As the economy heads relentlessly deeper into recession, competition for business in the service industry such as the hair and beauty business is intensifying. And with recent research stating that customers would be more likely to return to a salon if they felt welcomed and valued, customer service guru Julie Eldrett is warning businesses to get their houses in order.

“The Hair and Beauty Business is all about people. You need to know how to get the best from your people and know how to choose and develop a winning team to deliver your brand promise and surpass customer’s expectations. It all starts with the owner/manager and whether they have a vision or goal,” explained Julie Eldrett.

“It’s not just the credit crunch that’s making times harder in the high street, competition is increasing for everyone and the customer is truly ‘king’ if you want to stay in business. That means having the right people in the right jobs delivering great customer service. An awkward customer may ruin your day but employing the wrong team will ruin your business.”

Julie Eldrett has over 39 years experience in the hair and beauty industry. A former successful salon owner, she now advises many of the best known names in the business including L’Oreal, Saks Hair & Beauty, Toni & Guy and Daniel Galvin amongst others throughout Britain, Europe and India on customer experience and frontline service delivery.

“The biggest challenge facing salon owners is that they are very creative people with exceptional technical skills. However, this is not enough to make a salon successful. Without the right team in support no business will survive and choosing the right people with the right attitude and getting the most out of them is a quite separate skill. A good team needs a wide range of people to make it work.” says Julie.

“The salon should be treated as a stage with everyone in costume and character and performing properly as approachable and knowledgeable professionals. The customer is there for your help. Yes we all have problems in real life but the customer is paying us to make them feel better. Positivity spreads from team to customers and back again – that’s the professional approach.”

“But this alone is not enough to make the business succeed if no one is monitoring the performance of the salon closely. Who is spending the time on assessing average bills, which hairdressers are getting the most repeat customers, who is looking after the team’s development? These are real issues. One salon I looked at spent more on loo rolls per month than on team training!”

Julie admits that finding the right people for the right roles is perhaps every salon owner’s greatest challenge but fortunately today there’s help at hand in the form of low cost psychometric profiling.

Already used by over 65% of UK businesses, psychometric profiling traditionally was only a solution for those that could afford it and even then they tended to restrict it to senior executives because of the cost. But then along came the internet which has crushed the cost, providing instant online delivery for the price of a decent lunch.

“Salon owners no longer have to struggle with deciphering the personality of the person they see before them in an interview,” explained Julie. “Using PeopleMaps profiling you can now identify the people who are a natural fit for the roles you are recruiting for.”

In a nutshell, psychometric profiling gives an employer a snapshot view of the preferred behaviour that comes subconsciously to most people. This is the behaviour with which they are ‘comfortable’ and can sustain for long periods of time. This behaviour is social and intellectual and governs the nature, the work environment and, for the individual, their job satisfaction.  

“I advise the companies I work with to use the PeopleMaps online profiler because it’s fast, accurate and very low cost. I use it myself in my own business, where there are things that I know I naturally don’t enjoy like sorting out the intricate details of travel arrangements or credit control. My team is made up of people who thrive on the things I hate and vice versa, that’s what makes my business run well,” said Julie.

Profiling is no longer as generic as it used to be. The PeopleMaps service has reports designed specifically by working with Julie over the past few years for the service sector and it pays for itself as it reduces the likelihood of training the wrong people who then up and leave afterwards, which is no good for your customers or your business.

“The customer is the most important person in any business and we need to understand them. For instance, In a recent poll one of the most hated questions by customers visiting a salon was “what are we doing to your hair today?” Team members with emotional intelligence will help your salon deliver great customer service and the right support team will help make it profitable too. This, in turn, will help you steer your salon away from the bumpy times ahead.

“All you need is the right people doing the right job with the right attitude.” concluded Julie.