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How Facebook can literally WRECK your salon business! : Salon Business Articles
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How Facebook can literally WRECK your salon business!

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How Facebook can literally WRECK your salon business!

Postby chris the limey » 10 Oct 2010 11:00 pm

I heard from a salon owner friend of mine, who this week is wondering if they'll still have a salon to operate from next week. They are desperate. Facebook has finished them. Their business is wrecked. You best read this if you employ staff.

How Facebook wrecked one salon owner's business

I'm going to call this friend of mine "Penny". She has given me permission to share her story.

Now Penny, like many salon owners in their late 40's, isn't on Facebook. Her son has told her she should be on it, and he's even set up a profile, but she's yet to upload a photo or make her first wall post. It just all seems so strange and unnecessary. She's just about grasped email, and can make a basic Google search. She's been planning to go on a computer course for a few years, but she's too busy with clients to get around to it.

She hasn't got a huge salon. It's just her and a couple of stylists keeping a lot of clients very happy. Your average suburban salon set-up I guess, like the ones many of us have either worked in or owned before.

Around a year ago, Penny took on a new stylist who was really eager. A model employee. Someone who would help think of new ways to increase business, and despite their young age (20) was really motivated to do well. We'll call that stylist "Ruth".

It wasn't long, maybe 6 months, before Penny started complaining about Ruth to me. Not big things, but little things. Ruth had started asking for a payrise. Ruth had started pointing out little things such as "working without a proper lunch on a busy day in Christmas week" is actually considered illegal, according to her cousin who worked in a bank. Basically, Penny felt like Ruth was nitpicking at her, and not understanding the salon industry. Nonetheless though, Penny gave Ruth her pay-rise, and Penny made sure she marked out time in the columns for a full lunch each day etc. to keep her happy.

But the nitpicking didn't stop. The next target was the products used at the backwash. Penny was filling up the backwash bottles with the generic salon shampoo and conditioner for those clients who didn't buy retail, or the weekly regulars. Ruth pointed out that it made the salon feel "down-market" and that they should have the "proper shampoos and conditioners" for everybody.

Penny and Ruth had a serious falling out over which colour-line to use after a rep came in and left some tubes of hair colour on Penny's day off. Ruth had tried the colours, and preferred them to the brand Penny chose to use in the salon. She wouldn't accept that Penny didn't want to change colour lines.

As you can imagine, all of this nitpicking came to a head one day, and Ruth walked out.

Fast-forward 6 weeks, and I get a call from Penny who is concerned that business seems to be slowing down. Both she, and the remaining stylist are only half as booked as they used to be. She wondered if perhaps Ruth had been using that Facebook thing to contact the clients and do them herself? She asked me to investigate.

So I took down a list of missing client names, and agreed to look at Ruth's Facebook page as a favour (I was on her list of friends from month's before after a visit to Penny's salon).

What I saw next shocked me.

Sure enough, there were all of the clients that Penny had given me a list of, chatting away with Ruth on her Facebook page. "Hey Ruth, thanks for doing my hair on Saturday. I love it! Let me know if you get the job!"..."Hi Babes. My sis said you are a godsend. She loves it!" and general stuff like that.

As I got further down the list, and stepped further back in time though, I started reading messages like this: "Hey Tracey. You're booked in the salon with me on Saturday, but if you like, I can come round and do it half price on Friday night when I'm finished work". :o

By the end of reading these messages, here is what I gathered...Ruth had been slowly stealing the salon clients for the last 8 weeks of her employment there. Her walkout was also planned...("OMG. Can't wait for you to tell me what her face looks like. See you at mine later on. Can you do Debbie too?"), and now she was doing the clients herself whilst looking for other jobs.

I was about to log off, when I spotted a message from the remaining stylist to Ruth, "Did you ask them? What did they say?" and the reply, "Yeah. Said should be fine. Give them a call tomorrow". This was followed up by "Great. Can't wait to leave this place. All she does is slag you off."

:o

Turns out Penny's last remaining stylist had asked Ruth to get her a job in the new salon that Ruth was applying for.

Well, that was a few weeks ago, and the stylist has since gone, taking another bunch of clients with them. Ruth appears to have removed herself from Facebook, and Penny is seriously worried about the future of her business.

Don't let this happen to you

Years ago, it was a sackable offence if you caught a stylist offering to do a client at home, or offering their phone number. These days, numbers don't need to be exchanged. Clients and stylists can simply look for each other on Facebook, whether you like it or not.

You can't whine or moan about it, but you can "embrace the beast".

Get your salon on Facebook, and make sure that all of your stylists are "friends" of the salon page. Let them know that if any salon clients request their friendship on Facebook, that they should also suggest that the client become a friend of the main salon page in order to access special offers etc.

Let your staff know that under no circumstances should they take up the offer to do a salon client outside of the salon without checking with you first, otherwise it is a sackable offence. For example, we recently had a client who was ill and couldn't leave the house. She asked the stylist who usually does her hair if she could come around to the house and do it. The stylist checked back with us, and we agreed to mark out time in her column for the stylist to do a "home visit" on behalf of the salon.

Finally, make sure you're in touch with how your customers AND your staff feel about your business. Do the clients feel that your salon offers good value? Is the environment a relaxing one that they look forward to visiting? Do your staff feel happy at work? So happy that they wouldn't want to risk losing their position over doing a simple "foreigner"?

If any of your key staff feel unhappy at work, get it resolved immediately. If you cannot resolve it (perhaps they are asking too much), explain this to them and see if you both can compromise. If they can't...let them go. You'll both be happier in the long run, and someone else can service the clients.

Finally, with newer staff in particular, it might be worth checking their client retention a little more regularly to make sure there are no clients "going missing". If there are, you need to act fast. Check their Facebook and check with the client too. If needs be, give the client a call and ask them for some feedback about why they don't come to the salon any more. Show them you care...that you've noticed they no longer patronise your business, and offer them a freebie to sample your business again.

In 10 years time, Facebook will be replaced by something bigger, better and meaner, but in the meantime, you need to be bigger, better and meaner than Facebook. Always be one step ahead!
-----
I try to get online to answer forum posts at least once per day. If I miss your post, let me know. :)
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Re: How Facebook can literally WRECK your salon business!

Postby SYL » 12 Oct 2010 01:12 am

Thanks, good info Chris.
Guess that's why so many business's are hiring public profile managers.
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Re: How Facebook can literally WRECK your salon business!

Postby HairdresserWebsmiths » 24 Nov 2010 04:03 pm

Scary story.

What legal recourse would your friend have if you took a screenshot of the "conversations" of the stylist with the then clients?

Facebook should indeed be on the list of social websites hairdressers should have a profile on and friend-request their clients by offering them a discount next time they're in.
Website design and internet marketing for hairdressers and hair salons.
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Re: How Facebook can literally WRECK your salon business!

Postby presotto » 25 Nov 2010 01:46 am

Yes any online presence can be both good and bad. It depends on how it is managed.
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