What’s the secret to consistent service and minimizing mistakes in your business?

April 4, 2014

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Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m always telling my salon teams that consistency is the key to improve overall customer service.   If we’re not consistent in everything we do, then the perceived value of what we provide diminishes at the same rate of inconsistency.
It’s like this.  Imagine going to a salon and getting an awesome cut and color, a complimentary stress relieving treatment, a hand massage during your blow dry, and a followup call after your visit.   Then on your return visit six weeks later, you got an awesome cut and color, but you didn’t get the complimentary stress relieving treatment but you did get the hand massage.  However, no one followed up after your salon visit to make sure you were happy with your experience.    What just happened in this scenario?   I’ll tell you what happened.  The salon provided you a five-star experience and basically took it away on the next visit without even realizing it.   Folks, this is not good.
I see this scenario play out over and over in salons that I coach.   I’ll even admit, that we even fall victim to these circumstances from time to time in our own salons.   So what measures can you take to minimize this problem from reoccurring?  The answer, my friends, is checklists!
In the book The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right  the author talks about how pilots use checklists before, during and after flights to manage the problem of extreme complexity when operating an aircraft.   Our businesses are no different.  To err is human and having a checklist system in place helps to keep costly mistakes from happening.
In our salons and spas, we use checklists in almost every department, and we use them every day!  Here are some examples:
(Daily) Store Opening Checklist
(Daily) Store Closing Checklist
(Daily) Hourly Scoreboard Checklist (We post our performance benchmarks hourly)
(Daily) Hourly Maintenance and Replenishment Checklist (restrooms stocked, beverage bar stocked, voicemail messages checked, warm towel cabi stocked)
(Monthly) Beginning of the month checklist (things that need to be done monthly)
(As needed) New Hire Checklist (ie. adding employee to various software applications, tax paperwork, etc.)
(As needed) Employee Termination Checklist (ie. removing employee from various software applications, forwarding address, etc.)
(Bi-weekly) Payroll Checklist (step by step checklist when running payroll, ie. which reports to run, journal entries to be made, 401k deposits to transfers, etc.)
These are just a few of the many checklists that we’ve created over the years. You may have your own checklists in your business.  If you don’t, I encourage you to think about all of the repetitive tasks that you or your employees perform daily, weekly, monthly or even as needed.   Having checklists will not only make the task of training new hires easier; it will also help you become more consistent in your effort to provide better internal operational efficiencies and eliminate mistakes.
What are some the checklists that you use in your business to create consistency and eliminate mistakes?

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Located in Austin, Texas.

Chris Murphy