How To Handle Difficult Spa Customers – 12 Strategies That Work!

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How To Handle Difficult Spa Customers - 12 Strategies That Work!

Have you found yourself experiencing difficult customers in your spa 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 handle 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 Customers 

No matter what business you are in, there will always be unhappy customers you will have to deal with. 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 feel they haven’t got the standard they paid for. 

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

Now you might not see success all the time, but these tried and tested strategies should come in handy and save you a meltdown or two!

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

Keep Calm 

This is perhaps the most vital strategy! If a guest is angry, keep calm. You can often diffuse an angry situation by remaining calm. Your calming presence can often help calm an angry person down and help you work through the situation calmly. 

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 releasing environment, and you don’t want the actions of one person to ruin the experience for everyone else.

Ask the 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, you do not interrupt them, argue 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 a fantastic tool and one more of us should implement. It involves consciously listening to the words someone is saying and the entire message they are trying to get across.

Is your customer really angry about the massage, or did they not feel as important as they wanted to? Actively listen to what they are saying to better understand the issue at hand. 

Try and repeat phrases back to them so they can tell you are taking them seriously. This can also help you better piece together the issue.

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 You 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, and remember to consider your staff members’ views too. 

Hear From The Other Side 

If the complaint is about a therapist or service provider, then speak to them too. You will want to hear their version of the story to see if there is any truth in what your customer is saying.

Speak to your staff in a separate area and do it in private, rather than in front of the customer. Speaking to them privately can help prevent more confrontation or arguments, especially if there are differences in their stories.

As with any retelling of an event, there are bound to be some differences!

Say Sorry 

Even if you aren’t in the wrong, apologizing for your customer 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! 

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 on 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 grievance, and you must consider this and see what can be done to avoid it happening again. 

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.

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 adopt to handle any difficult customers that come your way!

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

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.

Read my story → 

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