- It’s Not What You Think!
when we think of “quality” we think of “excellence”, something
of high value, or something without flaws. While these are
legitimate definitions of the word, in business when we talk about
quality we are referring to “consistency”.
is a crucial requirement to any successful enterprise. Two
cars turned out of the same factory must be equal, they must be
manufactured to the same tolerances (specifications), and they
must have the same performance and reliability. With this
definition of quality, it is possible for a Toyota to be of equal
or greater quality than a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or some other
far more expensive automobile.
it is possible for a fast food restaurant to be even more consistent
than a fine dining restaurant, because they have processes in
place to make sure that every meal is exactly like the last one.
Many have such exact processes that they can guarantee a consistent
quality from coast to coast no matter which restaurant you go
in the world does this have to do with the Spa industry?
submit to you, that we (as an industry) have been thinking about
“quality” as “excellence” instead of “consistency”, and have the
cart before the horse. Something in our industry is
wrong when two of the same services rendered in the same facility
are delivered differently.
have been spending our time finding excellent Providers that have
their own unique way of performing services. Some are very
experienced, many provide an excellent service to our customers,
but few are delivering a “consistent” service to our clients.
may ask “if they are “excellent” then what is the problem?” -
In order to have a business and a brand name we must be able to
deliver a consistent service to our client. It does not
matter whether the service was performed by Sally or Robert, it
NEEDS to be the same every time, otherwise we are selling our
Providers product and not our own!
our restaurant example, if you go to a restaurant on two occasions
and the food is different then you know they have a “quality”
issue. Even if both times the food was good, if it was different,
then they have a problem that needs to be fixed. It does
not matter that there may have been two different chefs on those
occasions, as a customer we will not accept that excuse.
The meal (and service) must be consistent every time!
you are an independent Provider, doing services as a one man show,
then creativity and uniqueness are what you what. If on
the other hand you are a Spa then your business depends on consistency,
making each one the same as the last.
all seem to understand that the phone should be answered in a
certain way every time, we also seem to understand the layout
of our retail should conform to certain guidelines, but why are
we not as concerned about how our services are delivered?
it too difficult to obtain consistency? Are we incapable
of obtaining consistency?
think we rely on the past training and experience of each Provider
too much! We also admire their creativity and desire to
make our customers happy. But when we rely on these things
we are doing a very good job of helping them build their own business
and personal clientele, but a poor job of building a clientele
loyal to our business and to our Spa.
do we obtain Consistency?
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.
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.
three main weapons we have to achieve consistency are:
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.
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.
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.”
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.
let a Provider perform one of your services until they have been
evaluated and are performing the service per procedure.
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.
is good, but consistency is imperative!
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.
Williams can be reached at: