In 1942, right after we got into WWII, the German’s submarines (U-Boats) were sinking tons of our ships – right off our coast line – sending men and materiel to the bottom of the sea.
Our country was filled with enemy agents (and sympathizers) who were trained to gather information from innocent US citizens.
To heighten our awareness the War Advertising Council created the famous wartime slogan: Loose Lips Sink Ships
Then, to make sure the “word got out” US Office of War Information plastered posters all around the country.
We both know your salon is not at war. But it is battling for business.
It’s a day-in, day-out business battle. It’s the battle for:
Finding and keeping the “right” clients.
And just like in WWII, where an unsuspecting American could be lured into saying something to someone – and the next thing you know another ship goes to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean –
A team member’s talk could torpedo your salon’s Yelp ratings or create bad word of mouth.
How’s that possible?
Let’s say a client or prospective client hear chatter – and misinterprets that chatter.
Communication is not just what we say but what a client hears.
Just imagine if you’re behind the desk and you’re talking with another team member about who gets the credit for a retail sale.
And the next thing you see is that your salon got a one-star review on Yelp because of something you said about retail.
Here’s a specific example of that.
So what do you do?
Here are three things you need to do to right the ship:
#1 – Quickly respond to the review. Quickly means within 12 hours.
Do it with grace and elegance. Sound apologetic, but at the same time protective of your salon.
An aggressive response is a BIG NO NO!
Whatever you do, do not sound aggressive.
Here’s how the owner, whose salon got that review responded to it.
Dear Ms. Client,
It appears as if there was some confusion on our behalf and I’m very sorry that we gave the wrong impression to you about us.
Just so you know, we agree with you about the traditional “commission based” retail reward system causing uncomfortable and unnecessary moments for you.
It’s precisely for that reason that we “converted” to a “team-based” rewards system for the front desk.
In other words, it does not matter under whose register key the sales are rung up.
I encourage you to give us another try. I guarantee that you’ll love our salon.
Cell # (if you want)
While I recommend you make it personal by adding the info above, you don’t have to
#2 – Speak to your team members and share exactly what happened that prompted the Yelp review in the first place.
Remind them how important good online reviews are, and how a bad review, even if it’s not true, can take its toll – both in terms of management time as well as lost prospects etc.
#3 – Ask them what they think they can do to prevent reviews like this one from happening again.
They’re adults – they’ll tell you.
Remember – if the solution comes from them they have an investment in the outcome.
Just like we had to protect our people and material during wartime, you have to protect your salon business and reputation – all the time.
- Focus on Facebook
Yes there are other social media platforms that you can use besides Facebook – but focusing on one (in this case Facebook) will help you crush your competition (they’re sure to be spread all over the place).
- Optimize Your Salon’s Facebook Profile
To be sure that you’ve optimized your Facebook profile follow Facebook’s Instructions to a tee.
- Communicate Your Salon’s Personality
You and your salon are unique. Find your salon’s personality (your uniqueness) and communicate it on your page.
- Build a Strong Fan Base
It’s quality over quantity. There is no “magic” number for your fan base. So matter what the number of fans you have be sure they’re “quality” fans- the strength of your fan base resides in how often they comment on your posts or interact on your tabbed pages in some way.
- Create Engaging Content
Content is what attracts and keeps your fans – so keep it flowing. BTW if you’re struggling to create original content it’s all right to be a copycat – so check out what’s working for your competitors.
- Measure and Analyze What’s Working
Just like any other part of your business you’ll need to measure. So measure the basics (audience size and activity level) as well as engagement and other metrics – after all you have to prove to yourself that this is what is working.
- Integrate Facebook with Your Other Salon Marketing Efforts
Marketing on the social networks is one part of your salon’s marketing (e-mail, in-salon promotions etc.). Make sure your image (branding) and messaging is consistent throughout all your marketing.
In marketing “God lives in the details”.
The same holds true in running a successful salon.
And top-tier salon owners know it.
They realize that the journey is more than their stylists’ giving a great cut or color – it’s each and every “moment of truth” where the client is impacted (from the greeting to the check-out and follow-up) that makes up a client’s experience of the salon.
And it’s the client’s “memory” of the salon (the good as well as the bad) that determines whether or not she comes back again – and what story she tells – to herself and to others.
Your salon story is in your client’s brain.
In the recesses of our brain there’s a region called the medial temporal lobe – an area crucial for our memory formation.
And in that region, our brain’s neurons (brain cells specialized to transmit information throughout the body) think microchips of a computer – process information.
It’s been assumed that our five senses (taste, sight, smell, sound and touch) were responsible for creating our picture of the world – for creating our memory.
However recently, when Caltech scientists, conducted an experiment using very precise electrodes to record the firing patterns of individual neurons that assumption has been turned on its head.
Why? Because in that experiment, where participants were shown hundreds of pictures of people, animals and buildings – certain neurons were consistently fired in response to a certain person.
Certain neurons were fired in response to pictures of
Bill Clinton, Michael Jordon and Jennifer Aniston.
You could hear only crickets from pictures of Julia Roberts
The so-call Jennifer Aniston neuron fired in response to lots of different photographs of her – yet were silent in response to shots of other personalities like Julia Roberts.
So we now know that our brains neurons not only acquire information through the five senses but also can find patterns, make judgments and contemplate decisions.
Recently researchers conducted a similar experiment with other celebrities.
In one trial, volunteers were exposed to the concept of “Luke Skywalker” – using completely different representations (pictures of Mark Hamill, the written words “Luke Skywalker” and even the character’s spoken name) – representations that are dependent on separate brain pathways.
The result? The same set of neurons was exclusively activated by all three representations – yet Leonardo DeCaprio and other celebrities couldn’t activate the “Luke Skywalker” Neuron.
Not surprisingly Yoda’s picture fired the “Luke Skywalker” Neuron too!
And those memories had people rushing to see Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens – to the tune of $2 billion+ in worldwide box-office sales.
How our Brains are Wired
While our brains compile an immeasurable amount of information (they’re wired to analyze five simultaneous sensory streams – each with a different circuit) – at the end of the day, as scientists have discovered – there’s a system to construct concepts and build meaning from all that onslaught of information.
Leave the right salon story in your clients’ minds
You can positively impact your salon’s story – the one you want your client to have in her mind.
How do you do that?
First by mapping out her journey as it presently exists, (warts and all) and then mapping out the journey, as you’d want it to be.
The difference between the two journeys is called “the gap”. And once you see the gap you can start to fill it step by step – so you can fire off your salon’s neuron in your client’s brain.
To help you do this download this FREE Customer Journey Template – make two copies and “get to work”!
(This article was inspired by a New York Post article, written by Eliezer Sternberg author of “Neurologic: The Brain’s Hidden Rationale Behind our Irrational Behavior” to read more click here.
Stanley Marcus – founder of legendary specialty store Neiman Marcus , wrote a book titled “Who’s Minding The Store?”
It’s a must read book for any salon owner -especially those who are involved with today’s luxury client.
And I think the top brass at Neiman Marcus (owners of Berdorf Gooman) if they haven’t read the book should – as well as make it required reading for every associate.
Because today’s retailers (including salons) have to be better than ever when it comes to every aspect of business.
So last week when I walked into Bergdorf Goodman – New York City’s iconic specialty store for women – to check out the recently renovated ground floor jewelry department floor, I was stunned.
While the renovation was gorgeous- it was a perfect showcase for the jewelry that’s worth millions – yet the people who were selling it didn’t look like a million dollars.
They weren’t wearing uniforms – so left to their own devices the sales help wore what they thought was appropriate – and while some of them at least looked neat and clean others left a lot to be desired.
And as if how the people looked wasn’t enough I couldn’t help but notice a large tissue that someone had dropped, on the gorgeous marble floor – right under one of the jewelry counters.
It registered with me but heck people drop things on floors all the time so it’s not indicative of how the store’s floor is being run.
I hopped upstairs to look at the rest of the store – and returned forty-five minutes later to the to the jewelry department, from where I’d exit the store.
As I pushed the door open, I glanced back at and lo and behold, lying on the floor, exactly where it had been earlier was the same piece of tissue.
All I could think of was “Who’s Minding the Store?”
It’s no secret – toxic people in your salon not only
destroy morale and cause good employees to leave, they eventually even kill your business.
So exactly what is a “toxic worker”?
“It’s someone who engages in behavior that is harmful to an organization.” — Harvard Business School
And toxic workers are a particular threat to small business (like salons).
“The more intimate the workplace, the faster the negative interpersonal issues can spread. Workplace conflicts and decreased morale can disrupt productivity, alienate workers and have catastrophic effects on your employee retention efforts” according to blog postings by Accountemps.
Toxic workers can cost your salon its reputation as well as putting a drag on your profits.
Pinpointing Toxic Workers
So how can you identify a toxic worker?
Just like Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein, the reporters who blew the Watergate Scandal wide open by “following the money”; you just “follow the behavior”
By following the behavior you can pinpoint the “5 types of Toxic Workers”
- Gossip-mongers: They spread fear-spouting hearsay
- Big Bullies: These employees repeatedly put others down by humiliating them
- Saboteurs Extraordinaire: These are people trying to gain advantage by hurting fellow workers.
- Spotlight Stealers: They take credit for others’ work and hoard the limelight in team projects.
- Chronic Complainers: These are people who are continually complaining about co-workers, clients or working conditions.
And what happens when a toxic worker happens to be a “superstar” stylist?
When a toxic worker happens to be a “superstar” stylist you have a tough problem on your hands. Ultimately it comes down to the owner having to “bite the bullet” by getting rid of them.
Yes, it’s easier said than done. Especially when that person is holding you hostage with their “big book”.
But the Harvard Study shows that over time your company is better off without them.
One of my mentors, hairstylist/entrepreneur Jean Louis David once said to me when we were talking about this topic.
“Andrew, I’d rather cut off my arm, than lose my life”
And while that may cause collateral damage to your salon in the short run, keeping them on-board (as the numbers in the Harvard Study indicate) only allows the gangrene to spread – and never allows your company to become healthy.
Most salons keep the person on – hoping that things will change
Keep your Salon Toxic-Free
Here are three ways to keep your salon toxic-free.
- Don’t hire the toxic workers in the first place.
- Have periodic “career conversations” with your team members – to get a pulse on the workplace
- Hold regular performance reviews (the more frequent the better)
By keeping your salon toxic – free you’ll be able to keep morale high, keep good employees longer and build a more profitable salon.