Is Your Salon or Spa FIVE STAR or Something Less?

July 23, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Go to a Five Star hotel or restaurant and you expect the very best in every way.

A Five Star rating is all about no compromise.

A Five Star rating is beyond a status symbol.

It is a commitment by an entire organization to flawlessly execute the highest levels of customer service and expertise every time … all the time.

No salon/spa owner sets out to be less than the best. No stylist, esthetician, massage or nail technician wants to intentionally be less than the best. Life and circumstances have a way of pushing the best intentions off course.

But, being the best is hard work … and it’s always worth the effort to get there.

The Ultimate Salon/Spa Team Meeting

When it comes to the execution of customer service systems and technical work, salons and spas can be notoriously inconsistent. So, to consider your salon/spa a Five Star organization, the inconsistencies have to go away. For most, that means it’s time to rock the boat.... Read More

Who Owns the Salon/Spa Client?

June 5, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

FACT 1: No one owns the client. Clients give their business and loyalty to those that earn it.

FACT 2: The traditional salon/spa business model is built on service providers building their own followings.

The question of who “owns” the client is central to the thinking of most stylists and technicians — because they want to own as many as possible.

This is especially prevalent in commission salons/spas where income is based solely on individual service and retail sales. In such circumstances, more clients equal more money. But this mentality builds those invisible barriers within the salon.

  • When salon stylists and technicians become more concerned with the quantity of clients they serve than with their quality of service, the finer points of customer relations easily fall through the cracks.

Who “owns” the clients in your salon or spa? If the business model is based on individual book building, service providers naturally assume that clients belong to them. This is the way many owners “train” new staff members to think and act.... Read More

Everyone is Accountable for Salon & Spa Customer Loyalty

May 15, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Everyone is accountable for customer loyalty.



Yes, customer loyalty begins with leadership and that’s where the problem can begin.

Leaders are notorious for going on those infamous rampages when a customer quits the salon/spa or when customer retention rates go critical. The no-compromise question to ask is, “Where is the accountability and how far down in the salon/spa does that accountability go?” Playing the blame game is a compromise and totally unacceptable.

The no-compromise leader places accountability for customer loyalty in the hands of every company employee.

It cannot be any other way.

For this level of accountability to exist, employees need to understand just how accountable they are. What I’m talking about here is a team-based business culture.

In a team-based business culture, ALL employees feel the pain of a lost customer. They feel the pain when a customer has a problem that could have been avoided.... Read More

How to Recruit Salon/Spa Employees in the Post Pandemic

May 2, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments

From the day I entered the professional salon/spa industry in 1970, recruiting new and experienced employees has been a serious challenge.

Add pandemic-related disruptions into the mix, and the process of recruiting new employees has gotten more and more difficult.

Then, there’s the industry’s long history of high employee turnover. The more turnover you have, the more pressure on your recruiting efforts — especially in today’s tight labor market.

Many owners blame turnover and recruitment challenges on the growth of booth rental and suites — but even businesses that cater to independents are having difficulty renting/leasing space.

FACT: You can’t grow a service business if you can’t recruit new

Yes, the pandemic seriously rattled the economy and our industry. In the process, it proved that the days of “business as usual” are long gone.

So, what’s a salon/spa owner to do when want ads, online recruitment sites, and visits to schools, barely get a trickle of applicants — or no applicants at all?... Read More

Why “Who Gets the Credit” Hurts Your Salon/Spa Culture

February 21, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

The salon/spa industry’s longstanding approach to compensation is built on one seriously simple method: If a service provider delivers a service, or sells a product, he or she gets a piece.

In order to get that “piece,” the salon/spa must determine “who gets the credit” for the service or product sale.

Here are the four most common “who gets the credit” challenges:

  1. One or more service providers work on one client and each expects to get “a piece” of the ticket.
  2. A front desk/guest services employee sells a retail item to client at checkout. The service provider has a fit because he/she didn’t get the credit.
  3. Front desk/guest services employees disengage from closing or selling retail because the credit and commission automatically goes to the service provider.
  4. A service provider says, “I’m not doing [insert service/product sale] unless I get a piece.”

These four challenges may seem extremely basic, but they’re far from it. Why? Because the moment an employee feels short-changed or cheated, it contaminates your culture and spreads like wildfire.... Read More

Driving Salon/Spa Client Loyalty in the Days of COVID-19

December 13, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Strategies definition of Client Loyalty: “The customer satisfaction business outcome is all about delivering extraordinary service, quality and value to achieve maximum client retention — and doing so with a no-compromise passion to be nothing less than world-class.”

In good times, retaining clients is essential.

In COVID-19 times, retaining clients is massively critical. It means becoming super innovative and thinking out of the box to counter the negative impact of clients spreading out appointments and addressing COVID fears.

This week, we showcase the winner of our 2020 Team-Based Pay Client Loyalty Award.

 ... Read More

Customer Loyalty Systems Hit List for Salons & Spas

January 29, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

If you want consistency in customer service, satisfaction and retention, you must use systems.

A football coach has his playbook — a collection of systems designed to produce specific results.

What does your company’s playbook look like?

Customers are on the receiving end of your systems. If those systems are designed well and your team follows those systems with discipline and resolve, you have the best chance of achieving consistent and predictable results.

If you’re lacking systems, or they’re poorly designed and not followed, your customers are on the receiving end of compromise.

Your company phone won’t be answered correctly. Customers will be on hold too long. Problems will take longer to resolve. Retention will suffer.... Read More

No-Compromise Leadership Choices Drive Consistency

October 5, 2015 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

No-compromise leadership = Consistency across all four business outcomes (Productivity, Profitability, Staff Retention and Customer Loyalty). It’s such a simple equation. Yet, within its simplicity is a profound message to all who lead, or seek to lead others. The rich word for me here is consistency. Consistency is perhaps the most challenging aspect of no-compromise leadership to comprehend and live, because how one leads is influenced by the leader’s collective abilities, beliefs, behavior styles, perceptions and life experiences.

How long your voyage to no-compromise leadership will take depends on current behavior patterns. Some people are natural achievers while others are procrastinators. There are those who obsess over every minor detail in their quest for perfection. In leadership positions they can bog things down by micro-managing everything. At the other end of the spectrum are those who hate the details and do all they can to avoid them. In leadership positions, they can wreak havoc by communicating in such broad brush stokes that the outcomes they desire are vague and open to broad interpretation … if achieved at all. For a company’s performance and culture to be consistent, its leader must be a model of consistency. This is non-negotiable. It is one’s commitment and ability to be consistent that defines the no-compromise leader.... Read More

Customer Service Is All About Sense of Urgency

July 13, 2015 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

Sense of urgency takes on new meaning and purpose when discussing the Customer Satisfaction Business Outcome. Think about the times you walked into a business and waited for someone to notice and take care of you. OK, now think about the times you waited while watching employees talk to one another and were totally oblivious to your presence. How about those times you sat in a restaurant watching other tables being served that were seated after you? What about that customer service representative that promised to call you back in an hour … and never did? These are all symptoms of a breakdown in sense of urgency.

Sense of urgency and customer satisfaction are inseparable. If your business fails to deliver on a customer expectation, it will show in your first-time and existing client retention rates. It’s that black and white. Nothing infuriates clients more than shoddy or substandard service. If a business fails to deliver on its quality and experience promise, it must be regarded as a breach of contract. Likewise, attention to detail, amazing service and the efforts any business makes to exceed the ordinary and deliver the extraordinary is what truly defines world-class brand.... Read More

Understanding Drivers & Outcomes in Your Salon/Spa

April 7, 2014 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

At Strategies, every aspect of our business training and coaching is focused on what we call The Four Business Outcomes: productivity, profitability, staff retention and customer loyalty. Business success, and your success as a leader, is defined not only by the proficiency and mastery of each outcome, but by how equally you balance and synchronize The Four Business Outcomes. Think of each Outcome as one of the four powerful jet engines on a Boeing 747. Maximum efficiency and thrust to lift the 875,000 pound jetliner with over 500 passengers and cargo requires all four engines to be in sync. Should one engine underperform or fail, the performance and safety of the entire jetliner is compromised.

Outcomes are an end result. High productivity rates are an outcome. Impressive Balance Sheets and Profit & Loss Statements are outcomes. A unified and cohesive company culture with little employee turnover is an outcome. Fiercely loyal customers and high client retention rates are outcomes. In order to produce extraordinary outcomes, you’ve got to get the drivers right.... Read More

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