“Me” Service to Become “Team Service” – Part 2

September 15, 2019 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

In Part One of last week’s blog post (read it here), I detailed why the industry’s pervasive “I/me/mine” attitude is the major obstacle to teamwork and the delivery of extraordinary customer service.

More importantly, I detailed what feeds the “I/me/mine” mentality. Because owners obsess over how much each individual brings in, the message being sent is that their “I/me/mine” numbers are all that matter.

  • Teamwork is compromised. Customer service is compromised. Team service doesn’t stand a chance.

Read Part One for my recommendations on how to shift your salon/spa from “Me” thinking to “We” thinking. This is a prerequisite to team service.

If you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal? Clients at my salon/spa are free to see anyone they want.”

My response is, “Are they really?” When clients call to schedule an appointment, the first question they’re asked is, “Who with and what day and time?” That’s “Me” service, not team service.... Read More

Team Service: What It Is and Why It Works

April 15, 2019 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Teamwork in a salon/spa is a beautiful thing to observe.

Everyone shows up at the daily huddle on time and prepared to hear the game plan for the day.

The front desk team welcomes clients with a smile, gets them checked in and guides them off to begin their services.

Service providers have that same welcoming smile and begin the process of consulting and delivering professional services.

It all looks great, but there’s an embedded thinking and behavior that undermines the client service experience.

Yes, an assistant can prepare and help deliver the service, but that’s not team service.

Yes, a colorist may do the color and a stylist the cut and finish, but that’s not team service. Why? Because that colorist and stylist automatically become THAT colorist’s and THAT stylist’s request client.

Strategies has been teaching and coaching Team Service for over 25 years because it is the foundation that a Team-Based Culture and Business Model is built on.... Read More

The 10 Characteristics of an Ideal Front Desk/Guest Services Employee

September 17, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

FACT: Front desk/guest services employees are key players in salon/spa growth, productivity, profitability and brand identity.

The days of the “receptionist” to greet and check clients out are long gone.

In today’s systematized salons/spas, the front desk is as much a command center as it is a check-in/check-out point for clients.

Beyond the givens of providing customer service, scheduling appointments and ringing up service and retail sales, the responsibility of driving salon/spa critical numbers is paramount.

Service providers may “do the work,” but front desk/guest services employees organize the work, sell the work, and exercise extreme influence on pre-booking, client retention and productivity rates.

These efficient multi-taskers must also be technologically savvy to fully utilize the power of today’s modern software applications.

There is no doubt that finding the right fit for these key positions can be challenging, but just as much as any skilled service provider, they must be hired, trained and retained.... Read More

The Great “How to Train Salon & Spa Talent” Debate

March 12, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

Salons and spas are technical skill and customer service based businesses.

The services you offer, the products you sell, and the customer experiences you create, represent your brand.

Services are delivered via the skilled hands and knowledge of your employees. Extraordinary customer service experiences are delivered by your employee’s thinking and behavior.

The challenge is that skill and experience are a difficult variable to control.

  • Young professionals fresh out of school may have the rough skills and passion, but they lack the experience necessary to refine their skills and feed their passion.
  • Service providers with years of experience are no guarantee of quality work … especially if their drive and passion to advance their skills has faded.
  • Hiring a service provider that can bring his/her large clientele is a tactic to acquire cash flow, but there is no guarantee that the work meets your salon/spa’s standards.

So the BIG question is, how long does it take to train not only NEW talent, but to keep experienced talent at the top of their game?... Read More

Salon & Spa Scoreboard Mania! Inspiring Team Engagement

June 12, 2017 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

In last week’s blog post I stressed the importance of Financial Literacy training for employees.

This week, I want to stress the importance of focusing on the total salon/spa goal and keeping team engagement high through scoreboards and huddles.

FACT #1: If you want teamwork and team culture, leaders must unite employees around the salon/spa service and retail goal.


Because that’s the goal that covers payroll, pays the bills and provides growth opportunity for all. And yes, profit too.

FACT #2: If your approach to goal setting is by individual service provider, the result is employees competing against each other, not beating the competition. More importantly, you’re “building columns on the appointment book” … not a team-based effort or culture.

Scoreboard Rules:

  1. Scoreboards are done every month
  2. Scoreboards are updated daily
  3. Scoreboards and daily Team Huddles are inseparable
  4. Never post/update a scoreboard without a Team Huddle
  5. A scoreboard without a huddle is “invisible”
  6. Team Huddles are done the same time every day
  7. An employee that is late for Team Huddle is late for work
  8. Numbers 3, 4 and 5 say the same thing … Huddles are that important
  9. If you flunk scoreboards and daily Team Huddles … you have a leadership and accountability issue in your company

So, what better way to demonstrate the power of scoreboards and teamwork than by sharing a collection of scoreboards created by Strategies’ coaching clients and their staff.... Read More

Salon/Spa Scoreboards: Getting Everyone on the Same Page

August 29, 2016 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

At the top of every salon/spa owner’s wish list is, “how do I get everyone on the same page?” The only truly effective way to get everyone on that elusive same page is to have them all looking at that same page … at the same time.

For years, I’ve listened to owners say, “scoreboards and huddles won’t work.” The excuses range from work schedules that are all over the place to an outright fear and/or refusal to share the salon/spa’s true revenue goal for the month.

  • It’s like they want everyone to work really hard together for a goal that’s hidden behind a curtain.
  • Others only want to give individual goals in hopes that it all adds up to a company win. But that’s nothing more than growing columns on the appointment book … not growing a dynamic team-based company.

A simple information-flow acid test... Read More

Owning an Employee-Based Salon or Spa

July 18, 2016 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Owning an Employee-Based Salon or Spa

There are many voices that say, “Commission salon/spas are a thing of the past.”

What I don’t understand is why “commission” … a method of compensation … is used to describe an employee-based business.

The voices predicting the demise of commission salon/spas mostly come from those involved in booth rental and suites (independents that rent and those that need to rent space). Ads for suites all tout the same theme …

“Be your own boss.”

Yes, suites are the new shiny thing and getting lots of attention, but they target the talent at employee-based salons/spas to fill those suites.

Commission salon/spas are easy targets because the hook is: “Why make 40% or 50% when you can keep it all?”... Read More

10 Ways Every Salon/Spa Employee Can Start Stepping Up

May 2, 2016 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

You see a client in the retail area that needs help

…but “it’s not my job to help.”

The lone guest-services staff is slammed with the phone ringing, clients needing to checkout and clients waiting to check in. You know how to check clients in … but you walk away.

There’s a pile of dirty towels that need to get washed … but “someone else will do it.”

You use a coffee mug, leave it in the sink and walk away … when the dish soap and sponge are right there. You didn’t have 15 seconds to clean your own coffee mug? Who was going to clean that for you? Your mom?

The trash can is visibly full … but you jam your handful of trash in and walk away. How much effort does it take to empty a trash can?... Read More

Rethinking Your Salon or Spa Appointment Book Strategy

February 29, 2016 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Are you scheduling appointments or just filling orders?

Whenever a salesperson is referred to as an “order taker,” it means that salesperson lacks the initiative and experience to truly engage, discover and understand the needs of the customer.

The order taker goes after the “what do you need today” low hanging fruit and moves on.

A true salesperson, on the other hand, asks questions, listens intently, identifies problems, provides solutions, educates and builds relationships.

I’m not suggesting that order takers don’t work hard, because they do. They cover a lot of ground and talk to a lot of customers. It’s hard work collecting all that low hanging fruit.

The true salesperson covers less ground, but collects the mother load of fruit on the rest of the tree … simply by taking the time to understand and fulfill needs. And they often get all the low hanging fruit, too.

In the salon/spa business, it’s all about selling time …  the relentless quest to fill up the time-slots on the appointment book.... Read More

Why Teamwork Is Your Salon or Spa Best Staff Retention Tool

December 14, 2015 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

Everyone wants to be part of something – to belong. Team momentum and excitement are infectious. Teamwork pulls people together in the most positive and inspiring way. When your salon/spa’s team spirit is strong enough, even your self-proclaimed diehard loners and change resisters will find themselves subtly seeking a way to align with the team. Call it teamwork, camaraderie, or your family at work, the effect teamwork has on staff retention is the magic that every company can, and must, strive to achieve.

Throughout my working years, I’ve been part of three teams that stand out. With two of those teams, I was an employee. Of those two, one was a salon and the other was a publishing company. We were truly tight as co-workers, and relentlessly focused on goals and vision. Both companies had inspiring leaders who kept us on task and totally accountable for our actions and results. We were proud and WOW, were we ever productive. In both cases, when our teams’ fearless leaders moved on (one was promoted and the other turned into a jerk) the team energy and focus left with them. For me personally, I yearned for the involvement, camaraderie and growth I experienced on those teams. So much so, that without the team connectedness, I found myself looking for other opportunities beyond the company. In both instances, my searching led me to start my own companies.... Read More


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