The Experience

August 24, 2009

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I have a friend and fellow entrepreneur that once told me when it comes to going to a salon, it’s important that the stylist get the cut and/or color right every time. Because if you don’t get that part down, then it all stops there. You can forget about everything else. However, when you consistently get the right cut and/or color, then it becomes about everything else, the experience.

That conversation has stuck with me ever since. Salons throw the word “experience” around like nobody’s business these days. “We charge higher prices because our clients pay for the experience, not just the cut or color.” Or, “Our clients come to us because of our great salon experience.” What the heck does that mean? Every salon has their own version of “doing things”. All of these different things make up the salon experience and many salon owners have no clue what clients are paying attention to.

At Maximum FX, it all starts with the initial point of contact, whether it be by phone, or online. How our Guest Care Coordinators greet our clients is important, right down to the verbage that’s used, the tone, and inflection in their voices. In training, we often tell our new team members to “smile through the phone!” How our clients are greeted once they arrive to the salon is another crucial point of contact with our guests. We have the two second rule. That simply means when a client walks in the door, we have two seconds to acknowledge, smile, and warmly greet the client. How many times have you gone to a salon where it seems as though you’re invisible? Fifteen minutes into your appointment you have to remind the guest care coordinator that you’re there and suddenly they run back to grab your stylist!

Next we offer, with each and every visit, a complimentary stress relieving treatment, at no extra cost, and communicate that to the stylist before we get started with the scheduled service(s). After a thorough consultation, we begin the service ritual with a relaxing scalp massage and a stress relieving shampoo. (Our stress relieving treatments are performed in the shampoo area as well) In an effort to help our clients relax while they’re with us, we also incorporate a relaxing hand massage while their hair is blown dry. Every effort is made to expedite the check out process by offering to reserve the next appointment while our guests are in the salon chair. And lastly, we finish off the service with a quick makeup touch up, again, in the chair before we escort our guest to the front.

We’re often times asked by other salon owners (and clients) how we’re able to incorporate so much into the salon visit, and more importantly, how do we consistently deliver all of these extras to every guest, each and every time? Well, it’s quite simple. It’s a little bit of the following three: culture, accountability, and systems. As a team-based business, we’ve spent the last three years cultivating and re-engineering our salon culture to a point that all of our team members understand the importance of team service. Regardless of who’s the primary service provider, our team understands that everyone is responsible for taking care of the guest. Period. From the guest care coordinators to the salon interns. You have to have a culture and a mix of team members that share the salon’s vision of team service. You gotta have the right team members on the bus! Accountability is key. We have to hold each other accountable to the commitment we’ve made to our clients. Everyone is responsible. It’s that simple. Finally, (and we’re often criticized by former team members on this one) is systems. No matter how much you fight it, systems create the foundation and the support to create consistency. And we’ve learned a thing our two about consistency over the years. Consistency breeds loyalty. We like to think that a little bit of structure and support allows us to be more creative and client-focused than ever before! How many times have you gone to a salon that’s just filthy? How much do you wanna bet that there was no system around who was going to do what in order to ensure that their salon guests were walking into a sparkling clean salon.

At the end of the day, we all like to think that we provide superior salon and spa experiences for our guests. But the two questions we salon owners have to ask ourselves is this, “Would we pay full price for salon services in our salons? And is the price worth the experience?” My answer would be “Yes and Yes”.

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Located in Austin, Texas.

Chris Murphy