Did you know that the optimum ratio for positive to negative feedback at work is 3:1? Apparently this magic ratio ensures peak performance. (Rumour has it that in domestic situations this changes to 7:1 so less nagging more darling I love this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, but…) I was thinking about this ratio whilst having a particularly bad beauty salon experience. In recent months I have found that the ratio of positive to negative service I am receiving in the beauty industry is declining rapidly – in a bad way.

Does anyone else find going for beauty appointments these days incredibly stressful? I used to think of all the facials, hair, waxing, eyebrows, mani/pedi, massage, appointments etc etc etc as “me” time and add to the list of things I hold dear and enjoy. In reality I am increasingly finding appointments expensive, time consuming and generally stressful. I am always rushing, spending hours on the phone trying to get an appointment (weekend and evening appointments being rarer than hens teeth), then finding the service variable when I get there.

So I tried to think of my 3:1 ratio. Those I rate and those I …Well, that I dearly wish would see the error of their ways.

On my love it, can’t wait to go, list is my hairdresser. The fabulous Jerome who always makes me feel utterly magical and like he has only come into work that day for me (this feeling is helped by the fact he actually has opened his salon only for me before – but it feels like that time, every time). J’adore. [Moderne London for those of you looking for your own slice of magic]. Negative feedback = nil. Number two on the list is my newly found mani/pedi salon. Convenient enough to get to after work, quiet enough to always get an appointment and great quality, such that I forgive the slightly excessive Central London cost (the perfect 3:1). Number three is a friend of mine who has recently set up her home salon. Ideal for back massages (I can’t go to a friend for my waxing no matter how often she tells me it won’t be weird).

But, for the good, there is bad. And today the bad is an unnamed, upmarket, centrally located beauty emporium. Somewhere I have frequented for quite some years.

I arrive early for my appointment. I feel smug. I am early. I can relax in the waiting area instead of rushing. I may peruse the products and treat myself to new moisturiser. The season is changing and all that. I must need a new moisturiser. I “check-in” explaining I’m half an hour early.”Yes you are 27 minutes early” the receptionist replies and looks concerned about my wait. I explain I’m absolutely fine to sit and wait. I ask if I can pick up a coffee from the cafe . No problem says reception.

Walking through to the cafe I ask for a coffee to take through to the waiting area. The chap at the counter says I have to order with the waitress. I ask the waitress. She says that if I want a coffee in the spa I have to order through reception. Yes the reception I have just been to. Debate ensues. The result being it is not an option to buy myself a coffee (I am stood in the coffee shop) and walk it through myself to the spa. Really?!

I decline all further options for coffee. I do not want to give them any more of my money. I will not be buying products. It is a lose lose situation. I am miserable, they get less of my money.

Other recent examples include the refusal to refund a facial cancelled with three weeks notice (they changed their mind after I reminded them I could ask the bank to refund this on the grounds of goods not provided aka Section75 of the Consumer Credit Act – why was this necessary?)

A Big Name pedi parlour who happily took £150 from tOH for a voucher, only to advise Big Name “isn’t  taking appointments at the moment due to other commitments” when I called to book. So where does this leave us? Do we vote with our feet and never return or are we better being honest? “We love these THREE things about you, but this ONE is really just not working out for us!”

Would you say what you were thinking or would you just go elsewhere? Answers on a postcard please…



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