How is it possible that a company that employs more than 20,000 massage therapists in 1,200 spas across the United States has no apparent crisis communications plan and remains mute about nearly 200 sexual assault lawsuits against its employees?
Massage Envy spas finds itself virtually naked in the midst of a national crisis, with no meaningful response to the growing attack on its brand.
Melanie Hansen, general counsel of Massage Envy Franchising, told news reporters the company has worked hard to create the industry’s “most stringent, rigorous policies” for hiring, screening, and training therapists.
“We hold franchise owners accountable to our policies and, when we say nothing is more important to us than treating clients with respect and giving them a safe, professional experience, we mean it,” said Ms. Hansen, who noted that Massage Envy has a “zero-tolerance” policy regarding inappropriate touching.
But Massage Envy, which operates in every U.S. state except Wyoming, has no policy that compels franchisees to notify law enforcement or to hire qualified investigators to help determine what happened. In court filings and in public statements, Massage Envy said it is not liable for sexual assaults that take place at the spas because of the nature of its franchise arrangement.
Really? Well if that’s the case, what does that say about Massage Envy’s quality control? McDonald’s works with hundreds of thousands of franchisees around the world and holds each one to strict standards for quality, safety and cleanliness. And I know for a fact the global quick-service restaurant has a sound crisis communications plan.
Okay, so what can Massage Envy do now to manage this crisis?
First, the Scottsdale, AZ based company needs to apologize for its past inability to better protect its member customers. It’s shocking that it hasn’t yet done so.
Next, the company would be well-advised to launch its own re-qualification program for all its franchisees, including implementing new provisions requiring franchisees to notify local law enforcement of any inappropriate actions by its massage therapists.
Finally, Massage Envy should require all its massage therapists, as a condition of employment, to undergo standardized training about the rules regarding inappropriate touching and the consequences of doing so. None should touch a customer until he or she has completed the training.
Oh, and the company needs to prepare and test a crisis communications plan for the next inevitable crisis, so that it can cover itself with more than just a towel.
‘Smile and Dial’ – Why Building Genuine Reporter Relationships Is Crucial for PR Professionals
September 10, 2019
September 10, 2019
| by Jenny Wang
It’s true that with the ever-changing media landscape, the public relations industry has had to evolve and adapt accordingly. Innovative, new digital strategies are integral to any successful communications campaign, but the value of traditional PR and media relations (or smile-and-dial as it’s sometimes referred to) can’t be discounted. In these times, the fourth estate’s […]
Public Relations – The Unsung Hero of the Climate Change Fight
August 14, 2019
August 14, 2019
| by Staff Writer
Two-thirds of Americans believe climate change is an urgent problem and that more action is needed to properly combat this theat. While some think that government intervention is the solution and advocate for ideas such as the Green New Deal, the reality is that barely 11% of Americans have any confidence in Congress to get […]