Why Happy Salon Employees Make for Happy Clients

By Liz McKeon, Salon Business Expert and Founder of the International Salon Business School

Most business owners would agree that the key to a salon’s success is an on-going steady stream of happy clients, willing to pay for your services and products, happy to return again and again, plus getting you hot referrals from their friends and families.

Happy salon employees

The key to achieving happy customers is to focus on employee happiness first.  It is simple; happier employees make happier customers which will have a direct impact on revenue.  Staff who are totally engaged will automatically build better customer relationships because they provide outstanding customer service.

Steps to build a more employee-focused culture:

  • Offer more meaningful employee development:  Staff want to feel there is opportunity for advancement within the business they work for.  Let them know their options and how they can get there.  If they feel there have a solid career path ahead of them, they will be more inclined to provide great service to clients, knowing it will also benefit their long-term goals.
  • Make training part of the company culture:  Employees want to gain new skills that will make them more successful in current positions, more on trend and potentially lead to advancement.  Provide on-going training and coaching that teaches employees new skills, because these skills will ultimately shine through in customer interactions.  Vary your range of training and don’t limit this to just technical work.  Include on-going customer services, sales, personal development and wellness topics.
  • Continually show employees they are supported:  Interaction between management and employees is key to compounding the lessons learnt at training.  A combination of on-going praise and feedback are critical to team members feeling positive about the difference they are making on the salon floor.  Good managers who create a healthy, caring and supportive work environment will help cultivate a more inter-dependent team environment.
  • What’s your company policy about ‘fun at work’?  Research shows that a workplace that is seen as fun-loving generates enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm leads to increased productivity, better customer service, a positive attitude and significantly higher odds that your talented stars will stay.  Most people want to have some light moments at work.  A boring, humourless and too serious work environment could send your star players searching for a better workplace option at which to spend the majority of their waking hours.  So, as you think about the pleasant and enjoyable workplace that you have the power to shape, ask your staff what would make work more fun for them.  While employees seem to greatly appreciate being treated to elaborate outings, most report that it is day to day work environment that matters most to them – it simply has to be enjoyable.
  • Give rewards and recognition:  Following on from creating a fun work environment, it is also important to recognise employees for a job well done.  A rewards programme where management recognise top employees can also foster a culture to camaraderie.  Rewarding strong employees for outstanding reviews and customer service interactions will set an example for the team and, hopefully inspire them to go the extra mile in providing improved customer service with the clients they engage with.

Put words into action

Creating a happy culture on the salon floor takes time, energy and effort on the salon owner’s part.  Therefore, deliberately set and implement structure in your salon to facilitate the standards you aspire to:

Be seen to recognise the importance of workplace health and wellbeing among the all team members.

Train salon managers, team leaders and supervisors to manage people very well.  Salon managers are key to employee wellbeing and should ensure people’s workloads are manageable.  It is important they provide clear objectives and give constructive feedback, as part of a trust-based relationship with the team.  They should have the confidence to have difficult and sensitive conversations with people and offer support and flexibility if a team member needs adjustments to help manage their health and work.

Provide early access to specialist sources of help such as counselling or occupational health support.  (Most small business HR companies will provide these services as part of their HR packages)  Foster a culture where people can ask for help if they need it.

Tailor policies and practices to the salon and employee needs.  There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to designing and effective employee wellbeing strategy – it will be based on the salon’s unique needs and the characteristics of the team.

If employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right, the outside world will use the salon’s services again and again, making the business successful.  Similarly, an unhappy employee could ruin the salon brand experience for not just one, but numerous clients, costing the business in so many ways.

The formula is simple and it works – happy employees equal happy clients!

To learn more on Liz McKeon, visit her website here.

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