Ask Susie: What to do When Spa Treatments are Bad
What do you suggest I do when I have had a bad spa treatment at a spa?
All spas should continually strive to improve, so speaking up is important. Here are my suggestions:
1. Tell your therapist, immediately, what would take the treatment from “bad” to “good.”
Mention something to the therapist the minute things are not going well to try and improve your experience before the service is over. Example: I had a massage therapist who started adding intermittent stretches to the deep tissue massage I had scheduled, which I didn’t want. I said to him, “while I know that stretching during a massage can be beneficial, I really prefer to only have the massage portion today.” He made the change right away and what could have been a “bad spa treatment” turned into a good one.
2. If you haven’t been able to resolve the issue with your therapist, talk with the spa manager.
To be honest, I don’t do this at the spa right after the service; not only would it be awkward but it would ultimately increase my stress level rather than reducing it (which is the reason I went to the spa in the first place.) Contact the spa manager later that day or the next day either by phone or email, or send a note in the mail.
3. Consider writing an online review. If you feel that the complaint is information worth spreading, share it on the internet. You can post a review on myriad websites. On www.spafinder.com, spa managers have a chance to respond to your complaint. This often results in a fruitful conversation where problems are addressed and improvements are made. (Remember that you can also write an online review to share positive experiences and give kudos to a therapist!)
And finally, I have one request on behalf of spa directors everywhere: make sure the motive behind your complaint is not to receive a free treatment. Occasionally a spa manager might respond generously with a little something to make up for the problem you encountered; however just like in a restaurant when you are unhappy with the food, it would be unreasonable to expect your entire meal to be comp’d. Most therapists and spas try very hard to make your experience a good one – since they definitely want you to come back!