“Is your salon business CONGRUENT” Online forums are wonderful things to browse around picking up useful bits of information here and there. But no matter what information you glean, it’s completely worthless unless you implement it, or put it to use in some way.
On one forum today I noticed a salon owner asking opinions on whether staff ‘should be allowed to wear facial piercings‘… and that led me to wonder about the whole issue of something called ‘congruency‘…. the ‘quality or state of agreeing or corresponding’ – in relation to business, marketing & sales.
In my home town there’s a famous old-fashioned car dealer, one of the biggest and most successful in Australia. John Hughes is well into his seventies, absolutely loves his job, and has some policies that younger people might find more appropriate to the nineteen fifties.
For example, John refuses to allow his salesmen to wear their sunglasses perched on top of their heads. He believes such habits only confirm the entrenched public opinion about car salesmen being hucksters. It’s not congruent with his decades-long drive to establish his brand as trustworthy.
When you go to visit your accountant, you’d find it incongruent to see him and his staff wandering around the office in board shorts and T-shirts – yet completely correct for the staff of a theme park to be so attired.
Would staff with facial piercings be appropriate for a high-end day spa in a 5-star hotel? Probably not. In a tattoo parlour? Absolutely. Would hair stylists dressed as though they’re about to go nightclubbing be congruent with a salon that brands itself as a rock ‘n roll ‘destination’? Naturally.
(And there’s a major difference between hiring an employee who is merely competent, and one who is congruent with the business.)
You have to be aware of what ‘fits’, and what doesn’t. Do you market yourself as super-sophisticated venue yet your location, fixtures and fittings let you down? Or you have a brothel on one side and a lumber yard on the other?
At the other end of the scale, there seems little to recommend being ‘cheap and cheerful’ – no appointments necessary, bare-bones prices, second-hand furniture – and at the same time insisting on a website that screams Million Dollar Salon.
Here’s a checklist:
- What’s the essential message you want to convey to clients and prospects – Calmness? Efficiency? Glitz and Glam? Fun?
- If it’s ‘Efficiency’ for example, are you always on time? Is your welcome procedure always the same? Do your staff process payments and book appointments quickly and smoothly?
- If you project an image of professionalism, is this reflected in your staff uniforms?
- If cleanliness is God, are you a Nazi about the toilets, the floors, cobwebs in the corners?
- If you’re aiming for affluent clients, do you provide such clients with an experience your ‘average’ clients don’t get?
- What does your phone manner say about you and your business…for example, do you have a set phone answering procedure, or is it ad hoc?
As always, the Message has to fit the Method, in all things.