Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Salon Experience: Expecting Good Customer Service

Time really tempers down the anger when one has had their tail stepped on. With that in mind, I would like to point out that "bad service" is a matter that should not be casually ignored, or will go away by the snap of your fingers. It hovers around until the management of the salon does something about it.

RATIONALE
Providing good customer service is the hallmark of excellence especially important for establishments in the service industry. It ensures, and is ensured by the return of customers on a continual basis, not due to marketing strategies established by the company, but through word-of-mouth from customers satisfied by services rendered. In fact, word-of-mouth is the best advertising strategy a beauty salon could ever employ. Not to mention free as well!!

THE CATALYST
It was a rare occasion that my mother normally has free time on weekends, so when I told her that I was going to to Bizzy Body, the slimming centre that I normally frequent, she asked 5 minutes later if I she could come into the centre to do a facial. So I picked up the phone and called the centre.

THE REQUEST DENIED
The Manager answered the call. When I told her about the request, I was then informed that as my mother was not a "member", she was not permitted to utilize any of the facial treatments from my package.

Prior to this, the previous manager, who has since left for greener pastures, had "verbally granted" that the "sharing" of facial treatments was permissible. However, as nothing had been written in black & white in the card, the request was promptly denied.

Under similar conditions, this is normally permitted at many of the lifestyle salons I had frequented, with the condition that it is "the mother", or other members-of-kin who are given that special privilege. An acquaintance pointed out that most salons are normally flexible in those terms.

Upon arriving at the salon, the Manager then queried me of my mother's impending entrance.

Let me pose this question to the Reader: :"Why do you think my mother would have come?"

PRESCRIBING OF TREATMENT FOR THE DAY
The normal procedure goes that upon arrival at a salon, customers will be informed of the treatment that has been prescribed for them. The Draining Massage (DMS) treatment was prescribed as the follow-up treatment after my initial warming up treatment for that session.

The DMS is a massage-type treatment requiring the skills of one personnel to manage the customer for the duration of 30 to 45 minutes. During that period of time, this particular one staff will not be made available to service the other customers.

Lying down on the bed, I was about to start my initial warming-up treatment, the Heat Blanket treatment, which is used to warm up the body. The consultant servicing me, whom we shall name here as "Hard-Faced", immediately asked if I wanted to have a facial done. She then proceeded to describe how my face looked rather haggard and dark, emphasizing & pointing with her fingers on what she terms "unsightly spots".

"Hard-Faced" continued canvassing for a number of times that I should undertake a facial. Finally I just told her that I was not interested, and failing to persuade me, she left me in the room to have my treatment in peace.

The fact remains that as my mother had not utilized my facial treatment, I had one facial treatment remaining. It was fine if the Manager did not permit my mother to come in, as I understand that the company may want to increase their customer profile.

However, what was most aggravating was the fact that there was still one un-utilized facial treatment left, and here was this consultant who was trying to push me to have a facial done, and paying another sum of money on top of it.

That, in my opinion, did not make any sense.

THE ABRUPT CHANGE OF TREATMENT
After the completion of my initial warming-up treatment, however I was then informed that my follow-up treatment had been changed to an "electricity padding" (K3000) treatment. I was surprised, and very disappointed as I was awaiting the treatment that had been prescribed.

However, when I queried the Manager about this, she could not provide a solid answer. No explanation or word of apology was given. Instead, she tried to turn the tables on me by stating I should have informed the centre when making earlier appointments.

Excuse me, but are not appointments on Saturdays normally made weeks in advance?

EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED
On its own on a normal day, should only one of the items mentioned have occured, would not have triggered much expectations. Yet, little things sometimes have a way of coming together- creating that impacting snowball effect.

I was very disappointed as not only did the Manager not offer an apology, nor explanation, but she made me feel that I was to blame for the change of treatment.

The consultant who serviced me would not stop talking until I finally firmly told her I did not want it. She did not seem to understand that I wanted to be left in peace. In fact, she seemed to think that I was made of money. Which I am not.

Getting a treatment package at this salon is already expensive as it it. If the staff had put service before commission, perhaps I might have taken up on the additional treatment suggestions, regardless of the financial considerations.

Little things may seem insignificant, but they all add up to what makes the sum of good customer service. Indeed, I was not expecting a miracle, but it is disappointing when customers feel they are incompetently catered for.

What about you? What do you think constitutes good customer service?

Follow-Up Entry: Providing Duty of Care

Other Related Links:
Beautyholics Anonymous: Sales Strategies.
Vivawomen: Hard-Selling Tactics

4 comments:

Shirley said...

What happen next? When is your next appointment, continue the story in part 2 plsss...

CheaKyGal said...

It was definitely good to be able to get it off my chest.

Hehe.... as of this entry it'll be two weeks since I stepped foot in that place. just been really busy and out of town to make any appointments to go there.

I would not know how their service will be the next round I head there.

And yes, THEY do check this post from time to time.

Miu said...

sounds like my horrible ordeal at Modern Beauty Saloon..

CheaKyGal said...

Oh yes, I heard a lot of stories about Modern Beauty Saloon in the malaysianbabes.net, as well as a number of other blogs as well.

The stories of their salon are scary. They sell you the packages depending on how you look, and down-sell packages even if you are a student and can't afford. Even Bluunis is jst as bad.

It's hard to believe if salons say that they are giving out free facials now, even if its from a reputed brand like Asterspring.

From what I heard about their recent promotion, I didn't call up for the promo, but I heard the people on their toll free number are not aware of it, but their branches are. One of our friends' sis went, but she was ejected out, because of her status as a student. So much for commitment to a promise.

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