It is not easy to obtain consistency. In all industries, it takes attention to detail, it takes a combined effort, it takes training, sometimes it takes inspection and testing, and it always takes a real commitment to Quality.
In the Spa industry all of these things are more difficult because we lock our customer in a room with our employee and hope all goes well and our client is happy.
The three main weapons we have to achieve consistency are:
- Standard Operational Procedures
- Evaluating & Testing
Operational Procedures (SOP's)
Everything we do in our business is (or should be) considered a process. From the selling the public to visit our Spa/Salon through welcoming the guest to our facility, facilitating the front desk necessities, performing the services, selling the retail, collecting the payment and rescheduling their next visit is a process.
The procedures of each step of the process are also a process or "subset" that describes the process in more detail. When these procedures are spelled out in as much detail as possible we leave little doubt in the minds of our representatives (the employees) as to what is expected of them and what to do in any given situation.
We should include all your special flourishes that make your services unique to your Spa and the order in which to deliver them. As spa consultant Zahira Coll says, "SOP's should be written like a recipe, first you take some of this and do this to with it then you do that, etc."
Once you have SOP's in place you will then have something to train to. You will need to work very hard with each of your Providers to get each service delivered EXACTLY in the same manner. It is possible to deliver services stroke for stroke the same if you are willing to invest the time in training.
Evaluating & Testing
Never let a Provider perform one of your services until they have been evaluated and are performing the service per procedure.
Further testing to insure consistency can be done by "shopping" the Providers. Hire a shopping firm, or get friends/relatives to periodically have treatments, but first have them review the procedures so that they know what to expect.
Consistency is essential to building an overall business, a reputation, and delivering a "quality" product to our clients. When consistency is achieved then excellence can follow, we can use the combined knowledge and creativity of the Provider staff to embellish and enhance the services we render. The key however is to incorporate these enhancements collectively instead of individually, we will need to incorporate these new enhancements into our SOP's and train and test accordingly.
By Skip Williams, CEO, Resources and Development
this article is excerpted from an article entitled, Quality--It is Not What You Think, that first appeared in Spa Management Journal.