In this new weekly column, we present real-life day spa disaster scenarios, and reveal how pros dealt with each crisis.


The Situation: “We received an email from a client with a lot of nit-picky complaints, such as that our spa was cold, a staffer didn’t say hello to her, there wasn’t enough food in the relaxation area, too much light, the drapes weren’t drawn, and so on,” says Scott Kerschbaumer, co-owner of ESSpa Kozmetika Organic Skin Care in Pittsburgh and ESSpa at the Carnegie Inn & Spa in State College, Pennsylvania.

The Solution: “To a certain extent, I threw my staff under the bus in my response, because after all, those are lazy mistakes that we shouldn’t be making, and I admit that,” shares Kerschbaumer. “I copied the complaining client on my email to the staff about it. And I told her that I wouldn’t be satisfied until she was, and told her what I’d do to prove that I took her seriously. Then I re-instructed my staff to always say hello to each guest and be hospitable, emphasizing that nobody is going to complain if they ask, ‘How are you doing? Do you need anything?’ I’d rather my staff fall over themselves to be hospitable. The client soon wrote back thanking me, and saying she’d tell all of her friends how wonderful we are. That’s the result I wanted and, yeah, I had to throw my staff under the bus a bit, but it was for the greater good and we didn’t lose her as a client.”

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!

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