Before diving into a bit of spa-owner/manager/service-provider related discussion, I’d just like to quickly add the following preface: All good roads lead to consistently exceptional (preferably perfect) customer service. Which means, the following systems represent many – but definitely not all – methods of harvesting an overall client experience that’s as close to perfect as it can possibly be. But I digress… On with the story!
A little over two years ago we implemented a program at Complexions Spa that maps out a career path for each and every individual that joins the Complexions Team. Short-term, mid-term, long-term… you name it, it’s all laid out for them including key milestones that need to be met in order to grow in their chosen career in the spa industry. They are given goals to meet in four main categories that if followed, provide a path to success that is faster than any other I have seen, heard or used since beginning my own career nearly 25 years ago. Furthermore, our program addresses many issues that have become more important than even to the success… or failure… of boutique spa & salons given the recent downturn within our macro-economy.
Classic Example #1: If your service providers are either sitting or waiting for clients to come in, you already have a problem. Of course, some will say lack of business is a tricky/complicated problem to correctly diagnose. Nonsense! There is always something to do in a spa or salon. Always. Sure, someone will say more advertising is needed… that if the owner/manager only advertised more, less stations would be empty. And sometimes, they’ll be right – but usually, when you get down to the brass tacks of the spa & salon business, the person, team, spa and/or salon with the highest retention rate wins. In other words, once most of the non-moving parts are put into place (re: the facility, the location, your branding, educational resources/opportunities for employees, equipment etc) what you’re left with is people. And people are dynamic! Always try to remember that whenever quantifying or calculating the ROI you earn from an employee or partner because what may be true today, may not be true tomorrow. People can change, both for the better and the worse – so if you want to cultivate more of the former and less of the latter, please consider carefully the following 5 commandments to spa & salon success:
- A Pre-booked client = a happy client
- Recommending the correct home ‘maintenance’ skincare programs & products ensures that clients look & feel radiant in between appointments
- Asking for and attaining referrals demonstrates confidence. If you’re awesome at what you do, don’t be selfish, share your talents with as many people as you can.
- To maintain a high new customer retention rate, combine #1 & #2 with consistently great results
The fourth point is especially important given today’s economy because sourcing new customers has become harder and for some, far more expensive. Keeping new clients creates more capital which creates more new advertising which (hopefully) creates more new clients and so on and so forth.
Given the two decades as “owner” that came before we introduced this program I can say with great confidence that meeting with each service provider monthly to evaluate – in detail – their progress is a truly awesome experience. It allows me the opportunity to speak with them, one on one, and really dive into their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) with the goal always being to end up with ‘more positives’ next month. Laying out objective, measurable milestones isn’t always easy – it takes homework and knowing the numbers inside and out – but in the end, numbers usually tell a pretty accurate picture. It’s been exciting to see so many people learn, grow and take control over their own success. Confidence goes a long way in the beauty business and being able to effectively measure one’s own performance is a powerful tool for those who learn how to wield it. Occasionally, there will be those who don’t buy in – who fight against things like management systems and performance reviews and these people don’t typically last very long at Complexions. Not every new employee can work out exactly how you hoped they would – but that’s ok since the ultimate goal is to surround yourself and your team with as many talented, passionate and results-oriented people as space allows. We’ve still got some space to fill at Complexions – so if you’re the kind of individual who will not only appreciate but also accelerate within a results-driven spa & salon, by all means, step right up because the door is always open :)
- Performance Management (slideshare.net)
- Zappos’s Tony Hsieh on Company Culture & Customer Service (drinkingoatmealstout.com)