'A journey of pure delight' 

A couple of friends and I went for a spa day recently. The marketing copy promised to take us ‘on a journey of pure delight’ and a ‘haven of tranquility’, that is not only ‘light, airy and spacious’ but ‘boasts : a 22 meter swimming pool, a world class fire & ice spa including 20 different sauna & steam rooms , 2 hydrotherapy pools, foot spas and themed showers’. It sounded just the ticket for a relaxing afternoon with the girls. 
Back in September 2022, a few of us had taken advantage of a ‘no expiry date’ 50% discounted offer. A half day using the spa facilities plus a 50 minute treatment and afternoon tea. We then promptly forgot all about it until a few weeks ago and thought we ought to get booked in. 
We arrive on time for a midday start. This was after driving around the car park and surrounding side streets for 30 minutes trying to find a parking space – only a slightly stressful start to our experience. 
We check in. It costs extra to hire towels and robes. Thankfully, we’d read the small print and knew about this or it could’ve been an awkward situation. I was prepared, (I used to be in the Girl Guides) and had taken my own. Unfortunately for my friend who’d planned to hire one, they hadn’t got any robes left! 
It turns out that kicking out time of the morning session is midday too – no contingency plans for changeover time. All the robes had been cleared out by the morning people. They didn’t provide the option of prebooking them so it’s a first come, first served situation. She’d have to wait until there were some ready. As there was no estimate on how long that might be the receptionist kindly offered to not take payment at this point. My friend could call back to reception (in her wet swimming costume?) in half an hour or so to see if any had become available and pay then. They weren’t. Someone would bring one to her when they were ready (an hour later, just as we were booking in for our treatments). 

Tranquil treatment and afternoon tea 

Far from being the relaxing, plinky plonk and pan pipe experience I’d expect from a spa it was the opposite. There were so many people packed in. It was very busy and noisy, lots of post gym, loud talker men on their phones and groups of women noisily chatting over the bubbles of the only working jacuzzi. 
We’d had a little pootle around the various steam rooms and saunas, most of which were quite nice. We’d also managed a foot spa but were mindful of getting our cossies wet because we had our treatments booked in – facial and back massage. This was very pleasant, all three of us were booked into the same room and had our treatments simultaneously. We had the usual pre treatment forms to fill in regarding medical conditions etc prior to our treatments. That was literally a form filling exercise as they didn’t even ask our names to see which one of us was which though. 
Treatments over, it was time for afternoon tea. 
“After your tranquil treatments, savor the moment with an elegant afternoon tea in our serene Waterfall Cafe. Delight in freshly baked scones, dainty finger sandwiches, and an array of exquisite cakes. Complement your tea or coffee with the company of your loved one, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to your spa day.” 
This description was as far removed from what we were presented with as you can imagine. (Remember that Willy Wonka debacle in Scotland a few weeks ago? No? Google it.) However, we were starving hungry by this point and there was nothing else to have instead so we ate most of it. It was a bit like sitting in Morrison’s cafe in your dressing gown eating butties made with smart price white bread, cheap margarine and a slice of wafer thin ham. The crusts were still on and they hadn’t even been cut into neat triangles. By this time we were laughing about the whole experience. The cakes and scones, were definitely not exquisite or freshly baked and we two teeny pots of jam and cream between the 3 of us. 

The Ryanair of spas 

It really was all very basic. My friend described it as the ‘Ryanair of spas’. The only redeeming thing of the day was the fact that our 50 minute treatments were nice. Bearing in mind these were included in the price made it very good value really compared to how much you’d pay at a salon. So, from a business point of view this experience was very much a ‘stack it high and sell it cheap model’ . 
It was very much a you get what you pay for affair and most definitely wasn’t the relaxing oasis of calm as we might’ve expected if we were to believe the marketing copy on the website. It will go down in history as “that awful spa we went to”. It was so bad that we didn’t complain as we checked out in case they offered us vouchers to go back.🤣🤣🤣 
They are certainly selling the sizzle not the sausage. We laughed about it and still had a lovely day spending time together but if we’d have paid full price there would not have any laughing going on. Were we expecting too much because we believed the seductive marketing? Should we have known better for the price? 
Will we go back? No. Will we recommend them? No. Will I blog about the experience to demonstrate how they over promised and under delivered ? Yes! 
There are many benefits to be had when you under promise but over deliver as a business. By setting modest expectations and then going above and beyond them, you create a positive experience for your customers. This can strengthen their trust and loyalty to your brand. Consistently over delivering on your promises will build your reputation. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your services to others, leading to word-of-mouth referrals. They are also more likely to become repeat business and long-term advocates for your brand. 
When you highlight the basic features of your product or service in your marketing materials, without hype or exaggerated claims but then provide additional features, bonuses, or unexpected value-added services that enhance the customer experience it increases their perceived value. There’s a rule if thumb that if you have a good experience you’ll probably tell two people, but a bad experience, ten. 

Add value to the customer experience 

Here are a few inexpensive or free ways to add value to the customer experience: 
1. Personalised thank-you notes 
2. Free resources, such as e-books, guides, or checklists, related to your service that are jam packed with useful tips 
3. Regular updates sharing valuable insights or tips on how to optimise their experience with your service 
4. Offer exclusive discounts or promotions to existing customers as a token of appreciation for their loyalty 
5. Offer customers rewards or discounts for referring new clients to your business 
6. Provide personalised recommendations or suggestions based on your customer’s unique needs and preferences, which makes them feel valued 
7. Host a free online webinar once a quarter to preview new products or services 
I make a point of praising good service when I receive it and will leave a positive review. I will complain in restaurants if the food is not up to scratch and give them chance to resolve the issue. In true British fashion, in most cases I don’t bother with negative reviews after the event but will vote with my feet. How about you? 
FAB Business Club : female authentic ballsy 
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It's a supportive business network with personal development and a heart centred vibe at the core of the community – no pressured referrals or other stuff you don’t like about networking. It’s birds of a feather networking and growing their businesses together, sharing collective wisdom, a place to thrive and celebrate camaraderie. It’s a space where you feel like you have come home. 
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