An Old Head!
Nearing the big '40' is not always the easiest thing to face up to and even more so when you have just recently changed your career path! After leaving school I attended college to do a secretarial course and ended up working in an office for more than 15 years. After feeling in a bit of a rut for many years, I decided to follow the path of beauty and holistic therapies. I packed up my desk and made for the bright lights of yet another college to complete my 2 year HND Beauty Therapy course. Thoroughly enjoying the course albeit quite stressful at times, I took my newly acquired qualification and had a hard think as to which path I wanted to take.
After trying my hand at some mobile work for a while to keep my hand in, I then decided to accept a job in a day spa not far from where I lived. Full of excitement but also with a little trepidation, I embarked on my new found career path. I loved spending time with my clients, men and women, of all ages and enjoyed imparting a little bit of my own wisdom onto them in order to help them improve their health and well-being in general. Unfortunately what I didn't like was how much of my time with my clients was dictated by the ticking clock in the treatment room!
I do realise that every spa or salon is somebody's business and money has to be made but it makes you wonder if one of the most important aspects in this industry is being pushed more to the side in order to make more money. Having time for your client, listening to them, giving them proper advice and really connecting with them, to me, seems just as important if not more to giving an excellent treatment.
There seems to be a lot more younger people starting off in this industry than people of my own age group and who I feel do not have as much life experience under their belts. Don't get me wrong, I do strongly believe there are many excellent therapists out there who are a lot younger than myself and can bond with their clients very effectively. However, do they really know the right things to say and when to properly listen to what the client is saying?
The art of communication is perfected through time, from years of dealing with a variety of people from differing backgrounds and in different situations. This is when I wonder if an 'older head' may be even better when dealing with our clients of today. As many people know, clients are wiser and more aware of what they want and in today's stressful climate, they want to feel pampered, safe and whisked away from their hectic lifestyles, even if it's only for half an hour!
During consultation, in my experience, also seems to be the time when clients open up a little more to you, the therapist. This can be a stress release for themselves, being able to vent their feelings to a total stranger but one in a caring profession. There is of course a line you do not cross where empathy can turn to sympathy and we all know, as therapists that professionalism remains throughout the client's time in your services.
Wouldn't it be so much more rewarding if more time was to be set aside to really make a massive impact on the client's visit? If more therapists concentrated a little more on improving their communication skills, not only would businesses benefit from more repeat clients but the treatments supplied by the therapists could have a more profound effect on the client as a whole.
Are we too wrapped up in making money to take a step back and realise that the client is the important factor in our industry?