Sticky Situation: Instant Deal Gone Awry

What do you do when your limited-time spa treatment deal attracts an unexpectedly big response?

The Situation: "If I get in at 9 a.m. and see there's a light schedule, we blast last-minute instant specials to our email list of about 10,000 on a first come/first serve basis," says Scott Kerschbaumer, co-owner of ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skin Care in Pittsburgh and ESSpa at the Carnegie Inn & Spa in State College, Pennsylvania. "We recently offered a great deal on a manicure—$9 for the first caller! We got that first call within 22 seconds, and filled up the remaining appointment slots within 10 minutes, which is the whole idea. But then, two hours later, somebody calls hoping to be the first caller. When I explain that it's been claimed, she spends 16 minutes reading me the Riot Act and threatening to call an attorney and the Better Business Bureau."

The Solution: "We did nothing wrong, but of course I still wanted to calm her down," Kerschbaumer says, "so I just tried to patiently explain how these deals work, and how it's all about calling in faster. The key is to always just remain calm and let upset people vent. Hear them out, and then calmly explain the facts of the situation."

What would you have done? Please sound off below in the comment field. Have you had a similar experience? Got a sticky situation to share? Email your spa horror story to!


Anonymous's picture

So the rest of the story

So the rest of the story is...... The upset customer basically said that she is never coming back. Which is a bit funny because she had said at the beginning of the call that she had never come in before. So the end result is that in this particular case, the customer self-identified herself as someone we would rather not have as a client. The point being, she insisted on getting the 1st caller special price and was simply not happy when offered the 'regular caller' deal (which was $7 dollars more). We want to be busy and we want to reward our loyal customers but we do want to make a little money too. Cheapskates are welcome to find another establishment with our blessings. BTW, we are happy to help you revamp and revitalize (or create) a system to explode your profits. Just visit and send us an email. Cheers, Scott Kerschbaumer