I watch a lot of food network. A LOT. One of my favorite shows is Restaurant Impossible, but any show where they go in and reboot restaurants or bars is a mild obsession of mine. I learned a lot about where to look for "dirt".
While writing up the safety and sanitation course for Intellectual Groomers Association I became a tad "OCD about cleaning" according to one of my groomers. Someone on the Grooming Smarter Facebook page was having issues losing clients, wanting to figure out why, and her shop, well, it needed some love. Someone there made the comment that one of the best pieces of advice she ever got was to “LOOK AT YOUR SHOP from the perspective of a client”.
I took some photos of my shop that day in preparation for this blog post, and some of them made me go HMMMMMMM. I was truly taken aback by what I saw.
I took photos and created the following videos. The first is the stuff I saw with NO cleaning. The second is what I took after doing a really quick, ten or fifteen minute cleanup. It is the way the shop looked the day I took the original photos. I was embarrassed. I asked 5 clients about what they saw, and no one said anything other than HOMEY. It FEELS homey, it LOOKS homey and it SMELLS CLEAN! That made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Truly. They did not see the stuff that was piled up or the plant that needed watered. They did not see the pad covers on the top of the cages or the bags of things that I was taking home. They saw HOMEY.
Am I being overly critical of what I saw even though my clients did not seem to notice it??? NO! Because we only get a chance to make a first impression once. I was not happy with the way my shop MIGHT appear to a new client, even if no one else seemed to notice.
As I sit here this weekend, nursing a badly injured neck I am proud to say most of the issues I saw in the first video clip below have been remedied. Clutter has been eliminated. My station has been put back together and the lawn, weeds and flower beds have been worked on. The rain has made it impossible, along with broken equipment, to keep up with the grass and weed eating. We got caught up this week, thankfully. I am MUCH happier with the way it looks now.
Some things are out of my control, like the peeling ramp rails and floor. It is weather worn, has survived three tornadoes (LITERALLY) countless thunderstorms, hail and 3, YES THREE Hurricanes. The paint that was used did not hold up well. There is a work order in for repainting the ramp and we have non-slip tape to replace the tape that is coming off. I will likely end up doing it myself, if it ever stops raining because my landlord sees it as a nuisance not a requirement. We have to have a full two days after we paint it for it to dry before it rains, and we have to be a week without rain for the wood to dry out. That is the major reason it has not been painted this year. Mother Nature is not co-operating. It is still embarrassing for me and I am unhappy about the signal it is sending. It is a priority on my chores list. Mother Nature must give me a week to get it done in order to fix it.
One of my clients years ago pointed out to me that if you have live plants you should have LIVE PLANTS and not dead or dying ones and no dead leaves or flowers. Those need to be maintained in order to make the biggest impression. Due to my injury the rose garden is not up to par this year and I have hired someone this weekend to come by and weed, replant and prune them all back. I do not think I realized how bad they looked until I took these photos. They had done their normal “It’s hot and I will lose my leaves” and they are growing back in full glory, but they all need to be re-potted. We will work on it. If my neck was not injured it would be different. Excuses? Maybe. Honest? Yes.
It is important to keep things put away. Dusted. Mopped. Hair should be swept or vacuumed as you go throughout the shop. I have been in shops where the hair piles were so high there was a serious slip hazard.
You want the front reception area to reflect the style of your shop. Everything that the client sees from standing at the desk or whatever you use for a reception area is important. It sets the theme for the salon. Your staff, the desk, the computer or appointment book, what ever it is, they see it and it sets up the entire experience. Keep it clean, keep everything organized. Make sure your staff is trained. Polite. Smiling. Have phone policies that are consistent across the board. How you answer the phone. How FAST you answer the phone and how quickly you return messages will say a lot about you to a client or perspective client.
In my shop, the feeling is HOMEY. Furniture, collectibles, antiques, throw rugs, crate pads, plants, photos, just like a house.
Whatever you decide your "feel" is going to be, make sure it stays neat, organized and clean.
If you are wondering what your shop looks like to a client, stand where THEY STAND. Look at what THEY SEE. be honest about what you see. Take photos if it helps you see it more clearly. Ask clients for their honest opinions. It will make you better.
Take a look from a client's perspective. See if it makes a difference in your outlook on your business.