Saturday, 22 August 2015

Mystery Shopping A Salon

I signed up to a mystery shopping company a while ago but none of the assignments they had available were anything that suited or interested me.  I had read a follower had been talking quite a lot about mystery shopping her salon in a Facebook group so I volunteered to do it.  I suppose in my mind, there's no other person to check that the therapist is following their training than another therapist, I'm trained for most skills so I have knowledge about what should and shouldn't be happening, even if the training they received is a little different.

The truth is, we would like to think that clients aren't being swindled out of the full treatment and that the training the therapist received means that they do things to the book but this isn't always the case.  As you gain more experience you may realize that certain steps can be easier if you do things a different way  around.  In college the tutor reassured us that if we accidentally got confused with the steps of a manicure, the client didn't know any different and to carry on.  This is good advice to stop nerves but on the flip side it shouldn't be taken advantage of either.

I arranged with the salon owner to phone at a specific time of day as she knew who would be available to answer and wanted feedback on it.  Of course the phonecall is really important as it gives the initial impression of the company.  I know that I have an advantage with this because I worked for over ten years in customer services on phones so I was trained as to how to speak, how to mirror the clients tone and learning soft skills as well as not leaving large gaps whilst your speaking which can make you sound like you're unsure.  

I understand that if you've only worked in a salon environment then you won't necessarily have this training or experience but I'll run through some things that I have said to the salon owner and perhaps may be something you might want to consider for your own salon policies.  The last thing you want is for your client to get off the phone and think 'Hmmm I'm not going there.'
  • Once you find out the clients name, use it again in the call, it makes them feel valued.  It could be something like "So did you want CND Shellac with your pedicure Nicola?"
  • Sound enthusiastic about their appointment, I don't mean go over the top like an excited puppy but even just "oh you'll love your luxury facial as we've brought in this amazing moisture mask and it smells like oranges"
  • If you have to have a gap in the conversation if you're checking something, keep the client informed.  I would probably say don't leave it longer than around 20 seconds without saying something, even if it's just "oh I'm sorry about this, the computer is just taking a minute to show me the available dates."  
  • Make sure you sound confident to the client and speak clearly.  If you sound unsure, they will leave the phonecall unsure that you have everything under control.  
  • Close the call in a friendly, enthusiastic way, you want the client to put the phone down thinking "oh I can't wait for my appointment, they sound lovely."  You might want to say something along the lines of "we shall look forward to see you Nicola on the 29th September at 10.30am for your luxury pedicure!"
The therapist I spoke to  on the phone at this salon was actually the same therapist that was carrying out one of my treatments.  When I spoke to her on the phone she was quiet and answered in short sentences, literally just "yes" at one point however in person we had a giggle. From the phonecall alone it's a shame that her personality didn't shine through as I couldn't have felt more welcome when I was actually there. 

When I got to the salon (which I hadn't been to before) all staff were dressed smartly with an overall tidy appearance.  I feel like this makes such a difference.  Although I work from home and only with my existing clients, I personally do wear a uniform.  

The salon itself was extremely tidy and clean.  Everything had its place and I liked that as it was clutter free and very relaxing.  The floor was tiled and virtually gleaming so from a hygiene point of view, this was good to see.  Staying with the hygiene topic, the therapist also dispensed her products from the tubs using a spatula which is how I was trained.  To me this is standard practice but unfortunately I realise that it will not be globally at the same standard.
I had a neck, shoulders and back massage and a luxury pedicure.  I wont go into too much detail of what I said in regards to the therapist but there were a few things that I noticed were things such as a top coat being used as a base coat.  All of this was noted to be fed back.  

I also made a couple of suggestions of tools that I felt they could invest in to offer the best results and even a piece of inexpensive equipment that they hadn't seen before (and speaking to other therapists, they werent trained to use them) that would just make their pedicures more comfortable.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this little bit of undercover work.  Since I'm not actively on photographs I can go undetected although the staff were aware that someone would be visiting within the month.  I think it's definitely worth doing so that you can truly find out how the average client is made feels about the service you offer.  Also if the client doesn't return, it may give you an idea of why the business could have been lost.

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