It’s December and official the month to party courtesy weddings and social events. While customers are making a beeline to salons to look their best, the latter are getting geared up to meet the rush, increased demand and cancellations too. Managing a salon at this time of the year naturally has its own challenges. So how are salons gearing up?
Handling large volumes of clients is not an easy task as things can go awry as well. Likewise there is more pressure to maintain the quality standards to keep customer’s happy too. Beauty Expert Shahnaz Husain opines, “we announce our special packages and start taking bookings well in advance. Preference is given to regular clients, who may be using our loyalty cards. Our front desk / reception staff and well trained to deal with bookings and cancellations, if any. Even when the appointment is given well in advance, the bookings are confirmed again about a week in advance. They may call again to confirm, the day before the appointment. However, I am not in favour of any strict cancellation policy. All clients are valued and if there is a valid reason, one has to usually overlook it. Our staff may also be working overtime during the busy season.” Celebrity Hair Expert Niell Talwar, Star Salon adds, “we train our team, months before the wedding season in latest makeup and hair styling trends. Selective recruitment of talent also adds to the creative team strength. But education is the backbone of hair and makeup department. In wedding season, all makeup sessions are booked accepting a booking advance. Hence clients are discouraged to cancel their bookings. But, still if there is cancellation, we try to fill that spot with another makeup booking.”
Giving clients with an uncompromised experience even during peak seasons is of paramount importance. “Our approach to heightened demand is multi fold, where technology, processes and training come together. Our fail-safe system of appointment scheduling by our salon managers and front-desk allows us to stay a step ahead in terms of estimating demand. Our staff are trained with an SOP (standard operating procedure) that is meticulously detailed by industry experts such that every service is conducted and completed efficiently. Our point of sale is built such that there is swift billing and no delays for the customer. Our salons span across 1200 sq. ft equipped with facilities, which gives us the capacity to seamlessly accommodate peak season requests,” opines Deepak Praveen – COO, Green Trends Unisex Hair and Style Salon. Manjul Gupta, Founder of Bodycraft Salon & Spa adds, “we have a never say no for an appointment which gets tough to ensure during the festive and party season. We ensure the same with a few internal SOP’S in place. We always ensure the staff strength is not compromised. We also ensure that we reconfirm the client appointment to understand if the client is going to be on time for their service appointment. We also have a resource allocation team which constantly monitors client “no show” or delay, so we can attend to the walk-ins and the other clients who want an appointment.” Floor managers and resource managers play very vital role in ensuring optimization of time, effort and staff. The ideal scenario is to be ready for the appointment client and to be able to accommodate the walk-in clients with in the delays by appointment clients and the available resources.
This is also the time for salons to optimise time, effort and staff so that they can manage the clients and give them a good experience. “I believe in placing more importance on the quality of treatments we offer to our clientele, rather than a quick turnover of clients to increase revenue. That is why we take on the number of clients that can be managed qualitatively in the given time. I also lay a great deal of emphasis on the selection and training of our beauty therapists and instil in them the qualities of optimum effort and dedication to our values and principles. Time has to be allocated to each treatment properly. In other words, time management is important and over the last so many years, we have perfected that. We are open 7 days a week and that is an advantage,” says Hussain. “To optimize time effort and staff we have dedicated teams catering to each salon. Each salon has its dedicated artists in all makeup and hair categories. Any time that we don’t have client bookings, is planned for training and education of team. Hence, we are constantly growing and improving professionally. Staff optimization is done by training them in more than one department. So, each makeup artist knows hairdos as well,” adds Talwar.
Party season is during winter and most people face skin and hair care challenges in terms of dry and dull skin and hair. Naturally salons will need to address this as well. Also salon industry is growing and becoming more competitive every day. Price competition and unreasonable discount practice is followed by salons, trying to attract maximum clients on basis of low prices. The other challenge is staff hunting by other salons which can cause a sudden dip in available man power that needs to be attended to. Hygiene, hospitality and quality of service are vital elements of the customer experience in totality and require personal and dedicated attention of the non service staff as well. Hence training all staff to ensure the customer has the best possible experience at the salon is key. Throwing light on the challenges, Dr Megha Shah, Cosmetologist, Beauty & Curves Clinic says, “the biggest challenge is to complete our work before the client gets engaged into the final wedding preparations and pre wedding rituals. Moreover, managing the coordination with every family member and their needs is also a great challenge. Our treatments are delivered with North American Venus Concept equipment. The challenge is to have a working machine all the time. This challenge is met with a unique backup and service agreement with Venus Concept which keeps our machines in the working condition with 100% effectiveness.”
This story appeared in the Dec-2016 issue of Style Speak here: Preparing for party