Monday, March 31, 2008

Cancellation, schmancellation.

Our cancellation policy is something I've wrestled with a long time. On the one hand, clients who don't give us any notice before cancelling or rescheduling their appointments hurt us a great deal. If you don't know until 10 minutes before their appointment that someone is not going to show up for their service, then you've held that slot and turned away others that you could have taken instead. So some amount of compensation for your lost revenue and the opportunity cost of replacement revenue seems in order.

On the other hand, clients get really PISSED when they are charged for services they did not receive. Sometimes, life is beyond our control, such as when our flights are delayed, or when we get into car accidents, have to go to the hospital, have family emergencies, and more. So I really do see it both ways. My therapists are really disappointed and upset when they are canceled on, and my clients are really angry when they are charged. It seems like goodwill is lost no matter what.

After thinking about it a long time, I decided to take a different approach from most spas. I passed it around to my 2,300+ newsletter clients, and a significant number of them wrote in to give me feedback on my new idea. And we arrived at something I think will work out well!

Basically, it goes like this: as a spa, we want repeat business. That means we're interested in a long-term relationship with our clients, not just one-night stands. So if life "happens" to them, then we want to be understanding of that fact. We WILL charge a 50% cancellation fee, but we will then allow the client to use 100% of that fee towards their next service, so long as it occurs within 3 months of the original appointment that was canceled. This way, the client doesn't "lose" the value of their money; they will simply have pre-paid for part of their next appointment. That preserves their goodwill, and meanwhile, it also ensures us that they will, indeed, come back (if they want to use up their credit on file).

So far, we've had good comments on this policy. We are implementing it starting this month, so we'll see how it goes!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fell off the wheel!

Future spa owners take note: don't take your bad mood to work. Your employees will get contaminated by it, they will think you are irritable, rude, and angry at them, and the spa's entire atmosphere will be permeated by it.

I should know: I made this mistake this past Saturday. I chose to react negatively to some of my staff showing up late, some of my other staff continuing to make the same mistakes as they have done in the past, and some of my other staff took my negative attitude personally. Oh, you could say I fell "off the wheel!" Where was my Eckhart Tolle training when I needed it?

I am still wrestling with my own ego and its position of ascendance. Some days I do feel completely open and peaceful, and other days, before I even know it, I am walking around under a nest of storm clouds. I guess it's just continuing to practice calling myself to awareness and understanding the emotions that are roiling around inside me AS they are roiling around, before they've caused suffering to others.

My spiritual teacher, Theresa Hatcher, often calls me "Little Buddha." I have to be worthy of the name, though! So I went back to the drawing board and flipped open Eckhart's book for a second read last night. I guess I would say I am still a "Buddha-in-Progress" at this point.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just gaw-geous!

Today was a wonderful day. I don't normally work Sundays, but I had an appointment with a couple today that I had to make customized aphrodisiac blends for, so I dragged my husband to the spa with me (since I don't get to spend much time with him except on Sundays).

On our way to Pavia, driving down Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road, I felt a most blissful sensation, the most unutterable and profound joy that swelled up in my chest and made it full to bursting. It was the sight of those cherry blossom trees, the ones that bloom pure white and carpet the ground in pale pink and white petals in the springtime. At least, I think they're cherry blossom trees (I'm not sure). What I do know is I was just in awe of their beauty, and just so grateful to get to drive past them each day.

While at the spa, I got to welcome several clients and introduce them to my new herbal tea bar, which consists of 6 blends that I personally specified and had custom-formulated for Pavia. I just LOVE doing that. I LOVE introducing people to healthy ways of living, and seeing their reactions to herbs and realizing how helpful they can be.

Then I met my clients, and I started off by brewing them some aphrodisiac tea (our "Sensuali-Tea" blend consisting of rosebuds, damiana, nettles, vanilla bean, and vanilla extract). Then we created a custom aphrodisiac blend for the husband and wife together that they each really liked (what a charming couple they were). The gentleman settled on Sandalwood, Ylang ylang, Ginger, and Grapefruit, and it made for a very sensual, yet not too feminine scent. It smelled great. The wife's blend consisted of Sandalwood, Rose, Anise, and Peppermint, which was surprisingly fresh and yet sexy. I was getting very turned on myself. Hee hee! That was tons of fun.

I also showed them the differences between True Rose oil and Rose Perfume oil. I had them experience the real one and the fake one and watched, beaming, as it dawned on them that their own nose could help separate out the good stuff from the bad. I love that ah-ha moment that people have when they realize that their nose "knows" the difference!

Then after the appointment, my hubby and I went to Il Fornaio and had their "Tosto Francese," french toast smothered in berries and mascarpone cheese. I tell you, I was in heaven today right here on earth. Beauty in my eyes, beauty in my stomach. Life just can't get any better than this!