The wild card in the beauty industry has always been the human element. It is the biggest hurdle to expanding from a few salons to hundreds. One off-the-cuff remark to a client or a bad choice by a mediocre manager and the business could face a huge setback, with any opportunity to grow put on hold. The larger the company the less control the owner or senior managers have and the easier it is for human error to creep in.
You can’t guard completely against errant behavior but you can set clear parameters which your teams must aspire to. Expectations lead behaviors, not the other way around. It’s not rocket science and most salons will have standards that are drilled into the team from induction onwards.
However, the challenge is creating measurements that demonstrate clearly to management and individuals whether the individual is living up to those expectations and behaviors. These measurements must be transparent and definitive. Too often salons will reward a ‘positive attitude’ or some other nebulous metric, too often a subjective choice based on whether or not the person rewarding likes the one being rewarded. It is counterproductive. Parameters must be simple to understand. If a stylist has a positive attitude, she’ll be liked by clients and they’ll ask for her again. Simple.
At Gene Juarez, we use a narrow set of criteria that are easily measured:
- Clients per available hours
- Request and rebooking rates
- Overall volume
- PPC – products per client
From these five simple measurements we can tell instantly if a team member is living up to our expectations. We don’t need anything more. In fact, to expand the set of criteria can be detrimental; too much data can lead to paralysis. It’s a case of balancing the skills of the manager or owner so the data is enough to drill into without being overwhelming.
Our criteria are specific and constant across all 10 Gene Juarez locations, giving us data to compare, not just within in each salon but across the company. We can tell who are the fastest workers by checking clients per available hours. We can gauge retailing skills and watch for successful up-selling. But it isn’t all about how much money the staffer brings in, it’s also looking for clues about behavior. We can see if clients like the stylist or therapist by checking rebooking and request rates, the latter suggesting clients are recommending the individual to her friends. If no one is coming back or asking for her, that’s a clear sign there is something wrong.
We can’t ever rule out the wild card, but data is helping us manage it more effectively.