How to Deal with Problem Salon/Spa Employees

October 25, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

No one becomes an owner for the thrill and excitement of dealing with problem employees. In fact, dealing with problem employees is probably the most disliked of all ownership responsibilities. It’s stressful, exhausting and, next to financial stress, a major contributor to owner burnout.

FACT: There’s no secret training camp that prepares problem employees to infiltrate your business, wreck your culture and stress you out.

There are three primary reasons that problem employees find their way into your business:

  1. Bad fit: A potential employee may appear to be a good fit through the interviewing process but lack the necessary thinking and behavior to fit into your culture. Examples: Attendance, teamwork, following rules, attitude, mutual respect, etc..
  2. Evolved over time: A good employee can become a problem employee due to the work environment. This includes lack of or indifferent leadership, broken trust/promises, lack of opportunity, lack of appreciation, etc..
  3. Personal issues: Life challenges, personal relationships, drugs/alcohol, and other factors that have nothing to do with work can turn a good employee into a problem employee.

If you own an employee-based salon or spa, you will have to deal with problem employees. To what extent really depends on you and your approach to leadership.... Read More

No one becomes an owner for the thrill and excitement of dealing with problem employees. In fact, dealing with problem employees is probably the most disliked of all ownership responsibilities. It’s stressful, exhausting and, next to financial stress, a major contributor to owner burnout. FACT: There’s no secret training camp that prepares problem employees to infiltrate your business, wreck your culture and stress you out. There are three primary reasons…
Read More

Categories: Leadership , Staff Retention

Pricing Salon/Spa Services by the Hour — Not Price

October 19, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments

Imagine looking at your appointment book and knowing exactly how much profit every booked hour was going to generate.

Imagine every member of your team being well-versed in explaining the pricing for every service you offer.

Imagine getting rid of those complicated and seemingly endless price lists.

Now, imagine reinforcing your brand by using a pricing structure that charges for time, skills and expertise rather than the “name” of specific services.

AND … You should already be doing the following three things:

  1. You should be pricing your services based on “Cost per Hour + Profit Margin.”
  2. You should have established time standards for every service.
  3. You should be monitoring productivity rate to track “hours sold vs. hours available for sale.”

If you’re doing the above, you’re so close to switching from giving clients a $$ price for a service to saying, “We charge by how long your service(s) will take.” ... Read More

Imagine looking at your appointment book and knowing exactly how much profit every booked hour was going to generate. Imagine every member of your team being well-versed in explaining the pricing for every service you offer. Imagine getting rid of those complicated and seemingly endless price lists. Now, imagine reinforcing your brand by using a pricing structure that charges for time, skills and expertise rather than the “name” of specific…
Read More

Categories: Financial Literacy

Projecting Salon/Spa Revenue in Uncertain Times

October 12, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Projecting revenue is not the most exciting task an owner can do.

Few argue the importance of projecting revenue. The problem is, it just doesn’t get done.

As a salon/spa coaching company, here’s what we see:

  • Even in good times, most salon/spa owners don’t take the time to project revenue. The same goes for budgeting expenses.
  • Many owners “feel” they have a handle on their financial reality because they can look at the appointment book and bank balances. But that’s far from projecting and budgeting.
  • Now that we’re in the last quarter of an extremely rattled 2020 economy, for many owners, projecting revenue is seen as a pointless guessing game.

FACT #1: Any owner that doesn’t have monthly revenue projections and expense budgets, no matter how much he or she “feels” they have a handle on it, is flying financially blind.

FACT #2: When times are good, it’s easy to ignore the need to do revenue projections. In the uncertain economic times we’re in today, projecting revenue is an absolute must.... Read More

Projecting revenue is not the most exciting task an owner can do. Few argue the importance of projecting revenue. The problem is, it just doesn’t get done. As a salon/spa coaching company, here’s what we see: Even in good times, most salon/spa owners don’t take the time to project revenue. The same goes for budgeting expenses. Many owners “feel” they have a handle on their financial reality because they can…
Read More

Categories: Financial Literacy

Ten Characteristics of an Awesome Front Desk/Guest Services Employee

October 4, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

They used to be called “receptionists.”

Smile. Be pleasant. Answer the phone. Book appointments. Check clients in and out. What could be easier?

FACT: If you want to experience the most demanding position at a salon/spa — work the front desk for eight hours on a busy day.

Today’s front desk/guest services employees are an integral part of driving salon/spa growth, productivity, client retention, retail sales, and just about all essential critical numbers.

In celebration of these hard-working individuals, we give you the top ten characteristics of an awesome front desk/guest services employee:

  1. Servant’s heart with a commander’s brain: A service-intensive business like a salon/spa is a balancing act between customer service and business efficiency. The servant’s heart is the ability to make clients feel cared for. The commander’s brain is to ensure efficient client flow between service providers and maintain client scheduling on the appointment book with a focus on driving productivity.
  2. Ability to anticipate needs: All salons/spas want to deliver extraordinary customer service experiences. But going through the motions of checking in, checking out, answering the phone and booking appointments is far from extraordinary. In order for extraordinary customer service experiences to consistently occur, front desk/guest services employees must have the ability to anticipate client needs. For example, they should be able to “read” a client’s stress level with reassurance and extra personal attention. Anticipating needs unlocks the door to extraordinary customer service experiences.
  3. Attention to detail: How many Mrs. Smith’s are in your database and they’re all the same “Mrs. Smith”? How many appointments are made with an incorrect phone number or no phone number at all? How many appointments are scheduled incorrectly? How many missed prebooks and retail sales occur during the course of the day? It doesn’t take much to disrupt the flow of business, upset a client, miss simple opportunities, or stress out a service provider. Botched data, indifferent “it’s good enough” thinking, or incorrect appointments can quickly sabotage your business. The best salons/spas make attention to detail a non-negotiable.
  4. Task and systems oriented: Everything … repeat everything … at the front desk is task and systems driven. Even if you replaced your front desk with a technology solution like iPads or tablets, locking into tasks and systems is even more important. Operations Manuals and documented procedures, and the training to support them, are essential. For this very reason, individuals that are task and systems oriented are a must. Anything less is a compromise.
  5. Multitasks wisely: There are people that pride themselves at being multitaskers that appear busy as heck but get little done. An awesome front desk/guest services employee excels at establishing priorities, often in the moment. This means that the most essential task at the time is being addressed — most often to avoid a potential problem or upset client.
  6. Cool under pressure: The phone is ringing. Clients are waiting to check in while other clients are waiting to checkout. You’re on the phone with a client that wants to book multiple hair and spa services. Service providers are running behind and waiting clients are getting upset. If this scenario sounds like a nightmare to a candidate, it’s a bad fit and he/she won’t last long in the position.
  7. Never compromise a system or procedure: Consistency at the front desk means thoroughness. It means being accountable. It means understanding how vital systems and procedures are to customer service and the performance of the company. Awesome front desk/guest service employees earn trust and respect by doing their work and making it appear effortless.
  8. Essential for driving overall productivity rate: Front desk/guest services employees are responsible for the most precious commodity of salon/spa business — hours available for sale on the appointment book. It’s not just one column, it’s all columns. It’s everything from up-selling services and filling white space, to keeping clients off the waiting list when the time and skills are available. The hallmark of an awesome front desk/guest services employee is an impeccably managed appointment book.
  9. Ensures service providers prebook and recommend retail: It’s the service provider’s responsibility to recommend prebook services and retail products to clients. It’s the front desk/guest services responsibility to lock in prebooked appointments and “close” retail sales. This cannot happen if front desk/guest services employees don’t receive or ask the service provider for prebook and retail recommendations. The transition from service provider to front desk checkout must be seamless. Awesome front desk/guest services employees help keep service providers on task by requiring prebook and retail recommendations.
  10. Valued member of the team: Just like service providers, front desk/guest services employees are vital to achieving true teamwork. They are not second-class citizens simply because they don’t do services and lack a professional license. Most of all, they should not be regarded as minimum-wage/low paid employees. Any employee that meets the previous nine characteristics is a valued member of the team.

Here’s my challenge to you: How do these ten characteristics match up with your current front desk/guest services employees?... Read More

They used to be called “receptionists.” Smile. Be pleasant. Answer the phone. Book appointments. Check clients in and out. What could be easier? FACT: If you want to experience the most demanding position at a salon/spa — work the front desk for eight hours on a busy day. Today’s front desk/guest services employees are an integral part of driving salon/spa growth, productivity, client retention, retail sales, and just about all…
Read More

Categories: Staff Retention , Teamwork

Your Salon/Spa — Where to Go From Here?

September 28, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 3 Comments

Much has changed since March 2020.

Before we can discuss where to go from here, we have to understand where we are today.

In so many ways, it’s a blur of COVID-19 fears, the shutdown, unemployment, PPP/EIDL, sanitizing protocols, reopening, staffing issues, occupancy restrictions, and clients stretching out appointments.

And then there’s the social/racial unrest, forest fires, hurricanes, and a divisive presidential election.

The pandemic’s impact on the economy has been devastating, especially to small businesses with limited resources.

  • We hear the news of large business bankruptcies including Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, Pier 1, Gold’s Gym, Hertz, and most recently Sizzler Steakhouse.

What we don’t hear much about are the owners of small businesses that made the painful decision to close their doors.

When a small business, like a salon, spa or barbershop, closes its doors, it’s a quiet death. Years of hard work, hopes and dreams crumble into a pile of debt that won’t easily disappear.... Read More

Much has changed since March 2020. Before we can discuss where to go from here, we have to understand where we are today. In so many ways, it’s a blur of COVID-19 fears, the shutdown, unemployment, PPP/EIDL, sanitizing protocols, reopening, staffing issues, occupancy restrictions, and clients stretching out appointments. And then there’s the social/racial unrest, forest fires, hurricanes, and a divisive presidential election. The pandemic’s impact on the economy has…
Read More

Categories: Coronavirus , Leadership

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