sure to leave hints like a tip line on the credit card slip or small envelopes in the treatment rooms. If your spa leaves it up to the clients' discretion without offering any clues, don't be surprised if they ask about tipping upon checking out for their services.

In lieu of an awkward pause or rude exchange, your best bet is to politely reply: "Tips are never expected but they are always appreciated." This seems to do the trick, every time.

They buy your skin care products elsewhere

If you often have clients who neglect to buy their skin care products off your retail shelves, then you should stop to wonder if they are getting them elsewhere. It's not that they aren't fond of your offering of serums, setting sprays and SPFs, it's just that they have a lot of options these days and will exercise those choices.

Clients are looking to get the most bang for their buck, so to speak. So if they are able to find cheaper prices online or a store that offers a gift with purchase or promotion, then they will choose that option.

In today's online shopping world, free shipping has become the norm, so be sure you offer that as well. Don't let valuable clients walk out the door without their verified, authentic, professional products in hand. As we know, buying skin care products directly from your spa is a safer and more ethical option for your clients.

They wish they could schedule their appointments online

In a world where most everything centers around convenience, we can't blame clients for wanting to be able to make spa appointments quickly and easily online. Clients know they can order a taxi cab with an app or reserve a table in a restaurant with the click of a button, so why not be able to book their facial or massage in a similar manner?

While online booking may not be appropriate for every service your spa offers (i.e. injectables, laser procedures or intense chemical peels) it may be OK for your massages, basic facials and waxing procedures. Offering online booking will make clients feel happy and hassle-free while freeing up your front-desk staff from busy phone lines.

Some members of your staff leave them feeling cold

It's never easy to admit that someone just rubs you the wrong way, but it can happen whether we speak up about it or not. There may be a member of your staff who regularly turns your clients off with their poor attitude or lackluster demeanor.

Make sure to hire people who are agreeable and quick to smile. If not, clients will feel that bad energy but may be unwilling to report it to management. Sadly, even when clients receive exemplary services like facials, massages and waxing treatments, they may not return if the front desk staff leaves them feeling uninspired, unwelcome or *gasp* like a nuisance.

On the other hand, your spa reception staff could be amazingly warm and welcoming, but perhaps one of your estheticians or technicians leaves much to be desired in terms of customer care. Be aware that clients can pick up on these negative vibes.

When clients feel like they receive anything less than the royal treatment, they are unlikely to rebook appointments and return to your spa. What's worse, they may be letting their friends and family know about their chilly reception as well.

They don't appreciate the hard sell

They may not let you know that they are annoyed, but clients can sense when you are pushing them a bit too hard. Oftentimes, when clients are feeling pressured to buy expensive product regimens or commit to lengthy packages of services, they will shut down and leave instead of making a smaller purchase.

When you start to notice many clients saying things like, "not this time," "I'll have to ask my spouse," and "I am all set for today," be sure to monitor your sales dialogues and techniques. Nowadays, clients are savvy about pricing, package options and alternatives before they even step foot into your spa or medspa, so they will be unappreciative of a hard sell.

Let your incredible services and customer engagement skills do all of the selling for you, and they will be happy to invest in services at your spa.

They aren't totally satisfied with your spa menu

Most clients and consumers are acutely aware of what the latest and greatest beauty and spa treatments are, thanks to the internet. They are curious. They are privy to what most celebrities and influencers are doing to improve and preserve their looks.

If your spa menu lacks some of the newest innovations and trends, then you may have disappointed clients on your hands. Clients will show they are unhappy with your spa offerings by continually (and unenthusiastically) asking, "Are you guys doing anything new?" If you are getting constant inquiries about newness at your spa and you aren't delivering, then be sure to evaluate your spa menu.

I am not an advocate of following the every whim of your clients and doing all kinds of extreme and unproven treatments. But be sure to stay on top of the latest trends and equipment so you can answer your clients' questions about them and/or offer some of them little by little. As we all know, the beauty industry is constantly improving and evolving, so we must be doing the same, as business owners and managers.

If you own or manage a spa, salon or medical spa, be sure to read between the lines when it comes to making your clients happy. Clients don't always come right out and say what's on their mind. It's your job to make your spa policies crystal clear and train your staff to execute them properly.

Pay attention to the interactions your staff have with clients because it can give you important clues about what kind of customer care is being given at your spa. Before you lose valuable clients, take some time to evaluate how you could meet their needs better, day after day. Anticipating your clients' needs is just one of the ways we can create happy and loyal experiences for years to come.

Four Self-Care Rituals to Add to Your Wellness Routine in 2018


Many of us want to take better care of ourselves to start the new year. Are you hoping to add some self-care rituals to your wellness routine in 2018? Here are my top four suggestions for having a glow from head to toe.

1. Skin radiance upgrades

If you are looking to maximize your anti-aging and beauty routine in 2018, consider adding some professional tools and treatments. Adding a sonic facial cleansing system to your night-time sudsing session will increase exfoliation and allow treatment products to penetrate deeply. Jade rollers are fantastic for cooling inflammation, increasing circulation and lifting the skin.

If you're more apt to add on a clinical anti-aging device, consider an LED mask to treat acne lesions and protect collagen or a handheld microcurrent device for toning and lifting. If you are in need of an at-home facial exfoliation hack, look for a clinical-strength peel pad with glycolic or lactic acids for a fresh and dewey glow.

And nothing gives a hydrated glow like a skin-quenching sheet mask or a moisturizing mud mask. Just adding one of these skin boosting treatments one to three times a week can totally enhance your visage.

2. Smoothing and toning treatments

For many of us, the winter months are frigid, and we spend more time indoors cozied up on the couch. We also tend to get dry, chapped, dead-skin buildup. So if you are in need of increased blood flow and smooth skin, consider adding dry-brushing to your morning or nightly regimen.

A common dry-brushing technique includes using a wooden brush with stiff, natural bristles in upward, sweeping motions on the whole body working towards the heart. Benefits include increased circulation, exfoliating dead skin, smoothing skin texture and aiding in lymphatic draining. Dry brushing only takes a couple minutes and is great to do before a bath or shower.

If you prefer to exfoliate in the shower, using a sugar, coffee or salt scrub is extremely beneficial for winter skin. Scrubs help to increase circulation and slough-off dead skin. You can make your own scrubs at home or find a fabulous scrub at your pharmacy or favorite beauty shop or spa.

3. Spa bathing rituals

Bring the spa home by adding some fragrant, healing and invigorating practices right to your own bathroom. Start by hanging some eucalyptus branches in your shower. Grab your favorite set of cotton terry towels and a fluffy robe and ditch the phone for an afternoon.

Draw a warm bath with naturally detoxifying and soothing salts like sea salt, epsom salt or pink himalayan salt. Salt baths can help to soothe aches and pains, reduce bloat and remineralize the skin. Natural bath bombs and bubble baths are also great bath-time enrichments.

Choose sustainable and organic formulations whenever possible. Look for bath-time products that are made with real essential oils and are free of parabens and synthetic dyes and fragrances. Remember, the skin is not a barrier; it's a carrier.

Warm water and invigorating steam are natural ways to calm the body and lesson congestion in the sinuses and pores, so add some spa flair to your bath time right at home.

4. Spa ambiance in your home

Bring the OM to your home with these spa ambiance essentials. Allow some time to completely unplug from your device and focus on your breathing. Add calming sensory experiences that include aromas from essential oil products, soft lighting and blissful music. Burn your favorite soy candle or add essential oils to your diffuser.

Get into your favorite PJs or robe and flip flops and lounge on soft pillows. Infusing spring water with cucumber and mint or sipping on a mug of herbal tea will ease your tired spirit. Enjoy the soft, warm lighting of a Himalayan salt lamp. Be sure to kick your feet up and enjoy some time away from the hectic day-to-day routine and take a spa day at home.

You may not be able to get to the spa every week, but with these zen spa hacks you can have a spa day in your own living room.

With these wellness rituals on hand, you can decide which options you will be adding to your daily or weekly routine. Pick one or two and see how much better you feel.

2018 is a fresh start to focus on pampering and rejuvenating self-care. You owe it to yourself to add some self-loving, spa-inspired rituals for a smooth and beautiful glow all year long.