In today's competitive salon industry, successful beauty businesses need to do much more than offer excellent services and products at a reasonable price. They need to deliver a differentiated customer experience along with their service and product offerings. However, differentiation is not simple. It requires a salon to execute on all dimensions of the customer experience: value, services, quality, and the right people to tie it all together - all the professionals within the business.
Engaged and motivated staff are at the heart of positive salon experiences—from how we greet customers when they walk through the door, to their consultation, to their service, to how they feel afterward and products they leave with. According to a recent customer experience survey, a staff of friendly, knowledgeable, and genuine employees is an essential element needed for a positive experience at any salon.
An employee's level of engagement heavily influences a customer's attitude toward the brand. We see it all too often when news of poor customer experiences in a salon spread virally across social platforms and through word-of-mouth, often prompting consumers to abandon a location or even a brand altogether. In contrast, positive interaction with an energized and engaged employee can turn a first-time customer into a lifelong client. A salon's commitment to employee engagement can have a considerable reach and strategic value, both as a driver of workplace satisfaction and as a profit-enabling initiative.
Salons seeking to improve employee engagement face a host of challenges and opportunities, including:
- How do they convert hourly workers into true brand ambassadors who actively "own" positive customer interactions?
- How can an owner create a culture amongst a leasing environment that clients can feel?
- How can they elicit the differentiating behaviors, attitudes, and interactions that imprint positivity given the challenges facing the beauty industry?
- Just as many salons are investing in the customer's digital experience, how can they choose digital investments that enhance employee training, processes, and overall experience?
These questions and concerns are significant drivers for a revised approach to talent strategy and employee engagement as salons seek a positively differentiated customer experience.
Winning salons are discovering that strategic employee engagement programs are the foundation for redefining and transforming the customer experience, driving brand loyalty, and growing their market share. It's becoming even more imperative for salons to create a parallel path to empower, train, and engage their employees, helping create the highest quality and most consistent customer experience possible!
Here are some tried, true, and tested elements to help drive employee and customer engagement:
Owners engagement's role in the employee value chain:
- Meaningful work- Autonomous, considered a specialist, small empowered teams, unstructured time.
- Supportive management- Clear & transparent goals, coaching, investment in developing employees, agile performance management.
- Positive work environment-Flexible work environment, humanistic workplace, a culture of recognition, fair, inclusive, diverse work environment.
- Growth opportunity- Training and support on the job, facilitated talent mobility, self-directed
dynamic learning, high-impact learning culture.
- Trust in leadership- Mission & purpose, continuous investment in people, transparency and honesty, and inspiration.
Employee engagement's role in the customer value chain:
- Appearance- A customer's introduction to a salon often starts with the appearance of its employees.
- Reliability- When there is a consistent knowledge standard across employees, customers can rely on any member of the salon team for support and answers to their questions.
- Ownership- Employees who can own the standards of the salon and the critical processes that impact the customer experience are crucial components of the customer value chain.
- Accountability- Whether it's an excellent or poor customer experience, the employee is the owner of the outcome. It is critical to creating an environment in which employees are prepared to be held accountable to brand standards and procedures.
- Authenticity -The way an employee authentically manages moments of recovery with a customer can directly translate into value recovery for the salon.
- Engagement- When you empower employees with the ability to directly engage with their workplace environment and make suggestions for improvement, leadership can create an atmosphere of participation and growth that is often quite tangible to the customer experience.
Today is all about the RELATIONSHIPS over services and cost to employees and clients. Obtaining an advantage in the salon marketplace is a critical driver for the changing nature of experiences across customers and employees. Enabling and achieving employee engagement is key to success on the journey to the desired customer experience!
Jacquelyn Fell, Regional Sales Manager