Are You Strutting Your Stuff Enough?
Great customer service is what keeps people coming back to you again … and again … and referring their friends. But don’t ever be shy to let clients know what a great wicket they’re on! By Jay Chapman*.
What sets your salon, spa or clinic apart from any other in your street, suburb or city? As a salon coach, I visit many businesses in my travels and I always ask owners/managers: “What is your point of difference?”
If I asked you that question, right now, how would you respond?
If you’re thinking I’m asking about a full-on salon concept – eg. an express blow-dry bar – you’d be on the wrong track.
What I’m looking for is a point of difference in what you do every day in your salon.
As aesthetics professionals, we often focus on the “fluff” – piles of trendy magazines, state-of-the-art coffee machines, sleek and shiny waiting areas. While I agree that those things are important, I want you to consider this: What is your point of difference for your service delivery? Do you even have one, or is it the same as the next salon and the next?
I recently asked a client: What is the difference between your global colours compared with other salons? She was stuck; she wasn’t quite sure.
When we dug a little deeper she identified that her team always use the correct colour in the correct place, only applying permanent colour where it’s truly needed and using demis and semis to refresh and look after the condition of the hair.
She went on to explain that, with some clients, her team use three separate mixes to achieve the desired global colour. To prevent staining, they always apply protective oil to the hairline with any colour deeper then a level 6.
Wow! The clients must be impressed with that attention to detail, right? Well, they probably would be … except they are never told.
And there’s the obstacle I often find standing between salon owners and actual differentiation – a reluctance to strut their stuff.
Our clients want three main things from us: great customer service, a great experience and a knowledgeable expert.
Generally, we achieve the first two quite well. But all too often, I see that we drop the ball on the third – asserting ourselves as an expert in our industry.
Even though this is the critical differentiator, the thing that can set you apart from competitors and prove your value over inexperienced or lazy operators.
So, how do you demonstrate your expertise? You need to share your secrets! By that, I mean tell your clients about the things you do to care for them during every salon visit. It’s NOT secret business!
Tell them why you choose one product/treatment type over another for their skin or hair. Explain the techniques and professional tools you use. Show them what they can do at home between visits to care for their skin or hair and maintain the results as long as possible.
What you’re telling or showing your clients might seem like Beauty 101 to you. To them it’s a specialty, a skill they don’t have or understand. In reality, it’s the exact prowess and know-how your clients pay you for. It’s doing your job.
As an industry, we seem to take our own expertise for granted. We undervalue it and we forget to share it.
Brainstorm with your team to identify exactly what it is that you do differently. Here are some ideas to start with, some things you might do as a matter of routine, but not share with your clients:
- No client wants to think their skin or hair is being cared for the same way it was five, 10 or even 20 years ago. But when was the last time you showed a client how engaged and connected you are with happenings in the industry?
- Talk about that recent training night you attended or impress them with what you know about an amazing product just hitting the market here or overseas. It could be as simple as creating a buzz around a magazine spread of the latest trends.
- Chit chat is a positive part of the salon experience for many clients (but learn to interpret when they don’t want to talk – sometimes people fear being seen as rude by asking to enjoy their treatment in silence). Why not use a portion of that conversation time to remind your clients why you do what you do and why you’re worth the investment they make in your salon, spa or clinic. You’ll be educating your clients, and creating a loyal relationship.
Own it. Be bold, be professional and strut your stuff for all to see.
* Jay is a specialist Zing salon coach. For more salon wisdom, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the website, find video tips on YouTube or read Zing leader Lisa Conway’s new book: Your Salon Team – the salon owner’s guide to finding, motivating and keeping great staff.