Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm Never Going Back to Ummelina Again!

The voice seemed to come from far away, but then again, the room was warm, cozy and dark and I'd been in a drowsy, dreamy sleep. That's why I was certain that I'd misunderstood the question.

"Would you like me to smooth some bovine placenta into your skin?" the Ummelina facialist asked again.

OK. I guess I understood the question just fine the first time.

"Bovine placenta?" I inquired.

"Yes, it will make your skin appear more soft, supple and youthful."

"Why would I say no?" I replied.

I can't tell a lie. My skin did look wonderful when the facial was over. In fact, it may have been one of the best facials I've ever had.

But from now on I'm going to have find bovine placenta from elsewhere because I'm never going back to Ummelina again.

Let me explain: I absolutely loved the aforementioned facial, so in January, when it came time to book another facial, I didn't hesitate to call Ummelina. I was so excited for my treatment. On the day of my appointment I left my son with a sitter, parked downtown and arrived right on time.

As was customary, I was seated in a quiet waiting room where a spa representative came to soak and massage my feet til they were sparkling clean. Afterward I was told to wait until my facialist came to collect me for my service. I did as I was told and waited. And waited. And waited.

Time clicked by and every once-in-awhile I'd grab someone from the spa to inquire as to when my facialist would finally come. "Oh, just another five minutes," seemed to be the standard reply.

I knew this wasn't right and that I was having to wait too long. All around me other clients were getting their feet washed and rubbed and then, in a timely fashion, their technicians would come for them.

I asked to see a manager and one never came. I kept getting up to check in with the front desk, to no avail.

I was so frustrated because I was geared up for this facial and really, really wanted it! But I didn't have all day. I had to leave at a certain time to make it home for the sitter. At first I thought I might just miss a few minutes of the facial, then I started to think I'd have to settle for a mini-facial, and finally I realized my face was leaving just as dirty as it'd arrived. Time was up.

I went to get dressed and gather my things. The attendant asked me the earthy name of my locker and I said I didn't know it. He said he couldn't get my things if I didn't know the name of my locker and I tried explaining that no one had told me the name of it - they'd just taken my things and placed them in a locker.

"We can call my cell phone and listen for the ring," I suggested.

"No, I'm sure we could easily find which locker is yours if we look, but I'm not authorized to just start opening up lockers and giving you the belongings if you don't know your locker's name.


This went on for about five minutes until I, very close to tears, finally talked the guy into letting me have MY things.

I dressed and went up to the front. I emotionally told the gals how frustrated I was. I'd spent money on both a sitter and downtown Seattle parking - all for nothing. I was supposed to come in and relax but was leaving more wound up and stressed than ever.

One woman finally piped up and said, "I'm so sorry. I was supposed to be your facialist but they overbooked me. My first facial isn't even over yet."

At least she said she was sorry, but that just wasn't good enough. I asked again for a manager but no manager was available. They said I could call him during the week instead.

So call I did. I left several messages and NEVER heard back from anyone from Ummelina.

Speed up to June 20th: My ex-husband calls to tell me to check my email. I find a generous Ummelina gift certificate for my birthday "from my son" in the in-box. So sweet, but grrr! This means I have to go back!

I figure that the timing is right - I'm going on a beach vacation and need a pedicure. I call, set up an appointment and head in the following day. Here's my analysis:

Ummelina has the treatment part down. Their technicians are top notch. My feet look wonderful and feel quite happy. They were exfoliated, parrafined, massaged and polished to perfection.

BUT Ummelina does not have customer service down at all. There seems to be an indifference to the client, rarely is a phone answered, they always seem understaffed and they apparently use utilize a "fend for yourself, we can't be bothered" approach. I'm not willing to say it is because they don't WANT to care. I just don't think they KNOW how or are smart enough to care.

Bottom Line: No Thanks. I don't care if they have the last bovine placenta on the planet. Customer service matters to me. I want to be treated well and I am darn sure to treat my own clients well, too.

Make a Sugar & Swank appointment to see for yourself. Maybe by the time you get here I'll be carrying bovine placenta!


Jennifer Worick said...

I've been reluctant to fork over money to Ummelina, because I feared it was a factory, even with its exotic "journey" treatments. Thanks for confirming my suspicions.

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