Sticky Situation: Free Ugrades

What do you do when you suspect an employee of giving free upgrades?

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The Situation: "It happens often that a client will schedule a Swedish massage, but, as the therapist discusses areas of concern, the guest will ask for deep tissue work," explains Heather Piper, owner of River Bend Therapeutic Massage in Kennebunk, Maine. "The therapist will agree, but won't report the upgrade to the front desk. So, the therapist gets a bigger tip for the extra work, but the spa loses out on the upgrade income."

The Solution: "Sometimes the clients pressure them to do something like this and they feel so uncomfortable to say no," says Tamara Friedman, owner of Tamara Spa + Wellness in Farmington Hills, Michigan. "When this problem arises, I meet with the therapist and explain that this is unacceptable behavior and let them know the consequences should it happen again. I also discuss the situation with the client and let her know this is not how we do things in my spa. Summer Langhorne, general manager of milk + honey in Austin, Texas says referring back to policies stated in your spa's employee handbook is also a good idea when coaching an employee through this type of issue. "Explain to them that free upgrades is the same as stealing and they could be terminated for doing that," Langhorne adds.

Got a Sticky Situation to share? Email carrie.borzillo@gmail.com.