Thursday, November 16, 2006

Getting The Best Service at Salons and Spas

Following up on yesterday's post on responding to poor service in restaurants, I wanted to talk a bit about how to get good service when you go to a salon or spa, and what to do if you don't. No one wants to end up as a victim of a scissor-happy hairstylist, as Rosario Dawson did recently.


First, do your research before trying a new salon or spa. Only go somewhere that's been recommended to you or that has very positive reviews online. If you get a personal recommendation, ask what treatment they received and who did it. This is particularly important for hairstylists. Your best bet is to find someone with a great cut or color who has a similar hair type as you and ask them who does their hair.

Choose a spa or salon that specializes in the service you want, especially if you're spending a lot of money. If the spa only offers one type of massage but 8 different kinds of facials, skip the massage and get a facial. A few months ago I made an appointment for a pedicure at a well-respected salon that is known for their manicures. I sat in the only chair in a dark, dingy room while my pedicurist talked on her cellphone half the time. Shockingly, my toes didn't look so hot when I left, and I wasted $50.

Talk to your stylist, esthetician, masseuse or manicurist before they begin. Explain exactly what you do and do not want. If you're getting a hair cut or color, this is especially important. If you don't like how it looks as they're working, let them know. You can be polite about it, but make sure you let them know how you feel. On the flip side, tell them it looks or feels great when it does. Also, if you have any medical conditions that might be relevant, make sure to let the spa/salon know first (for example, you should make it known if you're allergic to certain fragrances, or if you had a shoulder injury and you're getting a massage).

If you've had bad service, talk to the manager. It doesn't just have to be "bad service", if you get something quite different from what you asked for, like a bad haircut or an ugly color, most salons will let you come back free of charge to fix it. Same goes for bad spa treatments: if you get a massage that leaves you sore for a week, give the manager a call. Often, if it's the fault of the hairstylist or masseuse you saw, you can't complain right there, so in this case it's better to wait and call the next day. Let them know why your experience was bad, and if they aren't responsive, don't go back.

People go to salons and spas to relax and feel better about themselves. If you leave feeling worse than when you came in, you didn't get what you paid for, and in most cases, the salon or spa will want to do anything they can to make sure your experience was positive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more on this. Once while in Carmel I needed a haircut for a big closing in San Francisco. But there were no barbers there, only salons (a barber there would be declasse). So I called around asking what the salons would charge for a haircut. Everyone wanted $50-$75, but I found one guy who quoted me $30-$45 depending on the work involved. I arrived, took off my hat, and he immediately said, "that'll be $30". So my lack of hair and doing a little research saved me money.