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Handling Difficult Spa Customers -12 Strategies That Work!

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Have you found yourself experiencing difficult spa customers and aren’t sure how to deal with them? Perhaps you have had complaints and aren’t sure how you should handle them.

Maybe you are opening a spa and want to be prepared for any difficulty that might come your way. Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!

We know how difficult some customers can be. They can be aggressive, loud, and abusive to staff or us, and situations can quickly become hostile. It can be difficult to diffuse these situations and leaves many of us wondering if it’s the profession for us.

Well, no more! Today, we are here with twelve proven strategies to help you deal with difficult customers at your spa and get you the resolutions you want! Keep reading to find out more and brush up on your conflict resolution skills today!

Strategies For Handling Difficult Spa Customers

Regardless of which type of business you’re in, there will always come times when you’ll have to handle unhappy customers or angry customers. And spas are no exception! It’s not nice when it happens, especially after you have invested so much time and money into your spa.

But there are always those with unrealistic expectations or who feel they haven’t got the standard they paid for. Such as if they come in late and their treatment time is cut down since you want to avoid the next customer waiting and having another annoyed customer.

So, what do you do? Below, we have compiled a list of twelve strategies that you can apply to handle difficult customers and get successful results!

You may not always get results right away, but these tried and tested strategies should help you avoid meltdowns and keep things under control. 

You can incorporate a few of these or just one if you wish to handle customer complaints at your spa. Let’s get into these strategies!

Keep Calm

Difficult spa customers

This is perhaps the most vital strategy! If a guest is angry, keep calm. You can often diffuse an angry customer by remaining calm. Your calming presence can often help calm an angry person down and help you work through the situation calmly. Getting stressed and anxious is proven to be contagious, according to Harvard Business Review. If you get irate, this can further irritate the customer.

HBR has published an article about this, so if you want to know more, check out their research.

It’s worth noting that it won’t always work. In some cases, a calming presence can make someone even angrier.

But it’s best to stay calm; you don’t want to get angry, lose your temper and say something that you don’t mean.

Anger is often viewed as an undignified emotion, so it’s best avoided in these situations.

Move To A Quiet Area

If your guest is loud and making a scene, you will want to move this out of sight. A spa is a calming and relaxing environment, and you don’t want the actions of one person to ruin the experience for everyone else.

Ask the upset customer to step into a private space where you can discuss the issue further. A spare treatment room, office, or private space is the best place to do this. Be sure that the space is easy to leave and that there is CCTV in there if you are concerned about the situation becoming hostile. You don’t want to put yourself at a disadvantage here.

Listen To Your Guest

Once you are in a private place, ask your customer to explain their complaint or issue to you. Be sure that you do not interrupt them and wait until they finish speaking before you respond.

If there are a lot of points, you might want to make a note of them so that you can respond to what they are saying. Make this clear to the customer that is what you are doing too.

Often this can help a customer calm down, too, as they feel you are listening and taking their concerns seriously.

Be sure that while your guest speaks that you hold eye contact and that you do not interrupt them, argue with them or get defensive. Instead of listening to them and planning your response, spend your time listening only to what they have to say.

Use Active Listening

Active listening is an excellent skill and one we should all practice. It involves consciously listening for the full meaning behind the person’s statement and the entire message he or she is trying to convey.

Is your customer angry about a treatment they booked, or did they feel that they were not given the special treatment they wanted? Actively listen to what they are saying to better understand the issue at hand.

Try repeating their statements back to them, so that they know you’re listening carefully. This can also help clarify the problem for you.

Hearing and being heard are essentials for human communication. These basics need to be met in an interaction, otherwise, we may get frustrated.

Psychology Today has published an interesting piece on essential elements of human communication.

There are plenty of free tools online you can use to improve your active listening skills if you want to make use of them. Why not incorporate them into any future staff training too?

Keep Yourself And Your Team Protected

When dealing with difficult customers, make it clear that you will not tolerate any abusive language or behavior towards yourself or any team members.

Making this clear ensures that your team knows you are protecting them and creates a clear boundary for the customer.

If they choose to continue unacceptable behavior, you might need to ask them to leave to ensure that your staff is not abused.

You will also want to avoid throwing any team members under the bus. There are many reports of spa owners and managers siding with customers over their staff.

Doing this never goes unnoticed and can cause issues of mistrust and animosity on your team. You should treat your staff with respect and have their backs.

Be diplomatic during the conflict, be patient, take a deep breath, and remember to consider your staff members’ views too.

Hear From The Other Side

If the complaint is against a therapist or service provider then talk to them too. It’s important to hear both sides of the argument so that you can decide whether they were right or wrong.

When talking to your employees, keep things confidential by doing it in another room and out of sight of the client.

As with any retelling of events, there are likely to be some discrepancies between the two parties accounts.

Say Sorry

Even if you aren’t in the wrong, apologizing to your customer for having an unhappy experience can help to diffuse the situation. Be sure that your apology is sincere and done with enthusiasm.

Heartfelt apologies can throw an angry person off the scent, and they are left wondering what there is to fight about. Even if what happened isn’t your fault (or didn’t happen), apologizing that they are unhappy can help with even the most difficult customers.

Look For A Solution

Ask your customer how they would like to see the situation resolved. If their suggestion isn’t very reasonable, you can offer your solution. You could offer a discount on their return visit or complementary treatment.

The offer of such solutions usually calms down a customer and ensures you have secured them for a return visit. Even if the guest is wrong and your spa has done everything perfectly, they can still go online and leave you a bad review.

It’s incredibly easy to tear down someone’s average reputation, and it’s a risk many spas can’t afford to take.

Sometimes, you can’t find a solution there and then, and that’s okay too. Try your best to offer a solution that keeps your client content.

If you can’t, tell the guest that you will follow up later and contact them again. This is better than offering nothing and gives you some time to think about the challenging situation.

Follow Up

As we mentioned above, when you can’t find a solution on the spot, follow up with the guest later. This can be an email, phone call, or letter. Reiterate your earlier apology and offer your solution.

It’s best to do this within the first day or two. You don’t want to leave your guest waiting around (that gives them time to leave a bad review) or to ghost them!

Be sure you follow up promptly and offer your guest the opportunity to respond to your follow-up.

Don’t Be Afraid to cut them loose.

The strategies listed above are fine for one-time or occasionally difficult customers, but they shouldn’t be used for repeat customers. After all, you can’t be giving free treatments out all the time!

There comes a point where you need to draw the line and ask the guest if they would be happier somewhere else. It is not fair to you or your team to continually deal with someone angry and offensive.


Complaints are also an opportunity to learn. Think about their complaints. Did it have merit? There could be a genuine reason behind your customer’s complaint, and you must consider this and see what can be done to avoid it happening again. Think about how to improve your own policies regarding customer service experience and managing your customers’ expectations.

Make Notes

Our final strategy is to take notes. These can be done during or after the conversation with your customer. Note their behavior so that your staff is prepared for their next visit. This way they are also prepared to render excellent customer service and definitely your customer satisfaction rate will improve.

These notes can also be handy if you decide to ban the customer, as these can be used as a reason why. There’s usually a function on your management software that will allow you to do this and distribute the information to your staff with ease!

Final Word

And there you have it, twelve strategies you can implement to handle any difficult or rude customers that may come your way! 

Remember to remain calm, and ensure that you listen to your customers to help solve any issues that may arise. 

In conclusion, remember that every customer has different needs, wants, and requirements. If you’re able to understand this, you’ll be able to provide great customer service and keep your clients happy. 

P.S. Here’s an article if you’re interested in reading about handling negative and dissatisfied customer online reviews,

About Me

Hey there, welcome to the blog! I’m Carmen. I have over 30 years of experience in the beauty and wellness industry. My goal is to help smart spa business owners and managers like you achieve the success and freedom you deserve and that I desperately wanted when I started.

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