In Search of Nirvana: The Ultimate Customer Experience

In my search for the Nirvana of Customer Experiences, and being the Spa junkie that I am, I decided to see if what Conde Nast would have us believe is true. By that I mean “do destination Spas delivery the ultimate experience?”  My sampling area? Miami.

My answer, sadly, was pretty much “no”.

Of Course, the “presentation” of the ultimate experience was provided, at least initially; but the mechanics and the details did not live up to the promise of the Zen-like get-away from the hardships and perils of today’s world. And certainly not if you take account of the hundreds of dollars treatments cost.  Maybe it’s time destination Spas got back to the basics of customer experience. Here are five areas I found could use improvement:

  1. Start off on the right foot: Being kept waiting 15 minutes while you get checked in at the ‘ultimate detox destination spa’ when you want to enjoy the facilities before your De-Stress Chakra Ritual doesn’t prepare you well for your day of detoxification of mind and body.
  2. Keep it clean: Having to sit among somebody else’s sandwich crusts and green-tea old teabags while waiting for a treatment at a classic, Coconut Grove, Miami hotel because “we don’t have the cleaning staff today” is pretty nasty!
  3. Timing is everything: Sitting in the hot-tub at a ritzy Miami North Beach hotel spa and having three different staff members scream out your name and “would like to come for your treatment earlier” isn’t the reason why you came to the Spa early to decompress your mind before your facial! Instead it makes you feel like an awkward client because you were not enabling your beautician to leave early – as she was ready for you, even if you were not ready for her.
  4. Know the limits: Lounging around the ladies’ locker room and enjoying the last moments of your Spa-afternoon while showering can be destroyed if staff members at a Downtown Miami spa hotel take it upon themselves to have their “break” in the ladies’ locker room and shout, laugh and use the products and services provided for their clients.
  5. Service doesn’t end at the door: Having to wait 25 minutes for your valet to return while you hang around the hotel lobby pretty much negates the effects of your “detox” massage at a recently renovated South Beach 5 star hotel!

So, the common denominator seems to be lack of organization and management oversight. Or at least at first sight it does.

One has to ask oneself, do the people responsible for actual delivery of the “ultimate Zen get-away from the horrors of the world” really get what that means? Has this been communicated in their regular training and induction? What these less than adequate experiences tell me is that it isn’t enough to train how to deliver the ultimate experience. It’s important to train “how does it feel to receive the ultimate experience?” Or not feel it, as the case may be.

And this feeling has to be joined up. All things in the equation have to work, from the valet to the therapist and back to the valet.

Tell me what you think. How do you think the complex myriad of touch-points can best come together to create the ultimate nirvana of customer experiences?

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