Many salon & spa owners list client retention and referrals among their top challenges. While launching new marketing campaigns can improve results, it may be beneficial to take a step back and figure out why it is such a struggle. Why aren’t clients coming back? Of those who stay, why aren’t they sending their friends to your salon?
Often, the answer can be traced to the client experience. Are customers happy with the service they receive? Do they feel they are getting the value they expect based on the price they pay? By improving the experience, you can get clients to not only stay but to also pay more for the services they receive!
Although there are many factors involved in the experience, the most important is your staff–the managers, stylists, technicians, and receptionists. Everyone plays a part. Do you have someone come in after hours to clean the salon? Although they don't interact with clients, their role can have as much of an impact as that of your colorists and stylists.
By surrounding yourself with the right people, everything else will come easier and more naturally. Employee morale will reach new highs. Client satisfaction rises. Customer retention increases. Rebooking rates and product sales grow.
To get the right people on board, keep an eye out for the following characteristics during your hiring process:
It comes as no surprise that the employee–whether it’s a hairdresser, a nail technician, or a shampoo assistant–needs to know what they are doing. Competence is necessary, and the ability to not only get the job done, but to do it in a timely manner is crucial.
To ensure that an applicant’s skill level meets a certain standard, some salons put the candidate through a test service with a model or mannequin. If you are hiring less experienced stylists, you may want to offer a training or apprenticeship program where the eventual hire works under the direct supervision of a Master Stylist for a few months before being on their own. In this situation, you will want to consider which applicant is the most willing to learn and best responds to criticism.
As important as the technical aspects of being a hair stylist or masseuse is, much of that can be taught. However, the personality and attitude of your employees are built into them and are difficult to change. As the salon owner or manager, you will need to determine if a candidate's character will match your brand and complement the team. During the interview, ask some behavioral and experience-based questions to understand the candidate. When asking the questions, consider the following:
- Is it easy to get along with the candidate?
- How does the applicant deal with clients?
- Does he or she work well in a team setting?
- How does the candidate handle complaints or criticism?
- Do they act and speak professionally?
Problem Solving Abilities
For the salon to run smoothly even when you're away, your staff should be expert problem solvers. Regardless of experience and technical knowledge, there will be times when something doesn’t go according to plan. When this happens, will the employee be able to adjust and resolve the situation? For example if a color formula doesn't work out properly, how will they be able to fix it? Or let's say that there is a scheduling conflict, will your employees be able to handle the situation calmly and professionally?
When you have a team that doesn't rely on you to fix everything, you can focus on other areas of the business, spend less time worrying about the salon, and enjoy your well-deserved days off.
For the long-term growth of the business, you should look to develop your staff internally. As they already understand the culture, the team dynamics, and the salon's processes, you won't need to spend as much time or money seeking an external candidate. When hiring younger team members, do you see the potential for them to be a Senior Stylist in your salon one day? Or when you recruit more experienced employees, do you see the possibility for them to be your future Salon Manager?
Instead of thinking solely about the current vacancy, also consider traits required of higher positions as well. For example, you will want to pay attention to the candidates' willingness to learn, to mentor, to take initiative, and to hold themselves accountable.
By employing the right mix of people, you can positively impact the success of your salon. Client satisfaction and retention will increase, leading to more referrals. Your brand reputation will improve which will help your future marketing campaigns to drive in better results. Best of all, you can trust your staff and reduce your stress.