01 Feb The ABCs of Spa School Programs
As a spa dealer, chances are good that you have heard of, participated in, or even led a spa school of some kind. Spa schools can be as basic as a spending an extra hour at the installation site teaching hot tub owners the basics of caring for their new spa, or they can be as formal as an afternoon training class at your store for new spa owners. The key is realizing that offering spa school programs, formal or informal, is just as beneficial for you as it is for your customers.
Why You Should Have a Spa School Program
The simplest reason to have a spa school program is customer service. One dealer says, “It gives the customer more confidence in you and your business.” Other benefits include:
- Shows customers you are the expert
- Increases likelihood of customer purchasing more products from you
- Educates customers on what they can do to maintain their spa and when they need to call in an expert
This stage in the customer journey is all about converting the buyer into an advocate for your business. But it also serves to attract new customers through your expertise and willingness to share it with those who may eventually be in the new hot tub market.
What You Should Include in a Spa School Program
Both residential and commercial customers benefit from learning not only how to maintain their spas, but why it is important to do so. At a minimum, spa schools should cover these areas:
- Safe spa usage
- Programming the spa
- Water balance
- Chemical explanations
- Filter maintenance
- Spa purging and cleaning
Teaching trouble-shooting methods so spa owners can prevent problems before they occur is another popular spa school topic. While it is important that customers know how to program their spas and how to work cover lifts, spa schools should focus on safety. When explaining chemicals and water balance, emphasize how these things can affect the spa equipment and the spa users. Spa owners need to understand why a pH increaser or decreaser may be necessary and how excess calcium can affect water quality and damage equipment.
While it is important that customers know how to program their spas and how to work cover lifts, spa schools should focus on safety.
Some dealers offer free water testing to residential customers followed by one-on-one instruction on proper chemical use and basic spa care. Others offer annual schools for commercial spa customers, like hotels and community centers, where they promote user safety. Whether your school is aimed toward commercial or residential spa owners, the training you offer is essential to the health and well-being of the users and the home/facility.
How to Implement and Promote Your Spa School Program
Implementing a spa school program is easy, in fact, you are probably already doing it. When your installers take that extra hour to show customers how their hot tub works, they are conducting a spa school. When your store technicians show customers how to test pH levels and what chemicals to use to balance pH, they are conducting a spa school. The question now is, are you ready to take it to the next level?
Personalized Spa Schools
The next level is going from that basic instructional session following spa installation to a spa school program. You might start by offering a gift certificate with each new spa purchase. For example:
“This gift certificate provides you with a 2-hour personalized spa school in the comfort of your home. During this school you will learn how to use your spa, program your spa, balance your spa water and much more.”
Offering a personalized, in-home school allows you to educate your customers and to make those customers feel truly valued. Plus, when you commit the extra time to them in person, they know you believe in your products and that you care about them. Having one-on-one time gives customers the opportunity to ask about topics specific to their spa use which makes individual spa schools even more effective.
Recurring Spa Schools
Another great option is to offer reoccurring spa schools at your store for new and existing customers. Quarterly, bi-annual, or annual schools offered in the evening or on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon provide a great opportunity to refresh customer knowledge and to introduce new products and/or techniques for maintaining spa safety and function.
These events can easily be promoted with a product discount for attendees, say a sample of the product introduced at the school.
Commercial Spa Schools
Dealers with a number of commercial clients go so far as to offer annual spa schools for commercial pool and spa customers which are geared to the individuals responsible for taking care of the commercial spa. In these programs, “we promote the importance of making sure the people taking care of the . . . spa are aware of the significance of the body of water they are caring for.”
Cost savings is the key promotional tool for commercial spa schools.
One thing commercial spa schools cover that residential ones do not is local regulations from the state health department. These regulations are often more strict for commercial sites than for residential areas. Cost savings is the key promotional tool for these schools. A dealer who offers an annual commercial spa school program says, “We are able to promote to owners that one day, six hours, of training can save them thousands of dollars in equipment repairs.”
When you take the time to ensure your customer, residential or commercial, understands how to properly use and maintain their spa, that customer is going to feel valued and appreciated. Customers who feel valued and appreciated tell their family and friends (and may even bring them to a spa school), and guess where those friends and family will go for their hot tub purchase?