Corie Hengst is a New York-based associate editor at American Salon with several years of experience in print and online media. Always active in her passion, she has tackled writing projects over the years ranging from business books to greeting cards. Before joining American Salon, she was editor at a finance magazine. In her current role, she reports on a variety of topics in the professional beauty industry including salon services and hair and nail trends.
Taking Care of Business
Exclusive tips from attendees of the American Salon Better Business Conference
Inspired by American Salon’s Better Business Conference this past October, these salons have made some rewarding transformations.
Following in the footsteps of fellow salon owners can help your business grow by leaps and bounds—just ask Amber Muhammad, owner of Rasa Salon in Philadelphia, who made changes to her staff and customer service after American Salon’s Better Business Conference this past fall, where salon experts shared their secrets to success. “The conference made me realize we’re advanced in some areas, but need to catch up in others,” Muhammad says.
Taking a cue from successful husband/wife business partners that she spoke with at the conference, Muhammad hired her husband as salon manager and revamped her staff by adding an assistant to focus on amenities like serving customers tea. She also brought in a human resources specialist to update the procedures manual and salon handbook. “They talked a lot about consistency at the conference,” Muhammad says. “We wanted the procedures and handbook to be professionally done.” The receptionist was replaced and the salon may potentially have two salon coordinators to allow shorter shifts and prevent employees from burning out.
In refreshing the staff, Muhammad says her goal is to replace hobby hairdressers with those who are serious about their careers, and in turn enhance customer service. After running sales reports, Muhammad recalls she was shocked to learn her salon lost more clients than it gained. To turn things around, she created scripts for the receptionist, and requested that staff end all client conversations with “peace and blessings.” Rasa Salon employees now have weekly meetings and monthly performance reviews. “We’re trying to resculpt the salon staff,” she says.
To promote customer retention, Muhammad plans to increase client communication with postcards and rewards cards, as well as surveys that will be emailed to customers who haven’t returned within three months. “Emailing a survey will make it a little more anonymous,” she says. Also coming down the pipeline are staff classes focusing on sales techniques to grow salon profits and a contest for the most product sales. All the hard work seems to pay off, Muhammad says—salon sales doubled within the first week of implementing tactics she learned from the conference.
Tessie Guyer, owner of Touch of Paradise Salon & Spa in Fayetteville, PA, says she launched a rewards program for her staff after attending the conference; stylists earn rewards when persuading clients to try a new service or selling products, and Guyer provides guidance and quarterly targets. “I set up times with my stylists twice during the quarter to coach them and help them reach their goals,” she says.
After the Better Business Conference, Daniel Iannelli, owner of Daniel Iannelli Hair Design in Swarthmore, PA, updated his business plan and is also in the process of redesigning the salon’s website to make it more compatible with smartphones and other technology. With the new website, he’s also rebranding the salon as Iannelli Hair and hired a full-time social media manager. The new site will connect with social networking sites and also include before/after galleries of clients. “We’re applying all the relevant points shared at the important and informative conference to ensure our business grows and our brand is known and trusted,” Iannelli says. ✂ —Corie Russell