What was your last crisis and how did you solve it?

"One Of My Employees Came To Me Whispering that there was a leak in one of the back rooms. 'Sure, sure, I will be there in a minute,' I said. In a very stressed-out whisper, the therapist implored, 'NO! NO! You don't understand. You need to come right now!' The toilet was clogged in a spa suite above the treatment room, and water was flowing from the antique light fixtures hanging in our Chocolate Room, where clients go to relax. And it was not just a little water—it was a flood. The fire alarm sounded, and chaos took over. To solve the problem, we alerted therapists to the situation, called maintenance, and put towels down on the floor of the flooding room. We turned the music up a bit in each of the treatment rooms and had the therapists keep their clients in the rooms for a bit longer. I had one staff member standing at the fire alarm and each time it went off, she pushed the button to reset it. We only had to give one complimentary treatment, and the clients in our treatment rooms didn't even realize what was happening."—Carol Iovino, spa director, The Spa at Old Edwards Inn (Highlands, NC)

"RECENTLY, THE HOTEL WE SHARE A BUILDING WITH closed for a six-month renovation and flag change. Although ninety percent of our clientele is local, this could easily have put us out of business. To eliminate the construction noise, we compromised with the landlord. We opened a few hours later, and the contractors began and ended a few hours earlier. To combat the local perception that we, too, were closed, we enclosed the entire construction site in a giant sign. Creating the sign was pricey, but it was a fraction of what a billboard on our busy street costs and was much more visible."—Craig Fossella, spa manager, Tru (San Francisco)

"A LARGE CONVENTION CAME TO OUR PROPERTY, AND we did not have enough staff to service all the anticipated clients. Our solution was to contract independent massage therapists in the area and offer them a full-day flat rate for the days of the convention. The response was excellent, and we were able to provide for members of the convention at a level of service we were proud to offer."—Chris Nestor, spa manager, The Spa at Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort (Niagara Falls, Canada)

"THE LAST CRISIS WAS WHEN A CLIENT'S PURSE WAS a little damaged by a drop of oil during a service. We solved the problem by hearing her out and apologizing, taking full responsibility, offering to cover her cleaning bill, and giving her ten percent off her next appointment."—Hagit Morgan, spa director, Tiberias Spa and Salon (Lakewood, NJ)

—Compiled and edited by Heather Mikesell

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