Reading Time: 12 minutes

All mystery shop reviews completed by Beaute Industrie are for the purpose of enhancing the beauty industry on a level of service and excellence. We look at three main components of the shop being; the customer experience, the performed treatment and the therapist’s ability to prescribe and rebook. Together these provide a successful measure of the level of professionalism for the client and stability for the industry.

THE CLINIC:

Milque Spa
Unit 5/1 Dan Street.
Capalaba QLD 4157

THE SERVICE:

70-minute Deluxe Spa Pedicure

THE THERAPIST

Laura

THE EXPERIENCE

Being 34 weeks pregnant, some things on my body are just logistically out of reach – one of those things is my feet. My little swollen piggies can no longer go to the market because they have had no love in 8 months, other than the occasional (and very reluctant) toenail clip that I have to beg my husband for. That in mind, mid Summer when my piggies should be out and about, I decided this month for our Mystery Shop, a pedicure is in order! STAT!

Being a member of a local area mums group on Facebook, someone had asked ‘where is the BEST place in town to get a full day spa package done – I need a treat!’ and I thought AMEN sister, so do I! Scrolling the comments and recommendations of the local mums, one business, in particular, was continuously mentioned for their outstanding service – Milque Spa.

Deciding to have a little sneak peak at the space before making a booking, I flipped apps and searched ‘Milque Spa’ on Instagram and was thrilled to be able to see not only photos of their space and the products they stock, but photos of their staff. Happy Birthdays, Anniversaries, Christmas wishes and the like flood the Milque social media pages which gave me an instant sense of great leadership and culture within the business. If this is how much a business owner celebrates the team, then imagine how much the team celebrates their clients!

The Instagram page easily directed me through their biography to their website link, which was clearly outlined with a big green ‘book now’ button. If you’re a long time reader of our Monthly Mystery Shop pieces then you would know that i was HAPPY DANCING ALL OVER THE PLACE for Milque who has just made my booking process that much easier with their socials directing to the booking link and for having online bookings in the first place!

The booking process was simple and efficient as I clicked through to the ‘pedicures’ tab to see 3 options I could choose from:
1. Deluxe Spa Pedicure $95 70-minutes
2. Gel Toes Add On $20 10-minutes
3. Pedicure Essential $60 40-minutes

Two things to note here;
Firstly; the most expensive service is at the top – bravo! Putting the most expensive service at the top makes it the first thing a client reads and the easiest to book.

Secondly; other than the above 3 options of heading, there is no more content or detail about what the treatment actually involves. By having no details around the actual treatments themselves, you are likely to have clients choose their treatments based on the price of the treatment, rather than the inclusions.

Ideal detail would look something like Deluxe Spa Pedicure $95 70-minutes (Includes: foot soak and scrub, half leg and foot massage, nail work and paint.) This way a client can see the difference between the $60 option and the $95 option and make their choice based on the inclusions. Small things make the difference to how much potential revenue your business can generate.

After selecting Option 1, I’m taken to the ability to choose staff and times available, then I’m prompted to secure my booking with a deposit of $19 for today’s treatment which I do without hesitation. Go Milque Go! The amount of conversation that has been generated in our Beaute Industrie Facebook Community of late around how many clients are no showing and cancelling over the holiday period is actually quite insane. By having a non-negotiable booking deposit, if clients no show or cancel their appointment, the business is still covering costs by having the deposit as a backup plan. If you don’t have a booking deposit and cancellation system, THIS IS YOUR SIGN!

My booking is confirmed for 4pm, I’m alerted with a text message and email calendar invite and am very much looking forward to my treatment.

Three days prior to my appointment, a lovely lady by the name of Courtney from Milque Spa phones me and asks if I am able to come into my appointment earlier. Glad fo the phone call because driving home in 5pm traffic would have been a nightmare, I said yes to a 2.50pm appointment instead. Off the phone I get and because my calendar runs my life, I update the appointment from 4pm to 2.50pm to make sure I’m in the right place at the right time. The day before my treatment, I check my calendar only to see that I have now two appointments in there. One at 4pm and one at 2.50pm. Slightly confused by this I think, ‘no Tamara, Courtney phoned you and asked you to come in earlier, so 2.50pm must be correct’. The original appointment for 4pm however hadn’t been updated on their end, therefore it was still showing in my calendar as the original timing. Again, tiny tiny details, however these things can easily cause confusion for clients.

THE PRESENTATION

Walking into Milque Spa I’m greeted by Courtney behind the desk who welcomes me for my treatment and asks that I complete some paperwork before my therapist collects me. Courtney returns with some nail polish colours that have been swatched which is actually the hardest job in the world – props to the people who are decisive and choose colours in two seconds, meanwhile I turn grey just choosing between pale pink and blush pink, let’s be honest.

Shortly after I finish filling out my consultation card, a therapist walks down to greet me by introducing herself as Laura. Laura’s presentation is that of a dream therapist. Laura is wearing her black tunic and pants which are cleaned and ironed, her brown hair in a middle part which is secured at the back in a low bun, neutral makeup that makes her skin glow and she’s wearing minimal jewellery and finished with tidy nails.

Again, reading this as a long time follower of Beaute Industrie you know I’m screaming ‘YESSSS QUEEN LAURA!’, quietly in my head. For those who are new here, hello! The reason why I’m obsessed with therapists presentation is simple; If they put effort into what they look like, then they’re going to put effort into their treatments. It sets up the entire treatment and NAILS the first impression every single time. You can read all about our presentation standards in another piece I’ve written here.

Laura directs me down the hall and into the treatment room, directing me to take a seat in the chair and place my feet into the footbath of water when I am ready. Laura leaves the room for me to get settled while she reads over my consultation card and collects the polish colour.

THE CONSULTATION

Returning to the room, Laura says ‘it’s such a pleasure to treat you today’, which I think is the sweetest thing to say to a client ever, before continuing ‘I listen to all of your podcasts and love them’ – BUSTED!! My cover is blown! Not that I really had an alias name or wig or anything wild, but now, the pressure is on because Laura knows who I am and that this treatment could end up anywhere on the internet for review, exactly as you’re reading now!

Asking if I have any allergies prior to starting the treatment and confirming that I’m 34 weeks pregnant with some preliminary questions about how my pregnancy has been so far and how I’m feeling today, the treatment starts.

STEP ONE – FOOT SOAK & SCRUB

Sitting with my feet in the water, I notice there are some hot stones at the bottom of the foot bowl. I’m interested wondering how these are going to be used in the treatment. Laura starts by efflouraging the water up and down my legs with some firm pressures applied to the calves, ankles and feet on the way down.

Taking one of my feet, Laura picks up a granular exfoliant from a small dish and starts to manually manoeuvre the product over my legs and feet before washing it off and picking up the next foot to repeat the process. Both feet are moved from the foot bowl, sat aside, dried and we are up ready to hop on the bed.

It’s here that Laura asks me if I would like a round or square nail shape and too asks if I know what is involved with the treatment today, which I answer ‘no, I’ve just booked online’. Laura lets me know that from the foot soak and scrub we move into a foot rasp, milk and honey mask, massage, nail work and polish.

Given the hot stones were in the bottom of the foot bowl, naturally, your mind wanders to think how they could’ve been included in the treatment during the foot wash as an extra pressure medium and experience, just to take the treatment to the next level.

Giving me a little step to stand on so that I can navigate my space ship of a pregnant body up onto the treatment bed, Laura ensures I’m comfortable with pillows under my knees and the back of the treatment bed sitting up so that I’m less laying flat and more in a lounging position. I LOVE pedicures that are performed on the bed. Especially ones that go for longer than half-hour.

Laying down, Laura places a towel over me for warmth and asks if I would like the eye pillow placed on or not, as she will be turning up the lights to perform the nail work which will be quite bright. Eye pillow, yes, please!

STEP TWO – MASK AND NAIL WORK

Rasping each foot with her pedi-paddle now that the feet are softened, Laura controlled yet vigorously applied friction to the areas of my feet which needed some TLC – the heel (yikes!) ball of the foot and my little piggies. With product on her hands, Laura started on my right foot with long flowing strokes from the foot all the way up to just below the knee and back again, covering the front and back of my legs. My feet and legs were then wrapped up tightly, leaving my little piggies exposed before laura applied cuticle oil and repeated the same on the left foot.

Clipping and filing the nails, Lauras attention to detail could be felt as she was careful and cautious not to cause too much friction with the file or accidently grab the skin with the clippers.

Moving down to the cutiles, they were pushed back and knipped to remove excess skin around the nail in delicate moves. I don’t know about you but as a control freak, it is a huge fear of mine to let someone else clip, file and knip and my nails. Are you going to take too much nail off? Are you going to draw blood? Is that file sterile? All things that run through my head as a I get a pedicure or manicure. Don’t even start me on epi-dermal levelling. That treatment requires marriage before you’ll get my face under a blade! Onwards!

STEP THREE – MASSAGE

Removing the mask from each foot and leg with a hot towel, Laura starts to perform the massage. Effleurage, needing, pressure points, knuckles – this massage has the lot and I am 10/10 impressed. The pressure is firm, Laura is using drainage techniques and before I know it I’m doing that thing where you half snort, half jolt to wake yourself up from a sleep you had no idea you were having. THIS IS HOW YOU KNOW YOU’RE HAVING OR GIVING A BLOODY GOOD TREATMENT FRIENDS! The half snort, half jolt is the biggest compliment a therapist can get! Stuff 5 stars on Google, stuff a feedback form, stuff a tip (actually maybe $20 bucks is better) BUT the point is, the half snort, half jolt is when you can tap your fingers together in Monty Burns style and say ‘excellent’.

After embarrassingly realising that I am now one of those clients, I think where the heck am I and what step is Laura doing next. So much so, that I actually forgot all about the pedicure and Mystery Shop I was supposed to be critiquing and thought I was just having a regular massage! I KNOW. IMPOSSIBLE.

One crucial element which I have no doubt assisted my mid-treatment slumber was the music that was playing over the spa music system. Unlike typical spa music of whales, waves, flutes and pianos, the music had mid-day-drinking-chill-relax Dubai day club vibes of Cafe Del Mar. It’s soothing, relaxing, easy listening chill vocals and tone just sets the scene of a treatment room like no other.

(NB. If you’re new to Cafe Del Mar, my favourite, and played religiously in the background of my house and office 24/7 is The Very Best of Cafe Del Mar Music album – which as the title suggests, is the very best.)

STEP FOUR – POLISH

Squeeking the nails clean (a must-do step for any nail treatment by which you use polish remover to remove the excess oil from the nail prior to painting so that the polish adheres to the nail) Laura the weaves a rolled-up tissue between my piggies to separate them prior to polishing.

A base coat is applied to all toes and one coat of colour is applied to three toes before Laura gently asks if I would like to check on the colour of the polish. HAIL QUEEN LAURA. So many therapists do not do this!! Its better that if the client does not like the colour they tell you after one coat of three nails, than after two coats of ten nails! I confirm that the colour is fine and Laura continues to paint. Two coats of colour and topcoat are applied to finish the polish.

THE FINISH

Laura then lifts then eye pillow off my eyes and gently lets me know that the treatment is finished. Taking my thongs, Laura removes the rolled up tissue successfully between my toes and says that she would like to apply my shoes for me – I gladly accept as I cannot even touch my knees due to this big bambino I’m cooking, let alone navigate my shoes onto my freshly polished toes!

Together, Laura and I work to achieve the impossible goal of putting someone else’s shoes on for them before we kick that goal and the left shoe is on. Not so delicately, the left foot proves to be slightly more tricky as I go to lift my right toe and Laura puts the shoe on and DAMN IT we have nail to shoe connection and the polish is smudged.

Laura quickly assessed the smudge and decides that shes not happy and offers to remove the polish and repaint the nail. Not fussing too much, I just ask that she touches is up with a little colour polish and smoothes out with the topcoat and before you know it the polish is looking good as new.

It’s this step that has me thinking whether we should put the shoes onto our client’s feet before we paint them, to avoid the awkward client shoe application, or whether we should ask the client to sit barefooted in the lounge/waiting area for them to dry slightly more before trying the application. If you have any suggestions on this brainbuster, I would love to know!

Laura directs me into a private lounge area and runs through a selection of teas that I can choose while I wait for the paint to dry. Laura brings back a tray with an affirmation card, the tea, a biscuit and a vase with a flower in it. It’s touches like this that truly encapsulate an exceptional service.

Laura provides me details on where the bathroom is if I need (being pregnant you always need the bathroom so I am glad she told me because that 20-minute drive home would’ve been painful otherwise, and then lets me know to meet her out the front in my own time.

Heading out to reception after drinking my tea, eating the biscuit and visiting the bathroom, I’m ready for Laura to have product sitting on the front desk ready to recommend for me however, this didn’t happen. I was checked out and the service was finished.

Important to note

Given the beautiful Pure Fiji products that were used on me (which I only know because I saw them on the retail wall in reception) and the exceptional service I just enjoyed, had Laura showed me in the lounge or at the desk the products that she recommended I use to upkeep the result today, I would’ve purchased them all knowing that I could guilt my hubby into giving me an at-home pedicure with my brand new products. Had Laura suggested I try to sneak in for another pedicure before the baby comes as ‘me time’ to rebook the treatment today, again, I would’ve made the follow-up appointment on the spot.

Often, therapists have a barrier to prescribing and rebooking treatments other than facials. I’ve heard it many times from many therapists, ‘but Tamara I don’t have any facial treatments today, how am I going to hit my target?’ or ‘but I’m not a skin therapist, I’m a spa therapist so our target should be lower’, all of which are excuses in my eyes.

Every treatment uses product and every treatment returns back to long nails, long hair, sore shoulders, straight lashes or dull skin depending on the area. There is no harm in suggesting a client take home a cuticle oil, the colour polished or the oil massaged to elongate the result of the pedicure today. Who doesn’t want their piggies to be polished for the longest time possible? This being said, if you don’t show, the client cant buy. It’s as simple as that.

From a service level, this treatment was outstanding. I would rebook because I know how good it is and I would even try other services in the same space-based off my experience today.

If you would like your space Mystery Shopped, we have shoppers based across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, please email info@beauteindustrie.com

Until next time, Stay Connected.
Tamara Reid

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