A Publisher Walks into a Spa….

On the list of siblings that PR is often pitted against or partnered with (Marketing, Advertising, Investor Relations, Human Resources), Customer Service plays the role of the distant half-sister. They don’t know each other very well, and are forced together every now and then at “family” gatherings and realize, hey, we look nothing alike/see you at next year’s party.

Well, PR and Customer Service should know each other better and get together more often.  I regularly write in this blog about customer service problems I encounter or hear about from colleagues that make my PR hat fall off my head.  Customer service is inextricably linked to the big 3 of business: Reputation. Brand. Sales.  How can so many companies not get this? Case in point last week:  I went to a spa for a half-hour Swedish massage and the masseuse mistakingly gave me a full hour’s treatment (don’t blame me!).

When, upon checking out to pay, I told the owner that I think I was in there for an hour,  she scolded the masseuse at high volume in front of all the staff and customers, told her if she does that again she’ll be fired, and told me I need to pay the full one hour and to please not tip the masseuse. All of a sudden, my stress-free hour turned into a Customer Service nightmare. I paid in full (even though I paid double of what I originally ordered) and I gave the employee a tip. A day later, the owner left me a voice message apologizing, and offering me a free half-hour massage. Really? I will never step foot in that Spa again — even for a bottle of shampoo.  Or for a free back rub over warm coals.  I spread the word to my friends and while my circle of influence is relatively small, I’m pretty sure this spa’s Reputation, Brand and Sales quotient took a small turn for the worse.

What would you have done in this situation? Would you have take the free massage? There’s still time for me to go back….

– Diane Schwartz

  • http://NA Dianne Haynes


    Would you go back to fix another problem such as a bad haircut? Case in point: I sat for a consultation with a well known salon while the new stylist spoke to the last client who pointed to her hair. The client was at the desk about to pay as a good client does, and it was obvious her color was only half done. The stylist said across the room, “next time.” Well, do you think I would hire this man for his service? Do you think I would trust as I always have a stylist who did not care about the service and client after seeing this?

    With your spa visit being so distruptive how could you have just paid for the service you did not ask for in the first place?

    If you have been a frequent client of the salon they possibly would not have spoken to you the way they did, however, they did, and you were reprimanded for being honest and considerate.

    It all depends on how you view the situation, and how you feel today after letting off emotions. It did trigger something didn’t it? A swedish massage is deep, and possibly something came up in your past that was left over like being a communicative, again honest person. If the situation was for a larger amount of money and service, would you have still just paid?

    Your the best for sharing this.

  • http://www.starvingcollegegirl.com Lesley Chang

    This incident was not your (the customer’s) fault, nor is it the masseuse’s fault. However, it’s a pretty good indication of how the employer treats their employees. If anything, you should request that the masseuse get paid for the full hour because I’m willing to bet that they didn’t get paid.

    I personally never understood why PR and Customer Service don’t go hand in hand – most of the time, you’re trying to please your client anyway!