Diane Sparrow is the owner of Riverstone Spa at Inn at the Forks, a hotel spa in Winnipeg, Manitoba and a member of the Leading Spas of Canada Quality Assurance Approved program. She spoke to us about what it means to be a QA spa and why she decided to be part of the program.
What made you decide to put Riverstone Spa through the Quality Assurance Approved assessment process?
There are a few reasons: every business is looking for some uniqueness, something different that they can market, and being involved and part of the Quality Assurance Approved program gives a spa business the edge. It provides them with more integrity as a spa operation, as a business, and it also gives that extra level of assurance that our consumers are getting a safe and quality experience. It’s an assurance for me, as the owner, that the spa is meeting national standards.
What sort of issues and areas in the spa does the QA assessment cover?
There are six primary areas: 1) legal compliance, 2) ethical practice, 3) hygiene and safety, 4) education and training, 5) the operation and function of a business, and 6) the protocols for customer service. So it starts from the front end of your business to the very back.
How do you turn the QA assessment and its results into an opportunity to improve your spa operation?
There are a couple of ways. It’s an onsite assessment where the assessor, a third party, confirms onsite that the spa meets the criteria [of the QA program]. The fundamental criteria are best practices, and that’s a way to say to the spa, if you don’t have it that’s fine, but if you want to get to another level, here is a suggestion. Also, I think it’s important to understand that, what’s so fantastic about this program is that it’s not out to get you. It’s meant to educate and to help if in any area a spa didn’t meet that requirement, they will help you get there. So it’s a win-win for everyone.
After a QA assessment, do you sit down with your staff, debrief, and plan what you want to do differently?
If changes are needed, absolutely. If the criteria aren’t met, the changes that have to be made are implemented. The bottom line is that it’s for the betterment of the spa operation and it’s for your customer, to provide the best treatment possible and to develop that loyalty, which is very hard to do.
Do you educate your clients about what it means to be a QA spa and what they can expect from you?
Absolutely, you have to do that, and you have to be prepared because your spa consumer is very knowledgeable and getting more so all the time. When questions are asked to our staff, they have to be prepared to be able to say, yes we comply in terms of, let’s say, our sterilization procedures, this is what we use, this is what’s expected in the national standards. When we hire, they are notified that we are in compliance with the national standards and this is the importance of it and this is what it means to us. We are displaying our QA seal of approval, that’s saying to the consumer that they’re going to have a quality and safe experience.
What do you want your clients to know about being a QA spa?
I want them to know that, as a business, we have taken that extra step to insure that their safety and the level of treatment they will experience meets national standards. That is a concern for us and because of that we are taking that extra step for their satisfaction.