We had a great article from John Formica, the ex-Disney guy a couple of weeks ago, and it reminded many of us the importance of great or exceptional customer service and just how far a smile goes. It also brings home the idea that many of us forget that our number one customer isn’t really the client but…our employees!! After all, if our employees are treated well and are happy, they are the ones that present the face of our business to the client. It’s like that old marriage saying, “A happy wife is a happy life!”  The same rings true with our business;  a happy employee is a happy business.

How do we make our employees happy? It is true that we can’t make them be happy, that is their own responsibility. Our constant reminder is always, “you can’t manage people, you can only manage systems.”  However, that means that once we have our systems in place, how do we step up to the plate and make it possible for our people to have a great experience working with us.

The first thing on our list is giving our staff the same experience in the salon that we want our clients to experience. We often assume that our staff know what to do when clients are in the salon, but let’s face it, we all know what happens when we assume! We have to go through the client experience with first-hand knowledge. Make your staff the client – particularly when they are first hired. Give them the gold class treatment you would give the client. How can someone who has never experienced a facial or a pedicure speak knowledgeably if they haven’t tried it?

Find out how your staff likes to be rewarded. When you are doing employee surveys get some input. Some people like to be rewarded publicly and some want it in private. More often than not, it is the small things and the small pats on the back that make a staff member’s day.

You have heard us many times speak about taking the negatives out of your language and here’s the perfect opportunity – when you see a great service performance, give a thumbs up or pat on the back or a high-five. You may be surprised at how far your recognition of that service provider goes. It always behooves us to reward the team as a whole – what about bringing in lunch for everyone once in a while. The next point in developing staff is that what gets rewarded gets repeated. In other words, reward someone for a specific behavior and they will repeat that behavior over and over again.

Rewards can be as simple as the recognition we spoke of, to monetary benefits, gift certificates, products, or something personal that shows you have put some thought into that particular person. Take an interest in your employees and let them know you understand their goals and aspirations. Let them know that you appreciate their dedication even in the midst of personal problems.

Give your staff an opportunity to be heard. Sometimes it is as simple as being able to voice an opinion or knowing that someone else has heard you. We owe our staff our respect and acknowledgement.

Sarcasm is a dangerous and ugly weapon to keep in your management arsenal, eliminate it from your staff communications.

Above all else, people live up to our expectations – if you expect great things from your staff then that is what you will get! Let them know you believe in them. Your gift will be reciprocity – what you put out, you get back!