Veteran esthetician Lisa Martin offers solutions for spa protocol, business etiquette and managing your staff.


Hi Lisa,

No matter how many times I ask them, I’m having a hard time getting my staff to do the little things, such as greeting guests properly and offering each one a beverage when they arrive. How can I get them to consistently treat each client the way I want them to be treated? —Susan M.


Dear Susan,

One common denominator I see among many spas is that there is no spa protocol written out that covers the issues you just mentioned. Employees won’t follow a plan that’s not written down. Creating a plan can be as simple or as involved as you want it to be, but it should help you get back on track.

  • First, take time out of your schedule to write up an outline, step-by-step, of how you want your clients’ treatment experiences to flow. For example, you can list the appropriate way for employees to answer the phone and greet clients, including serving them a beverage. Keep in mind that the more detailed you are, the easier it will be for employees to follow.
  • Once you’re done with the outline and you’re happy with it, your next step is to introduce and explain it to your employees. If you have multiple locations or a management structure in place, you’ll probably want to review and discuss it with your managers and get their input before giving it to your entire staff.
  • Schedule a staff meeting to hand out and discuss your new spa protocol. Employees thrive under it—they need and want the structure. It’s how they know what needs to be done and how to do it.
  • Tell employees that you’re implementing the plan by a certain date in the future, giving an appropriate orientation period. That gives them time to adjust to it, and gives you and your managers the time to coach them.
  • Finally, once you’ve finished your new protocol and put it into place, don’t let it just gather dust. Once you have it in place, it can be evaluated, updated and tweaked. Your basic foundation is planted, and can now be adjusted as needed.


Lisa Martin, founder of Operation Spa and a licensed esthetician for more than18 years, creates successful strategies and customized solutions for spa operations, protocol, employee incentive and undercover evaluation programs. For more information, visit www.operationspa.com.

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