Trying to build your massage or spa business? Sip on these pointers from Starbucks: Part II

In the first part of this series (see: What can a day spa or massage business learn from Starbucks?) we discussed how Starbucks became an international business success by charging five times as much as people previously paid for coffee and redefined the coffee experience in the process.  We presented the five key principles behind Starbucks’ success as a customer service giant and are applying these principles to the massage and day spa business.

Build your massage business or day spa business with ideas from Starbucks

If you own a day spa business, massage business, or are an independent massage therapist, you too may want to discover how it is possible to charge more even when your competitors and the “Massage Envy’s” of the world are charging less.  It all starts from recognizing that customers want a great experience; one that will brighten their day and uplift them.  If you can provide this level service in your spa business you may find that the price comparisons slip away because clients cannot compare apples and oranges.

Inspired by the national best seller, The Starbucks Experience, this series of articles will expand on the customer service secrets that made Starbucks so successful and give ideas of how you can incorporate these concepts into your day spa business or massage business. Building a massage business or building a day spa business isn’t easy.  But with a few lessons from Starbucks, the service masters, perhaps it can be a little be less difficult and a lot more fun.

 “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own
 the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” Jack Welsh

 Principle #1 – Make It Your Own

Making it your own is not about physical ownership. It is about mentally taking ownership of your responsibilities and injecting your own character and vitality into everything you do.  Your spa business should reflect your vision while interjecting the energies and personalities of each member of your staff from your massage therapists to your receptionist.  By allowing staff to be genuine you can create an experience that will keep customers coming back.

In keeping with this principle, Starbucks does not write a script instructing staff as to what to say to each customer; instead they provide what they call the “Five Ways of Being”:

Be Welcoming – Properly greeting new and existing clients is essential both on the phone and in person. Only seconds after speaking with you clients are forming opinions. Do these people care about me? Are they friendly? Do they remember me?  Starbucks defines be welcoming as “offering everyone a sense of belonging”.  If you can make your clients feel that they are part of your family they will never compare you to a massage chain clinic again. Let every member of team know your vision of providing real, meaningful, welcomes to your clients and let them use their personalities to make it happen.

 Be Genuine – We all have heard “How was everything today” by someone who really didn’t care less.  We may even say it ourselves, not expecting anything but “great” in response.  Being genuine is about really caring for the sake of the client, not to further your bottom line.  Let people talk to clients, get to know them, and respond to their individual needs. If you discover a client loves your classical music, but not your jazz music, make sure everyone knows.  When the next therapist knows the client’s preference before she tells him, a bond is formed.  A little act of caring to get to know someone as a person, along with acting on that knowledge to personalize the client’s experience, goes a long way to making your spa business or massage business something special.  

What are you doing to encourage the discovery of each client’s unique needs and what are you doing to satisfy them?

 Be Considerate – Starbucks executives would say that your spa business or massage business should be considerate to everyone.  Be considerate to your neighbors, the environment, the community, and each other.  When you care about recycling, donating to charities, volunteering at hospitals, etc. you create an environment that people want to share.  A culture of being considerate to others, even those that are not clients, creates something that people want to share in.  Start this process from within with your staff.  Encourage everyone to tell clients how good the other massage therapists are instead of hording the client for themselves.  An atmosphere of sharing creates positive energy and increased opportunities for all.

 Be Knowledgeable – A friendly but unknowledgeable staff is not much help to the client, whereas a knowledgeable staff who loves what they do is a priceless asset.  People need fun and satisfaction at work and if you give it to them they will be your most important advertising asset. How many massage therapists hardly ever receive massages?  Have you, your massage therapists, and staff members experienced all of the treatments on your menu?  Do you encourage continuing education?  Provide a culture of learning and sharing and your staff members will enthusiastically share this information with clients putting you a big step ahead of the competitors.

 Be Involved – From the Starbucks perspective this means active participation “in the store, in the company, and in the community.”  Smart business leaders know that they will be successful only when employees go beyond the minimum and invest their full energies into the business. Your massage therapists and other staff need to be encouraged to participate in your day spa or massage business and encouraged to help the community.  You, as the owner, need to create a culture where everyone is listened to and everyone can contribute with their unique talents.  As a small business owner you need to lead and set the example.  Get involved in the community yourself, encourage input by staff, post opportunities to volunteer for your massage therapists, and just generally maintain an atmosphere that immerses staff in everything about your business. 

 What opportunities have you missed in your massage business or day spa business?  Where can use your passions to get involved?

The five ways of being reflect the core values of Starbucks.  What are the core values of your spa business or massage business?

See All Five Principles


The Massage Advancer is a publication of Kala Group.  Kala Group offers the only massage franchise opportunity in the nation for independent day spa businesses, massage businesses, and independent massage therapists.  If you own a day spa, are considering opening a day spa business or massage business, or you are an independent massage therapist please visit our Massage and Day Spa Franchise Page.  Become part of a team without losing your identity.

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  1. Pingback: What can a day spa or massage business learn from Starbucks? | The Massage Advancer: Your source of facts and news about the science of massage therapy

  2. Fabulous stuff! I do love the information you’ve shared and, on a side note, do treat myself to Starbucks every once and a while and I am never unsatisfied with the service or product!
    I hope my clients feel the same way about me!

  3. Steve, thanks for sharing these concepts from my book The Starbucks Experience. As a regular massage client, I hope it has positive impact in your industry!

  4. Good info, accurate words to run a business by.

  5. To be Genuine. Is exactly the vision I have for my business. That comparison whit Starbucks is extremely accurate! Thank you for the Information!

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