I spotted an offer on Facebook regarding a free 90-minute facial trial at Victoria Facelift some time back. And as it was near my place (yet I had never heard of the company despite its 7 outlets around Singapore), I decided to sign up for a facial treatment on the same day.
This is a screenshot of the ad on Facebook that I’d clicked on:
Interestingly, if you book the trial online, it’s FREE. But if you go to the outlet, you’ll see the poster outside which says the 90-minute trial costs $48 (U.P. $388) for the first 50 walk-in customers daily. Wouldn’t folks feel silly if they had paid the $48 then realized you can get it free online?
When I arrived about 10 minutes before the appointment, I was told to get a seat while they took my IC – perhaps to check that it was indeed my first visit. Then a consultant asked me the usual questions regarding medical history, last facial session etc. I felt the lady was just going through the motions, like she really wished she was elsewhere (not very friendly this one).
Then a more senior-looking consultant took over to do a scan of my skin. First, the inner side of my arm (not as tanned) then my face. I have no major skin issues so they could only point out the few small milia seeds that I have in the undereye area and also warn me about the dangers of not using sunblock and how pigmentation might result.
*She asked what my skin concerns were and what I hoped to achieve in that session. I told her I was only bothered by dark eye circles and slightly dry skin. She asked if I wanted to top up for the eye treatment. I said nevermind, just give me what’s in the free trial. 😀
The facial treatment itself was awesome! Yes, awesome! 😀
The room was really small though. Actually it’s not even a room. It’s one room partitioned into many smaller cubicles. But my therapist, a lady in her mid-20s (let’s call her A), was evidently skilled. Starting from the facial cleanse… I knew I was in good hands, literally.
There were 3 masks used during that session… before a machine was utilised for that final facelifting effect.
The first mask was (if I remember correctly) to help soften the skin / exfoliate / open the pores. There was also a “cold steam” (like a hydro mist) blowing on my face.
Then a hyaluronic hydrating mask.
Then finally a collagen mask.
In-between, there was extraction, simple eyebrow shaping, neck and shoulder massage, and a facial detox massage. I was left wondering how come this was free-of-charge. I contemplated giving A a $10 tip (the only money I had on me).
The ‘machine’ treatment has a 3-ball tip. After using it on the right side of my face, (as can be expected) she held up a mirror in front of me to let me see how the right side had been ‘lifted’. Then she worked on the left side.
*And oh, before and after pictures were taken, which I’m not concerned about since I don’t usually wear makeup anyway. 😉
Post-treatment, it was the sales pitch, of course. I was first given a collagen drink – ‘cos it’s not cold, it tasted a little weird. And I was then told about the pricing and installment plans for payment via credit card.
Apparently it’s $3,880 for 20 treatments (the more senior lady explained it as 10 treatments + another 10 “free” 😉 ). With GST, it’s over $4K. But using a credit card, e.g. POSB’s, you get 10% discount. So the total amount is $3,736.44 which you can pay via 12, 24 or 36 months in interest-free installments.
And here’s the free 3-piece product kit I got to take home:
I didn’t sign up for the package as I am concerned about 2 things: (1) it’s quite common for companies to fold and there are no refunds for the unused portion of the packages, and (2) the service standards noticeably ‘dip’ after the first (trial) session.
I’d rather pay a la carte pricing whenever possible.
If you find yourself in a bit of a pickle after going for a free trial and consultants are trying to ‘hardsell’ you a package, here are some tips:
1) Be nice to staff. It’s hard to hardsell someone who’s sweet to you.
2) Have an exit strategy even before entering the shop. Even if the treatment is awesome, and you are tempted to purchase a package, you DESERVE to be able to think it through at home FIRST. So whether you want to arrange for someone to call or come in and ‘rescue’ you, or whether you want to leave your wallet at home, it is up to you. Just have a plan before heading for a free trial, whether it is at a facial salon or a gym or spa.
3) Ask the consultant other questions to get her off her guard. They have practised sales pitches so try to break their momentum. Once the momentum is gone, they will find it hard to get back on the hard-selling track. When she’s talking about the packages, try to change the topic to something else (I ended up chatting about traffic accidents. LOL).
4)*MOST IMPORTANT: if you have never been in the sales line before, have a very thin skin, and have difficulty saying ‘no’ to people… say no to the free trial instead.
I don’t mind going for free trials because (1) it’s free and facials (usually) don’t hurt, (2) I get to practise my “skills” when it comes to offering objections and (3) those trial sessions offer the best facial treatments (it’s true). I’ve read too many reviews of various facial salons which provide really good facials the first time, so customers sign up for packages and then the subsequent treatments are not as good – the therapist might be a different (less skilled) person, or there’s more up-selling of ampoules and various add-ons EACH time you visit the centre. That’s really stressful.
That said, I don’t mind (discounted) paid trial sessions too. Went for a few via Groupon. The bonus is that if you’ve paid something (even if it’s $20), you don’t feel so bad (paiseh) when you have to tell them you’re not signing up for a package, whatever the reason may be.
All in all, I’m more than pleased with the free trial at Victoria Facelift. It truly was an awesome experience. I do understand that companies only offer discounts to people who sign up for packages with them but with the current economic climate, perhaps the company can consider staggering the discounts for those who prefer a la carte pricing, e.g.:
(after trial session)
1st visit: pay 100% of facial price
2nd visit: pay 90%
3rd visit: pay 80%
and so on…
Thus, the more times the customer returns for a la carte treatments, the cheaper each session costs. It’s an incentive for the customer to come back if he / she likes the service here, and it also protects the customer from being left stranded if a company suddenly folds. 🙂