The SCAPP Scale - Personalising the Micropigmentation Service

by Andrea Darby - Master Medical Tattooist & Industry Educator
Personalising Micropigmentation Services

Understanding your clients natural disposition can help you to personalize their service and increase satisfaction levels, in this article I discuss how your assess your clients disposition with a few simple questions..

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We have come to accept that products and services are provided to consumers with a one size fits all approach, the customer experience has become less personalised and more of a homogenised experience. Airlines provide seating with a set amount of space allocated regardless of your body size, restaurants provide meals via a set menu with limited scope for personal changes, clothing and footwear comes in set sizes for the 'average' person. Even within the health care and personal services industries there are frequently strict limitations on the personalisation of the service that is available.

Large companies invest a great deal of money into finding ways to trigger consumer buying by using techniques that will affect the human herd, one example of this is some research conducted by the Dutch neuro-marketing company Neurensics in conjunction with a radio station and the media company Mindshare they used functional Magnetic Imaging to observe brain activity when their subjects were listening to radio commercials and they found that adverts with a sound logo were more effective at activating areas of the brain that influenced buying behaviour. In fact the effects of sound in influencing buying behaviour of the human herd is well established, three psychologists (A. North, D. Hargreaves, and J. McKendrick) found that when French music was played in a supermarket the store sold 5 times as much French wine1.

Most of us are aware that venturing outside of a standard range of products and services into a customised offering generally involves a significant increase in cost therefore we tend to accept the homogenised consumer experience and we conform to the standard offering. However some companies are rediscovering that small adjustments to personalise the way in which products and services are provided to consumers can significantly improve the experience for the consumer and increase satisfaction levels and this can flow through to the company's bottom line.

With so much expectation for us to conform to standard offerings of goods and services and subtle techniques used by large companies to influence us as a human herd it is sometimes easy to forget that we are all individuals and we have our own unique reactions to situations that affect our overall experience and satisfaction level. Two almost identical clients/patients could be provided exactly the same micropigmentation service, in exactly the same way with almost identical outcomes and yet they may perceive the experience very differently, one may feel it was a positive experience with a positive outcome and the other may have a different perspective.

Part of what affects our perceptions about an experience is our natural disposition or in other words our individual tendency to behave or react in a certain way in specific types of situations. For example a group of people (the herd) may be drawn towards live music being played in a public venue but some individuals may do the opposite perhaps because they feel stressed in situations with loud noise or because they are particular about what type of music that they prefer to listen to.

Genome Medicine recently published an interesting article on the challenges within the UK healthcare system to providing personalised medicine to patients2 one of the greatest challenges to personalising healthcare is finding a way to do so without increasing costs.

Having some insight into your client/patients natural disposition in relation to some key areas can make it easier to allocate the right amount of time to their appointment, personalise the service and increase client/patient satisfaction with the overall experience, subtle changes to your approach can dramatically improve perceptions of the service. With this in mind we conducted a small client based study in an attempt to identify those aspects of a clients natural disposition that would have the most impact on their reactions to and perceptions of a micropigmentation treatment with particular focus on 5 key areas that were identified as providing an opportunity to personalise the service in a positive way for the client.


During routine pre treatment consultations 287 micropigmentation clients (221 female, 66 male) were asked to provide self assessments or assessments were made based upon the clients answers to questions during the interview in relation to 5 factors related to their natural disposition as compared to others. We referred to our questionnaire by the acronym the SCAPP scale3 a score of 1-5 was given to each question based upon how strongly the answer applied to the client thus providing a minimum overall score of 5 and a maximum score of 25, a neutral result was taken to be a score of 3 on all of the questions amounting to total of 15.

Within the respondent group 56.1% (n161/n287) of clients rated a neutral score on all questions and we designated them as our control group.

The remainder of the group was split into two study groups;

Group A: those that had a score of 4 or more on any individual question 29.3% (n84/n287)
Group B: those who did not score more than 3 on any question 14.6% (n42/n287).

The two study groups were compared to the control group on the basis of 7 criteria;


Below is a summary of the results of the study relative to our assessment criteria of the study groups.

Criteria 1:
Time required for the initial consultation

Those who scored 4 or more for Stress (n12), 4 or more for Choice (n14), or 5 or more for Precise (n22) required more time to be allocated to the initial consultation in each case the average additional time was around 20-30% longer than the average consultation for the control group.

Criteria 2:
Time required for the completion treatment

Those who scored 4 or more for Stress (n12), 5 or more for Choice (n8), 4 or more for Pain (n16), 5 or more for Analgesia (n20), or 5 or more for Precise (n22), frequently required more time to be allocated to the treatment appointment.

Additional time varied between 10% more for one regular user of Analgesia up to 55% longer for one client who was very precise, surprisingly those who rated themselves as a 5 for precise on average required a longer appointment time than those who rated themselves as a 5 for stress.

Criteria 3:
The clients perceptions about their degree of discomfort experienced during the procedure

After the procedure clients were asked to provide a number between 1-10 to indicate the level of discomfort with 1 being no discomfort and 10 being the maximum discomfort that would be endurable by them.

Across all groups no client reported a pain level greater than 6 (control group average was 3.9), those who scored 4 or more for Pain (n16), 5 or more for Analgesia (n20), or 5 or more for Precise (n22) were twice as likely to indicate a pain level above the average of the control group (3.9).

Though it is worthy of note that those with high scores for Precise appeared to be more related to an exaggerated anticipation of discomfort rather than actually describing that they experienced higher levels of discomfort.

Criteria 4:
The clients perceptions about their degree of anxiety experienced during the procedure

Of those who scored 4 or more for Stress (n4/n12), or 5 or more for Precise (n4/n22) indicated they experienced some slight anxiety during the procedure but overall the clients in all groups felt their anxiety levels were under control.

Criteria 5:
Requests for follow up support after the initial treatment

Of those who scored 5 or more for Choice (n3/n8), or 5 or more for Precise (n7/n22) were the only ones who sought follow up support and reassurance after the initial treatment.

Criteria 6: The nature of the support request after the initial treatment

In all instances the clients were merely seeking reassurance about the progression of the healing of their tattoo, the degree to which the colour would fade or the possibility of slight adjustments on the next treatment.

Significantly two clients who had scored 5 or more for Precise (n22) indicated heightened sensitivity to comments by others about the change in their appearance even though the comments were positive in nature.

Criteria 7:
Requests by the client to make a material change to the cosmetic tattoo

Of those who scored 5 or more for Choice (n6/n8), or 5 or more for Precise (n14/n22) were 3 times more likely to have a change in preference at the time of their second treatment eg. a request for a significant colour change, change to shape etc.

Observations & Comments

With all but one exception relating to choice those in Group B on average had similar results in all criteria to the control group.

Within Group A 17 clients scored 4 or more on 2 or more of the questions, their inclusion in the above criteria related questions had a cross link effect with some of the SCAPP questions but did not significantly change the results.

Personalisation of Services

With each client in the respondent group the service was adjusted according the individual clients needs, for example; additional time was allocated at various stages of the treatment as required, additional discussion and information as required, extra attention to pain management as required, focus on techniques for stress/anxiety alleviation as required, additional support post treatment as required and follow up changes as requested. This provided results on a client needs basis for assessment of correlation with our pre treatment SCAPP questionnaire.

Self ratings and ratings allocated based upon answers to questions during the initial consultation were remarkably accurate in predicting which clients would require additional time or reassurance at various stages prior to, during or after their cosmetic tattoo treatment and clients across all groups reported a high degree of satisfaction with the personalisation of the service.


Establishing the clients natural disposition in relation to 5 key areas is a quick and simple method of personalising the service for the client at the various stages of their treatment and it also assists the technician to predict which clients may require more time allocated to different stages of the treatment and the specific types of support that may be required for the client which can assist with appointment time management. Personalising the service for the individual client adds to satisfaction level of the client and can be provided without an onerous impact on the cost base of the technician.

Click here to view a copy of the SCAPP Scale.



Special thanks to those clients who agreed to participate in our short study.



Date of most recent revision: 29/07/2014 (mutatis mutandis)
Original publication date: 26/07/2014

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