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Customer Experience Experts Wanted

Customer Experinece Wanted: #1 In a Series

Customer experience, or “CX” in industry parlance, is the real-world outgrowth of UX, User Experience. While this seems ironic, if not absolutely bass-ackward, the big players in the consumer space figured that if online user experiences were so important, maybe offline user experiences might matter, too.

For decades big business has been paying lip service to customer service. (United Airlines, anyone?) Companies legendary for their customer service, like Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines and Ritz Carlton, were in short supply. That’s why these superstars turn up again and again whenever customer loyalty and customer service are discussed.

Now research has quantified the benefits of improving customer service. In their book Outside In, Kerry Bodine and Harley Manning of Forrester Research document the dawning understanding on the part of Fortune 500 companies that there really is a competitive advantage and when you deliver superior customer service.

This is why, when I enter Wells Fargo Bank today, I feel like I’m entering the set of a musical entitled The Happiest Bank in the World. I am greeted with smiles and hellos, walking through a veritable gauntlet of friendly, well-groomed folks. Even the security guy brought my dog some water on our last visit. When I visit the branch, which is increasingly seldom, I look for my business banking specialist Gustavo so I can say hello. It’s a little bewildering, how happy they all are–after all, it’s a bank–but it has done wonders for my perception of the Wells Fargo brand.

I co-founded one of the country’s first day spas, Preston Wynne, and operated it for thirty years. I recently hung up my spa spurs, but what got me up in the morning for those 360 months was the opportunity and challenge of creating customer delight.

For every minute of that company’s existence, it has been about delivering memorable and satisfying “CX.” (Not even I can resist the allure of this bite size acronym.)

Our mission statement was short and sweet: “Do everything in our power to enable our guests to feel absolutely wonderful, whether they’re calling us on the phone or visiting us for the day.”

Easier said than done, we know. Even with 50 employees, infusing that idea into everyone’s behavior every minute of every day was a work in progress. It is something akin to a spiritual practice–the work is never actually done. We fail in new ways constantly, learn from that, and refine our approach, including customer service protocols, over and over.

Great CX begins with great people. Our strategy was to hire people with personality attributes that not only enabled them to create a superior CX but literally compelled them to do it, as described in the customer service best-seller Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan, where we were profiled along with service legends like Thai airlines.

The most important characteristics:

  • empathy
  • positive outlook (glass half full)
  • resilience
  • sense of humor
  • good self esteem

How do you figure out if the person who’s applying for a job with your company possesses these traits?

  • Interview the holy heck out of them (and ask the right sort of questions)
  • Expose them to lots of different people in your organization and get their take
  • Have them do a paid audition for a few days
  • Check references. Good people have fans who are willing to sing their praises.
  • “Hire slow and fire fast,” recognizing that if it’s not a honeymoon to begin with, it never, ever gets better.

One shortcut to finding the right customer care specialists is to use a social-style categories, such as DISC or Myers-Briggs. We made use of a system that classifies people as either relationship-driven or results-driven. (Guess who gives better customer service?) Then those subsets are broken down as risk-takers (who don’t really care what others think of them) and those who are risk averse (who fear rejection.)

The best social style for customer care is the Amiable style (relationship driven/risk averse.) Next best is Expressive (relationship driven/risk-taking) though they’re better salespeople and tend to make more mistakes when using systems or following protocols. Someone who’s halfway between the two is ideal. Too much fear of rejection can turn an employee into a puddle when facing an angry customer.

Next blog: Three ingredients of world class CX

Mastering Complaint Resolution And Service Recovery

WEBINAR: Mastering Complaint Resolution and Service Recovery

Registration has closed.  Below are the topics which were discussed. 
This training is Part 4 of the Spa Concierge Finishing School
and can be accessed on our Learning Academy page.

Join us  for this employee training session, co-presented by Lisa Starr and Peggy Wynne Borgman. We include time for your questions at the end of the presentation.

  • Are you confident in your employees’ ability to resolve guest complaints?
  • Do they know how to handle the inevitable issues that arise in a busy spa operation?
  • Are you certain that guests leave your spa satisfied?
  • When was the last time they received training in complaint resolution?

A great reputation has always been the best way to market a spa. But the internet has made superior customer service a crucial survival skill.

Web search is one of your top marketing modalities, and negative reviews can cost you thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Our employee training webinar, “Moments of Truth: Mastering Complaint Resolution and Service Recovery” can give you a chance to economically and quickly get your team up to speed.

Don’t let another month pass without inoculating your front line team against mediocre customer service, and common errors.

“The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled,” said the founder of Neiman Marcus. This webinar is designed to enable your front desk team to manage the inevitable mistakes and mishaps of a busy spa operation, while strengthening customer relationships and improving customer service. The adrenaline-charged moment when an upset customer complains is a make-or-break event for your business. Make sure your team doesn’t hide their heads in the sand–ensure that they will ride to the rescue of your reputation!
Dowload for unlimited use within your business.

Agenda:
• Why your team must treat complaints as an opportunity
• 96% of your guests won’t complain; how to treat the 4% who do
• Using complaint resolution to improve relationships
• How online review sites have magnified the power of unhappy guests, and what to do about it
• Managing the “fight or flight” response when confronted by an upset customer
• The five steps to masterful complaint resolution
• Cultivating awareness: the ounce of preventation
• How to ask questions that get real answers from your guests
• Making it easy to complain
• How and when to apologize
• Helping the guest realize you’re “on their side”
• Avoiding the common mistakes of complaint resolution, including explaining, blame and scapegoating
• How to effectively manage a “venting” guest
• Techniques to improve your listening skills
• How to tell the difference between an upset and an abusive customer–and what to do about it
• Restoring a guest’s faith
• Making amends without giving away the store
• What most clients really want from “amends”
• The hidden danger in giving refunds too quickly
• What to do when your offer of amends is rejected by an upset guest
• How to prevent problems from recurring

Please check the Events and Learning Academy pages for our offered trainings.
Spa Directors Management Intensive

Spa Director’s Management Intensive 2011

 

If you own, manage, or plan to open or acquire a spa, this program is a must!

Presented by Lisa M. Starr and Peggy Wynne Borgman of Wynne Business Spa Consulting

 

If you’re already involved in spa operations, you’ll find solutions for your toughest management challenges. If you’re planning a facility, you’ll leave this program with a clear-cut strategy for business success. If you’re considering a career change or advancement into spa management, the Spa Director’s Management Program will put you miles ahead of the competition. This fast-paced, information-packed program is full of original, innovative but practical concepts that are actually at work in top spas. We work hard to make sure the days you spend with us are extremely rewarding. You’ll also take home our exclusive text, an incredible reference you’ll use again and again. This includes tools you’ll be able to put to use the day you return to work. You’ll have a chance to meet other spa industry professionals, a diverse group of people, from all over the world. Participants typically represent a variety of industries and greatly enrich the program with their input. You’ll create a support network that will prove invaluable as your business or career grows. The small size of the class ensures individual attention and maximum interaction.

Financial Management

  • Managing by the numbers: understanding financial statements
  • How productive is your spa? An accurate way to measure
  • Compensation Design: the key to profitability
  • Owner compensation: what’s fair?
  • Plugging the profit “leaks” in your spa operation
  • Discounting: is it right for your facility?
  • Staying out of trouble: proper accounting practices for spas
  • The raging gift market: taming the tiger

Marketing Mastery

  • “One-to-one” marketing: cheaper, better, faster
  • Customer retention: your best marketing tool
  • Calculating your actual cost of customer acquisition
  • A formula to instantly boost your sales by 33%
  • The power of PR: developing your media kit
  • Positioning your spa to survive intense competition
  • Essential components of great spa brochures

Successful Programs

  • Developing a compelling service program
  • Long-term programs: the new spa package
  • Programming for profit: which services to emphasize
  • Two key trends that must guide your program design
  • Staging spa experiences: the perils of packages
  • Workflow: managing its impact on quality and morale
  • Scheduling for maximum productivity.and quality

Leadership

  • Recruitment: effective strategies for hiring the best employees
  • Why the customer comes “second” in a successful spa
  • Why you’re doing everything yourself.and how to stop it!
  • Managing communications issues in your spa team
  • Why you can’t motivate your staff and what to do about it.
  • How to produce great staff meetings
  • Managing conflict between technical and support teams
  • Getting your support team to “think on their feet”

Quality Management

  • What customers value most: it may surprise you
  • How to manage quality in the “closed door” spa environment
  • The three essential ingredients of world class service
  • Training = quality: building your in-house program
  • How to instill a “quality” mindset in your entire team
  • Customer relations: resolving complaints
  • Comps, refunds and redo’s: how to use them wisely

Retail Success

  • Harnessing the awesome power of retail sales
  • Teaching spa therapists to sell
  • Tools and Techniques that support retail sales
  • Do you need a Home Care Consultant?
  • Creating a profitable retail mix
  • Retail Trends
  • The Spa Store: Visual Merchandising and Display
  • Mail order and online stores: Are you ready?

Seminar venue: The charming Inn at Saratoga, along the banks of Saratoga Creek in the historic village of Saratoga. Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains, the Inn at Saratoga is a peaceful Silicon Valley hideaway. Just 20 minutes from San Jose International Airport (SJC) and 50 minutes from San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

If you would like this course offered LIVE in your location, please reach out to us at seminars@wynnebusiness.com

to discuss or access our online Spa Directors Management Intensive here.

Seven Steps To Abundant Sales And Stellar Customer Service

Mastering Complaint Resolution and Service Recovery

 

  • Are you confident in your employees’ ability to resolve guest complaints?
  • Do they know how to handle the inevitable issues that arise in a busy spa operation?
  • Are you certain that guests leave your spa satisfied?
  • When was the last time they received training in complaint resolution?

A great reputation has always been the best way to market a spa. But the internet has made superior customer service a crucial survival skill.

Web search is one of your top marketing modalities, and negative reviews can cost you thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Our employee training, “Moments of Truth: Mastering Complaint Resolution and Service Recovery” can give you a chance to economically and quickly get your team up to speed.

Don’t let another month pass without inoculating your front-line team against mediocre customer service, and common errors.

“The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled,” said the founder of Neiman Marcus. This training is designed to enable your front desk team to manage the inevitable mistakes and mishaps of a busy spa operation, while strengthening customer relationships and improving customer service. The adrenaline-charged moment when an upset customer complains is a make-or-break event for your business. Make sure your team doesn’t hide their heads in the sand–ensure that they will ride to the rescue of your reputation!

Agenda:
• Why your team must treat complaints as an opportunity
• 96% of your guests won’t complain; how to treat the 4% who do
• Using complaint resolution to improve relationships
• How online review sites have magnified the power of unhappy guests, and what to do about it
• Managing the “fight or flight” response when confronted by an upset customer
• The five steps to masterful complaint resolution
• Cultivating awareness: the ounce of prevention
• How to ask questions that get real answers from your guests
• Making it easy to complain
• How and when to apologize
• Helping the guest realize you’re “on their side”
• Avoiding the common mistakes of complaint resolution, including explaining, blame and scapegoating
• How to effectively manage a “venting” guest
• Techniques to improve your listening skills
• How to tell the difference between an upset and an abusive customer–and what to do about it
• Restoring a guest’s faith
• Making amends without giving away the store
• What most clients really want from “amends”
• The hidden danger in giving refunds too quickly
• What to do when your offer of amends is rejected by an upset guest
• How to prevent problems from recurring

Visit our Learning Academy and click on “Spa Concierge Finishing School“. The 4th unit in this online class will help you tackle these challenges.

Outside Is In

Outside is In

I was doing a hardhat tour of a new spa in the wine country yesterday, one we did the space plan for at the soon-to-reopen Hotel Yountville. (Yes, the teeny Napa Valley town whose restaurants are famed for possessing more Michelin Stars than most major cities.) I remember being a bit challenged by the dimensions of the floor plate as I was working on the design a year ago. But as I walked through it yesterday, I was delighted by what I saw.

Interior architect Lisa Holt of DLS Hotels, our client, did an impressive job of creating a light-filled, airy and charming interior as she took my design from two to three dimensions. Lisa has been an enthusiastic spa visitor and has actually owned and operated a small luxury hotel and spa with her husband and DLS partner David Shapiro.

Fortunately, one direction we could go was up. Lofty ceilings and spectacular, tall treatment room doors create a slightly Alice-in-Wonderland feeling.

In the wine country, the last place I want to be is a cave (unless it’s filled with champagne.) Lisa brought the outside in with extensive use of tall windows, repeating the elegant rhythms of the doors, and we designed small private garden sitting areas off each treatment room. Bringing the outside in takes a small footprint and helps it to live large. The wet areas of the spa give onto a lounging pool, extending the spa experience effortlessly outside.

Being able to get outside while at the spa is a real luxury, and even a little bit of outdoor space can enhance the guest experience dramatically. I know that I’m willing to spend more time at a spa when I can be outside sometime during my visit. Resorts usually get this right and plan for it from the outset, though I’m often surprised at how catacomb-y spa designs can be and cut off from the outside.

Outdoor space is not always an option, especially for day spas in retail settings. But sometimes an opportunity is right under our nose, in the form of ugly-duckling outdoor space that has become invisible to us through its very familiarity. It’s hard to look objectively at your own space, especially if you’ve been in it a long time, so sometimes it’s worth consulting with a designer to see what they “see.” One of my favorite publications for inspiration for small outdoor spaces is Sunset. They have a long tradition of outdoor makeovers that are simple, clever and inexpensive.

A few years ago we turned some found space on a second floor balcony at Preston Wynne Spa and turned it into a cabana-curtained loggia replete with cushy furnishings, outdoor rugs, and a private pedicure area for al fresco treatments. Five feet wide and thirty feet long, it was not useful for much of anything and surfaced with a very unattractive waterproofing seal. We added decking panels that sat atop the surface to create a more attractive foundation, and a fountain to muffle outside noise, as well as lush planter boxes (these also helped create more privacy.) With some soft goods (which are easy to refresh each year) it has become one of the most popular features of our spa.

Bonnie Waters at Changes Spa and Salon in Walnut Creek, California, found an unloved easement between a parking lot and the side of her building, a plain little patch of tanbark and forlorn shrubs. She convinced the building owner to allow her to use the space, which had no other purpose, and developed it as a charming outdoor terrace for her spa’s newly expanded retail and party room, screening it from the parking lot with landscaping. Because she couldn’t make permanent changes to the easement, she used decomposed granite with pavers set into the soil, rather than mortar.

Probably the best example of enhancing the guest experience with “found” outdoor space is at Osmosis Spa Sanctuary in Freestone, California. After years of operation as a landmark day spa specializing in Japanese enzyme baths, Michael Stusser, the visionary owner of Osmosis, carved a spectacular and authentic Japanese garden from a patch of creekside brush. This work of art is now the highlight of any visit to the spa and has created a remarkable identity for Osmosis.

I’m looking forward to experiencing the new spa at Hotel Yountville, inside and out, after our opening during Harvest season. Spas at their best reconnect us to nature and a more natural way of being. Outdoor space is often more than a sum of the parts; it’s always a great value-add.

Seven Steps To Abundant Sales And Stellar Customer Service

Spa Employees From Hell!

We posted this short, funny, customer service video on YouTube, showing common sales and service “horrors” that happen in spas and salons everywhere, ruining chances of retaining guests, rescheduling, and retailing. Each vignette illustrates a fatal flaw–some obvious, some more subtle–and all of them re-enactments of real spa employee behavior I’ve personally experienced. It’s a great clip to show at a spa staff meeting, and certain to get people talking.

When you’re ready for the horror to end, you’ll find each of these scenes, along with vignettes showing the proper way to “replay” each, available on DVD and mp4 format, titled Selvice: Seven Steps to Abundant Sales and Stellar Customer Service.

Please email us to receive a copy.

Thanks to BoomCycle Online Marketing for their stellar video editing on “Tales from the Spa.”

Mastering The Reservations Call

Front Desk Training: Mastering the Spa Reservations Call

Registration for this webinar has closed and below are the topics which were discussed. This training is available online as Part 2 of The Spa Concierge Finishing School. Please check the Events and Learning Academy pages for this and other trainings.

The first in our “Moments of Truth” series for your front desk team, this one-hour session is perfect for honing skills, building sales awareness and enhancing the service mindset.

Guests who are calling you for reservations are not just looking for appointments, they’re seeking a “preview of coming attractions.” Does your team handle your reservations calls like ho-hum, routine transactions, or do they strive to create a positive and memorable experience for every guest? This training session for front desk and reservations employees and their supervisors is an eye-opening journey into what it takes to provide five-star reservations service while growing sales.

Agenda:
• Are you “filling an order” or “creating an experience” for your guests?
• Moments of Truth and why they’re so important to guest satisfaction
• The Three Elements of every great service experience
• Getting the Greeting right
• Finding your voice: what your guest wants to hear
• Creating rapport with callers who have different “social styles”
• Making the best possible first impression
• Essentials of telephone etiquette
• The do’s and don’ts of the “hold”
• Using the guest’s name effectively
• How to answer those tough or tricky questions (like “who’s your best massage therapist?”)
• Shortcuts for creating rapport quickly
• Active listening techniques
• What your returning guests need from the reservations call
• What they’re really saying when they ask, “How much are your facials?”
• Spreading the love around: how to make sure all your guests get great care
• Offering alternatives when their selection isn’t available
• Upgrading gracefully
• The best way to discuss “gender preference” for massage appointments
• How to communicate your cancellation policy without ruining the mood
• Helping ensure a smooth first visit: pre-arrival orientation
• The Fond Farewell

 

spa client reception

Front Desk Training: Checkout that Maximizes Rescheduling & Retail

Registration for this webinar has closed.  Below are the topics which were discussed.  Please check the Events and Learning Academy pages for our offered trainings.

Your biggest moment of truth in a spa or salon takes place, not in a treatment room or at an employee’s station, but when a client is checking out. This is the moment you must ascertain whether a guest is satisfied, when your guest is invited to reschedule, and when they are invited to make home care purchases. Your challenge? To do all this while checking out guests as quickly and as accurately as possible.

Because your reschedule/retention rate is the most critical metric in business success, this “moment” must consistently ensure the best possible outcome. Being friendly and efficient is important, but it’s only the beginning.

Join us for this webinar, the third in our series for front desk employees and their managers. Presenters Lisa M. Starr and Peggy Wynne Borgman of Wynne business, veteran spa consultants and educators, pack the hour of instruction full of use-it-tomorrow, down to earth content. Jessica Zike of Coyle Hospitality Group, the premier mystery shopping company for the hospitality industry, will kick off the session by providing eye opening real-world performance data from their Mystery Shoppers, as well as anecdotes about front-desk experiences that missed the mark.

Participants will learn:

– The importance of the front desk team in building the business
– The hidden opportunities of checkout
– Who is supposed to do what? Understanding roles and responsibilities in this transitional zone
– Recognizing the guest at checkout; what to do when you don’t know their name
– Creating a smooth “handoff” from a service provider to the front desk
– Creating a smooth transition from the locker room to the front desk
– How to effectively gauge guest satisfaction at checkout
– The most inspiring home care recommendation strategies
– What to do when you’re asked a question you can’t answer!
– How to respond to “objections” such as “I already have something like this at home”
– Building the sale with “bumps”
– The recipe for persuasive invitations to return
– What to say when the guest says, “I need to check my calendar”
– The most neglected step in the checkout process

 

Online Spa Management Training

The Spa Director’s Management Intensive: August 22-25

Registration for this training has closed and below are the topics which were discussed.  Please check the Events and Learning Academy pages for our offered trainings.  Interested in trainings in your area? Please email us.

If you own, manage, or plan to invest in a spa, this program is a must!

Co-taught by Peggy Wynne Borgman and Lisa M. Starr of Wynne Business Spa Consulting

Read more

Mastering Complaint Resolution And Service Recovery

Rescuing the relationship with the customer.

You can’t win an argument with a customer.

Holly Stiel, the great hospitality customer service guru, says it perfectly: “Being Right is the booby prize.”

Last week, an article in the Wall Street Journal described Proctor & Gamble’s burgeoning PR disaster involving a new disposable diaper that may be causing rashes. They’re printing the liquid-absorbing gel onto the surface of the diaper instead of putting it inside several layers. It makes the diapers thinner. P & G insists it was the most-tested new disposable diaper ever. Great! They avidly courted 50 influential Mommy Bloggers before the launch.  But after all that, 7,000 Facebook-wielding Mommy Bloggers (and counting) have stormed the barricades, demanding the return of the previous version.

But P & G is mad as hell and they’re not going to take it any more!  (I can just hear them hollering in the board room, “I thought you said we got ALL the Mommy Bloggers!”) The company that wrote the book on branding and brand management is not in the driver’s seat any more. It is a profound illustration of just how much business has changed in the last few years. You almost feel sorry for the poor saps, as they draw their line in the sand and stare down the jostling mob just across the moat.

So. How do you think this is going to play out? Do you think those Bommy Moggers are going to listen to the voice of P & G reason?

British Petroleum has been even more ham-fisted in its handling of the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. A company that makes billions in profit should be able to afford better PR coaching and crisis management.

But I have to admit, I feel exactly the way any embattled business leader does when I read a snarky Yelp review. (Thank goodness I don’t have to do that live, on a web cam.) The urge to prove that you’re right (or at least, not wrong) is overpowering. This is when we count to three hundred and try to remember Habit #5 of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

I remember Steven Covey describing this behavior as “being willing to have your mind changed.” Instead of promoting your point of view, or waiting your turn to speak, you actually listen. And those of us who have customers know, you apologize. In this litigious world, it’s hard for businesspeople to forget about liability and the potential legal consequences of saying, “You know what? You’re absolutely right. We screwed up. And we’re sorry.” But you have to.

The simple fact is, if the customer thinks you screwed up, you did. Perception is reality. The question becomes not how you’re going to convince them otherwise, but how you’re going to rescue the relationship. Doing the Right Thing when you’re pretty sure you didn’t do anything Wrong is hard. Customers are wrong all the time; however, the social contract we entered into when we opened the doors to our spa clearly states that they’re Always Right.

(Admit it, when you’re the customer, you’re always right. Aren’t you?)

The customer who complains is the canary in your coal mine–only 10% of customers actually do. So the next time a mishap tempts you to even explain (explaining is an insidious form of not-agreeing, i.e. arguing) listen to what the customer is saying. Chances are very good you’ll learn something valuable.