Without a customer-focused business strategy, it has become increasingly impossible to compete and survive in the salon industry. The business continues to evolve and there are hair salons on every block and corner that cater to African-American customers. Many hair salons miss the mark by refusing to acknowledge a glaring reason for a business' lack of long term success: poor customer service.
Even if you think your hair skills are the "the bomb," what else are you doing to incent a customer to return and invest in your business? What is the customer's first impression of your salon? Is the atmosphere appealing or an immediate turn off? If you desire to attract and retain desirable customers, answer the previous questions honestly and create an action plan to thrive instead of merely surviving.
Here is a list of destructive practices that will eventually sabotage your business:
Lack of respect for a customer's time: learn to show up on time. If you are running late, contact the customer to provide a heads up. Too many salons have Stylists that are consistently late for every appointment, he/she frequently overbooks and schedules too many customers in a short timeframe, and the Stylists take long personal breaks in-between customers extending the visit by a significant amount of time.
Drama in the workplace: what is the customer's first impression when they walk into your space? How do you welcome and acknowledge new customers? Are there non-customers standing around a customer that are not being served? Are you airing your personal drama or putting your peers on blast in front of customers? Is your salon clean and the workspace maintained consistently? What does your personal appearance say about you and your skills?
Lack of customer focus: without customers, there is no revenue or paycheck. What are you doing to show a customer they are appreciated and respected? Do you follow up with customers in a timely manner to schedule future appointments or do they have to chase you? If you desire to stand out from the crowd, there must be a focus on providing outstanding service and making the customer a priority. You need excellent creative skills to gain a solid reputation in the industry. However, it becomes very difficult to repair a reputation you may have created based on unprofessional and offensive behavior.
Be proactive and take a moment to complete an honest assessment of your business and customer strategies. Talk 1:1 with your customers and get their perspective about your "salon atmosphere." Reach out to customers who didn't return for a follow up visit and ask for honest feedback. Look in the mirror and assess if your personal attitude and habits are standing in the way of your success. It's never too late to create an action plan for change. Be committed to carving out your niche and creating a plan that will keep you relevant in the long term. And remember..no business will survive without customers.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!