Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What is Poor Customer Service Costing Your Salon?

All salons and spas rely on customer retention to keep their businesses growing - after all, the backbone of your success isn't the one time customer but the repeat customer. Repeat customers keep coming back and become the foundation you can rely on. That's why customer retention is so important.

Even worse, if you begin losing customers because of poor customer service, your business might fail. That's why customer service training is so important - to be truly successful, you have to establish strong customer loyalty that can translate to repeat business and great referrals. Most salon and spa owners don't realize how much revenue they are losing every year because of poor customer service. Do you?

How Much Revenue are You Losing? You'll be Surprised! Take this Simple Reality Check:

The cost of poor customer retention is enormous. When customers leave your business they are taking their money to competitors. You've not only lost revenue for your business, you've increased the profitability of your competition! It's a "double whammy" that can permanently damage your business. Take a look at this eye-opening formula and see how much your salon is losing each year because of poor customer retention.

Customer Service Formula:
  • Take your Average Annual Revenue Per Customer  X's  The Number of Customers Lost (Customers who leave annually)
    Example:$360 average annual revenue per customer  X's  100 lost customers = $36,000 in Lost Revenue pr year
The real profits that keep a salon and spa running and growing are in the second, third, and fourth sales to the same customer. Without this repeat business, most salons fail - and repeat business hinges more on Exceptional Customer Service than with anything else - including the products or services themselves.

Let's face it, if you are losing customers, you'll soon be losing employees. If you provide customer service training and other tools for all of your employees so that they can improve customer loyalty, they will feel more confident in their own success and the success of your business. You will have more loyal customers and more loyal employees!

Remember . . .

Some salons question whether or not they really have to make this effort. The reality is you really have no other reasonable choice. Customer service training will improve customer retention and ultimately determine whether you are in business next year.

Learn how to establish a consistent, branded customer experience ~ start by training all of your employees!

Ana Loiselle ~ Milady Business Coach and Trainer

Monday, March 22, 2010

Salon Training: Together Everyone Achieves More!

Do you remember the last time you were at a training and it rocked your world? Where were you? Who spoke? What did you learn? What was the benefit?

How often are you at something like that?

Imagine if your team felt that way on a consistent basis inside your salon or spa without having to leave the business.

Training and development that WOWS your staff can happen right inside your own four walls!

Here’s how:

  1. Survey Your Team! Find out from them what type of training they are looking for to continue to grow as a salon and spa professional.
  2. Connect The Dots! Once you know what they want, connect it to what you want. You have an idea of the areas you want to see the business and individuals work on to improve ~ marry both their needs and yours together.
  3. Get Them Involved! If you and your distributor partners are the only people thinking of training topics for your team it is coming from you, not them. People get involved in what they help to create! Ask your team to join you in the effort of creating a training calendar. They will have the chance to step up to the plate and grow ~ AND it helps to save you time as well!
  4. Block Out The Time! Schedule regular trainings on a monthly basis at the minimum. For example, the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 1pm – 4pm. Once it is scheduled, post it for everyone to see.
  5. Set Clear Goals and Expectations! Once the training is created and people are involved, as the leader, you have to set clear goals and expectations and follow through to insure people are actually growing from what they are learning.
When you follow the above steps you will create a robust and healthy training arm of your business, where your team is constantly growing right along with your sales and profits too!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What Are People Saying About Your Salon??

Remember when you were a kid and other kids said you were slow, had “four eyes” or buck teeth? How did your mom tell you to handle that situation? “Just ignore them!” she’d say. Well mom is wrong, at least with respect to what others are saying about your salon or spa.

Did you know that over 90% of unhappy clients will not do business with your salon again and are likely to share their grievance with at least nine other people. Thirteen percent of unhappy clients will tell more than twenty people. In his book, Rule of 3-33, Author Jerry Wilson says for every three people willing to tell a positive story about an experience with your business, there are thirty-three others who will tell a horror story.

If someone was talking about your salon or spa (positively or negatively), you would want to know about it, right? If someone was speaking your praises, you would want to thank them. Conversely, if someone was speaking poorly about your business, you would want to set the record straight. But today, someone can just as easily talk about your business face-to-face as they can post to a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, City Search, etc.

Your business's reputation is just as important in brick-and-mortar as it is online. Customers are not just going to your website to get information about your business. You must also manage your web presence for postings from people outside your organization. The internet is a place where anyone (fan or critic) can express their opinions about anyone and anything. Don't be oblivious (or vulnerable) to rumors, complaints, review sites, blogs, etc.

Let me give you an example: True story from owner Amy Burness, of Victoria's 5th Ave. Salon, in Florida.  A new client came into the salon that works at the Hard Rock Casino. Her expense was great, but her haircut was not what she wanted. It was a little uneven and not short enough for her. The salon called her three days after her service (a follow up system they have in place) and asked her how her experience in the salon was. She said it was "okay." The salon  asked if there was anything they could do for her. The unahppy guest said that her haircut was just not layered enough for her - the salon owner offered for her to come in and have the problem corrected. When she came and got it corrected she loved it so much that over the next couple of months she sent in over 20 of her co-workers to the salon. She can’t stop talking about the salon following up with her to make sure her experience was great. When she came back in for her hair cut she tells the stylist how impressed she was that the salon cared enough to have called to make sure her experience was great. She was one of the 13% of unhappy clients that would have told more than 20 people how unhappy she was, but instead she is telling everyone how impressed she is with the salon.

As a salon or spa owner, are you managing your business's reputation? Do you have follow up systems in place like the above mentioned salon? What tools are you using to find online information? If you have found negative posts, what have you done to curtail the negativity?

Ana Loiselle ~ Milady Business Coach

Monday, March 15, 2010

Salon and Spa Performance Appraisals: Expect - Review - Reward

“People don’t get promoted on Potential”Harry Chambers – Performance Improvement Specialist

In today’s competitive salon and spa environment, your employees represent one of your organization’s most valuable assets. Which means your company’s PRODUCTIVITY—and ultimately, its PROFITABILITY! That’s why a solid performance review process is absolutely critical to the ongoing success of your company.

Managing and mastering successful performance appraisals require that you:
1. Develop clear job descriptions.
2. Communicate clear job performance expectations.
3. Consistently manage those expectations.
4. Clarifying real problems as they arise.
5. Create a path for performance (development plan) ensuring employees are working with their own unique intentions, toward the goals that contribute most to the long-term success of your business.

It’s easy to underestimate how much a well-designed performance review process contributes to overall employee satisfaction, and continued success of your salon and spa. Often owners and managers alike simply spend their time putting out ‘fires’! Unfortunately this ad hoc mentality can actually contribute to employee turnover. In fact, studies show that most workers value clear, consistent feedback and acknowledgement as much as (or more than) they do monetary compensation. When properly administered, performance reviews help your company to MOTIVATE employees from within, RECOGNIZE and COMPENSATE top performers for achieving their goals, REDUCE TURNOVER and ATTRITION, and PROTECT your business legally.

In time, with consistent tracking, reporting and communication, you will find that administering reviews is actually a great way of staying connected and motivating your team to achieve greater success.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Connection Between Training and Retaining Your Generation Y Employees

Many employees view adequate training as an essential element of a satisfying workplace. However, Gen Y sees continuing training as particularly important!

Born between 1981 and 1995, Gen Y has grown up with YouTube, podcasts, and online tutorials, and is used to jumping on the internet and having immediate access to on-demand learning whenever it is convenient for them. They have a sense of entitlement and indispensability. Gen Y’s are “stimulus junkies” and become easily bored due to the advent of technology and instant gratification. Gen Y also wants to understand the big corporate picture – strategy, goals, and values.

To retain this Generation, it requires new training and management strategies - AND, you better get used to it and learn how to deal with them because they are the future! The salon owner and manager that learns how to motivate the Gen Y employee and train them will earn their undying loyalty.

Here are three strategies for managing, training, motivating and retaining Generation Y:

1. Gen Y chooses a salon or spa based on a correlation between the business’ and personal values. Gen Y enjoys clear goals and direction and prefers a management style that respects their knowledge but at the same time guides their career development.

2. Gen Y is tech savvy and their love of technology allows them to adapt to technological advances of training design. Gen Y is responsible for the serge in online training. Discussion forums, instant messaging, blogging and emailing are expected in training.

3.If the course or workshop is to be taught face to face, then create a mixed mode of delivery by storing supplemental exercises, assignments or information on a web site. The design can include pre or post work such as an email writing assignment, online quiz or internet research project.

So what's the lesson for salon and spa owners and managers? For one, if you haven't already adapted a training and learning approach that fits the Gen Y model, get moving! Your best Gen Ys may already be "googling" their next career opportunity!!

If you are looking for ways to beef up your Generation Y training be sure to check out our On-Line Milady U courses.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Leading Your Salon Team to Greatness

Have you ever been in a position where one of your salon employees expected you to have all the answers? Or have you felt, no matter what you said or how many times you said it, your team didn’t follow through or buy into what you wanted? Have you ever felt irritated that your team didn’t get it?

Do you feel alone at the top? No one understands you? Gets you? Cares about what you are going through?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions - first, you are not alone, second, it is OK and third, you can do something about it!

Typically these issues occur due to missing systems that cause stress and upset. Below are four powerful steps you can take to rectify the situation by growing as a leader and communicator:
  1. Vision: As a speaker I ask audiences, time and again, if they have a vision for their salon or spa and if they can clearly articulate it. I usually get a disappointing 1% that raises their hand! In order for you to achieve success you must create a vision - something based upon your values and what drives you to be the best. You have to frame it, hang it on the wall, put it on all of your business cards, menus and letterhead. You have to say it, teach it and make sure everyone knows it, breaths it, is it! Without a vision you are driving a 100 miles per hour down a foggy road and you forget to turn on the defrost - you cannot see where you are going! No wonder no one follows you and you struggle to move your business forward!
  2. Policies and Procedures: Most salons do not think of themselves as a company, a corporation. We look at ourselves as a small business. Whether you are a small business or have tons of employees you have to “think” like a big business! You have to realize that you work in a busy business. The salon and spa environment is so fast paced; it is only magnified and intensified when you do not have policies in place. Having an Employee Handbook, Opening & Closing Procedures, Job Description, etc. eliminates the chaos! These systems are the foundation of the business. When you have these foundations in place you can then coach and lead your team based upon the systems, policies and procedures that your team agreed to follow.
  3. Meetings: As a leader you must meet with your team regularly. You have to have at least a 15 minute huddle with each employee each week. You have to have a team meeting at least once a month. You have to meet with each employee at least once a month and sit down and have a 30 minute to one hour meeting with them. We call this a plan and review. Actually stopping to check in on where they are, how they feel they are doing, what they can improve upon, getting their feedback and ideas on the operation of the business is valuable!
  4. Communication: One thing that we know happens for sure in any business is dealing with the “human factor”, in other words, dealing with peoples emotions and perceptions of each other and the environment we work in. Things happen so fast and upsets are bound to happen. It is natural you will never agree 100% of the time. What typically occurs is upsets take place and they either get stepped over by the people involved and this creates animosity and tension and dilutes the culture of the business. I recommend that you implement policies for dealing with upsets. In our culture we call it our Communication Charter! We have a policy that states if you have an upset with someone you have 24 hours to handle it, if not the culture becomes poisonous. The policy also states how to make requests of each, how to support and coach each other and how to keep your word and listen for what each person you communicate with needs. This is so beneficial, each of us deal with stress and busyness, without these systems in place we are doomed to communication breakdown!

Ultimately, as a leader, the degree of your stress or happiness, your team following through, more real conversations as opposed to back room gossip and finger pointing, can be measured by the systems you have in place and your willingness to follow through and deliver everyday.