On My Mind - THE
(Standard Operation Procedure)
Operating Procedure: Established or prescribed methods to be followed routinely
for the performance of designated operations or in designated situations
Spa leaders that are committed to controlling their guests' experiences run their
spas by using standard operating procedures (SOPs) / protocols. These are written
instructions, unique to each spa, for everything from taking a reservation and
greeting the guest to performing a specific type of facial or massage to doing
the laundry and responding to emergencies - basically everything the spa does.
Not only do these spas have comprehensive SOPs, but spa leaders control* them
by ensuring only the latest version of the documents are available and in use.
Having these documents allows for uniform training and easy reference for the
spa's team members. By following the SOPs, the spa team members consistently create
the environment and experience that were intended by the spa's owners and executive
management. SOPs capture the spa's unique "magic." But the magic only
happens when the SOPs are followed by each spa team member every time. Unfortunately,
this doesn't always happen.
*Documentation and document
control are requirements of The
International Standards of SpaExcellence(SM).
team members know the protocol but don't follow it...
been to a number of spas where the technician has told me something like, "Don't
write about this. It's not in the protocol, but I think it makes the treatment
better, and I don't want my manager to know." I have mixed feelings about
this. On one hand, I understand and appreciate that the technician wants to provide
the best experience possible. On the other hand, I wonder: if the change in the
protocol really makes the treatment better, why hasn't the protocol been changed?
Is there a mechanism for the spa team members to provide suggestions for improvement?
Has the suggestion already been considered and been decided against? Has this
spa team member gone rogue and off the grid? Mostly I wonder how many other off-protocol
things the team members are doing about which the spa manager is unaware. It can
be an indication that random activities are normal and acceptable to the spa manager.
Those random activities may not be acceptable for guest comfort and safety. I'll never forget the time that I was wrapped up snugly in a body wrap at a high-end resort. Instead of massaging my scalp or even leaving the room, the therapist used the time to try to sell products to me. These were products that she sold on her own (multi-level markething) and were, according to her, "much better than anything this spa sells." I was literally a captive audience and could not wait to get out of there. I can't say with 100% certainty, but I'm pretty sure that the sales pitch was not in the spa's procedure for the body wrap. I'll never know for sure, because the spa manager could not find time to talk with me. Apparently, she didn't value feedback - a fatal flaw, in my opinion. I wonder how many other body wrap victims the spa had after me before or if the spa manager found out what was going on behind those closed doors.
different experience with each spa team member...
I've been to many,
many spas where the same treatment is performed completely differently by each
team member. This, in my opinion, is not a god thing for the Guest. It is a symptom
of many possible problems. Some of them might be:
- there are no protocols
are protocols but
- team members have not been trained in them
team members have been trained and others haven't
- training was inadequate
- trained team members choose not to follow them
was a staff shortage and untrained staff from a different group temporarily stepped
- the spa's culture
One of the poorest experiences I have
ever had at a spa was due to a complementary bath being presented differently
by two different spa team members. You can read all the frustrating details in
Inconsistency is the Enemy of Quality
On the other hand, spas could exist that intend for every
Guest to receive a unique experience. But then, how do they do that consistently
with good results?
Anonymous Guest Assessments vs. Secret Shoppers
what is spa management to do? How do they know if their procedures and protocols
are being followed or not?
Lots of spas use secret shoppers to check on
how their Guests perceive their services. These are often friends of spa management
who, in return for a free spa treatment, provide an anecdotal story of their spa
experience. Many reports I've seen by "professional" secret shoppers
are essentially the same. They provide no actionable feedback - nothing for the
spa to use to improve its quality system. These secret shoppers would never know
if the treatment they were given followed protocol or not.
Guest Assessments are performed by trained SpaQuality
Certified Assessors who compare the assessor's experience with the spa's SOPs
and protocols as well as The
International Standards of SpaExcellence(SM). Detailed, actionable feedback
is provided specifically to enable the spa to improve its quality system.
my thoughts about The SOP. Thanks for "listening." I am interested in
your opinion. Share it with me at jar@DiscoverSpas.com.
On My Mind Articles
Lantana Spa at JW Marriott San Antonio
Farm to Treatment Table Lavender Experience
This package is available Saturdays only, May 12 – July 14 (excluding June 8), must be booked one week in advance and requires 48 hours notice for cancellation.
Hill Country Lavender Farm tour,
a bottle of organic lavender massage oil made at the farm,
lunch at Replenish Spa Café with items featuring lavender, and a lavender-based spa treatment featuring the organic lavender massage oil from the Hill Country Lavender farm.
You can clean your home, fruits, vegetables and meats with the same 'Aqueous Ozone' that spas and other companies use. Tersano's ‘Aqueous Ozone’ Cleaning Systemt is the world's most effective chemical-free cleaner. ‘Aqueous Ozone’ quickly oxidizes (kills) viruses and bacteria (including E.coli, Salmonella, MRSA, C-Difficil), mold, mildew and other contaminants on any item or surface - from toilets to bedspreads - before changing safely back into water and oxygen. ‘Aqueous Ozone’ is 3000 times faster and 50% more powerful than bleach and chlorine-based cleaners. It is 100% chemical free - no toxins, carcinogens or chemical residue - and safe for babies, pets and people with sensitive skin or those with strong reactions to normal cleaners. ‘Aqueous Ozone’ has long been used in water treatment, food sterilization and medical therapies for its remarkable anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. It sounds too good to be true, but the data show how effective the system works.
I'm a believer.
Hearth Health Month at mySpaShop including the best in health and wellness products from companies that give to those in need.