Archive for April, 2008

Putting testimonials to work for your business – Dex

Posted on April 30, 2008. Filed under: customer service, marketing, small business | Tags: , , , |

I have a testimonials page on my salon’s website. I think it is a great tool for potential customers to be able to hear what your existing customers have to say. It can make them feel more comfortable with your business and give them an idea of what they are in for.

Our favorite client comment? “I can wear my pajamas and cuss!”

Putting Testimonials to Work, Part I: Print

Print

Capitalize on your biggest fans’ power of persuasion with customer testimonials.

There’s a reason all those infomercials hawking everything from jewelry to fitness equipment use stories direct from customers’ mouths to sell their products. They work. And including testimonials from customers can yield big results for your advertising too.

“Testimonials are a form of proof that what you’re selling really works and works for the average customer,” says David Frey, author of the Small Business Marketing Bible and president of www.MarketingBestPractices.com. “They’re an extremely powerful form of marketing and have a heavy positive influence over a person’s buying decision.”

Customer testimonials may be short and to the point—perhaps just a couple of sentences about the stellar service your customer received—or they may be three or four paragraphs long. Regardless of their length, well-done testimonials lend credibility to your company.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Customer, Client or Guest?

Posted on April 30, 2008. Filed under: customer service, small business | Tags: , , , , |

It has become popular for some salons and spas to refer to the people who visit their businesses as guests. That never resonated with me and I always felt a little silly using the term. Yes, I know very well that they are more than customers. To me, a customer is someone who just walks in to the salon and buys a bottle of shampoo, but does not have a relationship with a stylist there.

But guest sounds too familiar to me. And also makes me feel odd accepting money. If I had a guest in my home, I wouldn’t charge them. I know that hotels often refer to their customers as guests, but you sleep there!

I prefer client. Attorneys and accountants have clients. Clients and service providers have relationships, engage in a consultative process, and money is very clearly involved.

Aura’s definitions:

Clients look for advice and guidance.

Customers want a product, whether it is shampoo or a haircut, not a relationship.

Guests don’t expect to pay.

Dictionary.com’s definitions:

Customer: a person who purchases goods or services from another; buyer; patron.

Client: a person or group that uses the professional advice or services of a lawyer, accountant, advertising agency, architect, etc.

Guest: A person who spends some time at another persons home in some social activity, as a visit, dinner or party.

For the record, I give great thought to the meaning of words. Perhaps more than the average bear. One of the biggest fights I had with my first husband was over the difference in definitions of the words chore and errand. This argument involved the purchase of more than one dictionary.

Because I have grown since then and no longer am consumed with the need to be right, I am open to input on this. Do you have a different term that you use in your salon? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Tips getting smaller? Poor service or rough economy?

Posted on April 29, 2008. Filed under: customer service, finance, small business | Tags: , |

The LA Times has a story today about how tip-dependent industries are feeling the pinch.  I have observed this in my salon recently and I can’t say that our level of customer service has decreased, nor can I say that the level of customer satisfaction has decreased.  Have you observed this in your salon?

The economic downturn has cash-strapped customers leaving less.

By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 29, 2008

Jocelyne Aposaga is a hairstylist who relies on tips for about 20% of her income. As the economy slumps, she has a new survival plan: cut tips.

When Aposaga eats out, she leaves servers a buck or two less than last year. It’s not the service that’s bad, it’s the economy — and a case of what goes around comes around.

  • tips

“I am just not getting paid as much as I used to. It’s not because I am spending more money on gas or other things,” said Aposaga, who works at Aderon Salon in Pasadena.

Amid a tottering economy, rising inflation, increasing unemployment and a housing market meltdown, waiters, beauticians and pet groomers report that customers are growing tightfisted.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Still don’t have a website for your salon?

Posted on April 29, 2008. Filed under: marketing, resources, small business | Tags: , , |

There’s a better way to get your message out there.

It’s time to reach customers where they’re already looking for you – online.

Microsoft® Office Live Small Business can get your business on the Web for FREE.

It’s the professional way to get your message out there. Now there’s no stopping you.

Learn more

Sign up FREE

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Microsoft Office Live Small Business

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An Internet service provider account is required for Internet and e-mail access and is not included with Microsoft Office Live Small Business services.

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Salon Service Central – Have someone else answer your phones

Posted on April 28, 2008. Filed under: customer service, management, marketing, resources, small business | Tags: , , , |

salon central
MONTHLY SERVICE FEES $250  *90-DAY RISK-FREE TRIAL Premium Add-on Services Available □Additional people—1 additional appointment book ($100/mo) □Custom Call Tree—includes custom greeting, recordings and music-on-hold ($50/mo) □e-mail Monitoring - ($50/mo) $100/chair) MONTHLY SERVICE FEES $250  This package is designed for booth renters and small salons that do not require a workstation on site. With a simple internet connection and e-mail address you can manage your business.
MONTHLY SERVICE FEES $250  *90-DAY RISK-FREE TRIAL Premium Add-on Services Available □Additional people—1 additional appointment book ($100/mo) □Custom Call Tree—includes custom greeting, recordings and music-on-hold ($50/mo) □e-mail Monitoring - ($50/mo) This package is designed for booth renters and small salons that do not require a workstation on site. With a simple internet connection and e-mail address you can manage your business. This package is designed for medium to large salons that require a workstation on site. With a simple internet connection & e-mail address you can manage your business and have full access to all software Live Receptionist Call Handling 1 Voicemail Boxes (extension) Phones covered 7am-9pm CST Monday-Saturday 1 Customized Appointment Book Daily Appointment Confirmation Daily, Monthly & Quarterly Reports Basic Internet Access 1 Year Contract w/90 Day Trial Period This package is designed for booth renters and small salons that do not require a workstation on site. With a simple internet connection and e-mail address you can manage your business. This package is designed for medium to large salons that require a workstation on site. With a simple internet connection & e-mail address you can manage your business and have full access to all software
$2,500)  Premium Add-on Services Available □Additional people—1 additional appointment book ($100/mo) □Custom Call Tree—includes custom greeting, recordings and music-on-hold ($50/mo) □e-mail Monitoring - ($50/mo) This package is designed for medium to large salons that require a workstation on site. With a simple internet connection & e-mail address you can manage your business and have full access to all software Live Receptionist Call Handling 1 Voicemail Boxes (extension) Phones covered 7am-9pm CST Monday-Saturday 1 Customized Appointment Book Daily Appointment Confirmation Daily, Monthly & Quarterly Reports Basic Internet Access 1 Year Contract w/90 Day Trial Period This package is designed for medium to large salons that require a workstation on site. With a simple internet connection & e-mail address you can manage your business and have full access to all software
$2,500)  Premium Add-on Services Available □Additional people—1 additional appointment book ($100/mo) □Custom Call Tree—includes custom greeting, recordings and music-on-hold ($50/mo) □e-mail Monitoring - ($50/mo) This package is designed for medium to large salons that require a workstation on site. With a simple internet connection & e-mail address you can manage your business and have full access to all software

MONTHLY SERVICE FEES

· $500

Live Receptionist Call Handling 1 Voicemail Box  Phones covered 7am-9pm CST Monday-Saturday Custom Call Tree—custom greeting, recordings and music-on-hold  1 Customized Appointment Book per chair Daily Appointment Confirmation Daily, Monthly & Quarterly Reports Full Access Terminal Services (1 workstation connection) 1 Year Contract  Premium Add-on Services Available
*90-DAY LOW-RISK TRIAL *90-DAY RISK-FREE TRIAL—If you’re not completely satisfied within the first 90 days, you can terminate your contract. Studio user’s pay for only the time they have used. Full Access user’s are required to pay a one month termination fee. □Additional people—1 additional appointment book ($100/mo) □Additional Workstation Connection ($50/mo) □e-mail Monitoring ($50/mo) □Automated Reporting ($50/mo) Premium Add-on Services Available ADDITIONAL SERVICES OFFERED TO OUR CUSTOMERS In addition to our quality reception services, Salon Service Central customers can take advantage of our additional business building services listed below. These services are offered exclusively to our reception customers at rock bottom prices. Partner with us, a one-stop shop for all your business needs.
*90-DAY RISK-FREE TRIAL—If you’re not completely satisfied within the first 90 days, you can terminate your contract. Studio user’s pay for only the time they have used. Full Access user’s are required to pay a one month termination fee. □Additional people—1 additional appointment book ($100/mo) □Additional Workstation Connection ($50/mo) □e-mail Monitoring ($50/mo) □Automated Reporting ($50/mo) Premium Add-on Services Available ADDITIONAL SERVICES OFFERED TO OUR CUSTOMERS In addition to our quality reception services, Salon Service Central customers can take advantage of our additional business building services listed below. These services are offered exclusively to our reception customers at rock bottom prices. Partner with us, a one-stop shop for all your business needs.
*90-DAY RISK-FREE TRIAL—If you’re not completely satisfied within the first 90 days, you can terminate your contract. Studio user’s pay for only the time they have used. Full Access user’s are required to pay a one month termination fee. □Additional people—1 additional appointment book ($100/mo) □Additional Workstation Connection ($50/mo) □e-mail Monitoring ($50/mo) □Automated Reporting ($50/mo)
*90-DAY RISK-FREE TRIAL—If you’re not completely satisfied within the first 90 days, you can terminate your contract. Studio user’s pay for only the time they have used. Full Access user’s are required to pay a one month termination fee.
ADDITIONAL SERVICES OFFERED TO OUR CUSTOMERS In addition to our quality reception services, Salon Service Central customers can take advantage of our additional business building services listed below. These services are offered exclusively to our reception customers at rock bottom prices. Partner with us, a one-stop shop for all your business needs.
In addition to our quality reception services, Salon Service Central customers can take advantage of our additional business building services listed below. These services are offered exclusively to our reception customers at rock bottom prices. Partner with us, a one-stop shop for all your business needs.
info@salonservicecentral.com MARKETING & MAIL SERVICES eBlast				10¢/each Letter				$1/each Postcard/Greeting Card	$1.50/each Brochure/Multi-Page		$2/each     Custom Mailings		$ per bid  Whether you’re mailing information to your client list or sending out promotional material to perspective clients, we will implement your ideas from beginning to end. Our “Per Use” fees include printing of the material, assembly, addressing and postage.
info@salonservicecentral.com BUSINESS COACHING SERVICES Business Coaching		$100/hr Need a great idea or just want to bounce your ideas off someone in the know? Our coach will assist you in deciding what is important, analyze the results, set goals and implement programs to grow your business. Our coach can also assist you in developing policy & procedure, employee, and training manuals.
info@salonservicecentral.com info@salonservicecentral.com
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Raising rates without losing clients – New York Times

Posted on April 23, 2008. Filed under: finance, management, small business, staff | Tags: , , , |

“What do you charge for a haircut?”

I ask that question at every workshop. It is the question everyone wants to know but may not have the chutzpah to ask, so I get the class to share. (With so many salons on the web, that question is much easier to answer these days!)

Most salons don’t charge enough. Some haven’t had a price increase in years.

Let me tell you a story about two stylists who used to be my employees and are now independent contractors. They have been gone from the salon for a decade and are still charging the price that the salon set for them when they left. In fact, recent gossip has it that one of the things they hated about working for me was that I made them raise their prices. (Heaven forbid, I want them to be successful!)

So, they have not raised their prices since. And they are booked months in advance. A current co-worker tried to explain to them that their clients would not leave if they raised their prices, but they were having none of it. Guess they showed me!

I have been pondering prices, demand, and the current economy. There are those who believe that there is no “bad time” for a price increase. I have to admit that even though I am feeling a little tight in my schedule (a sign that demand is higher than supply and a good indication that I should increase prices,) I am concerned about raising prices when all the news seems to be talking about tough economics times.

I have only been a salon owner for 17 years, so I have not weathered any huge economic downturns. I would love to hear from those of you with a longer track record who can tell us how you weathered the storm in the past.

In the meantime, here is a article from the New York Times on the subject. Let me know what you think.

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Hairdressers matter

Posted on April 22, 2008. Filed under: customer service | Tags: , , |

Just read this article from the BBC about skin cancer on the neck and head.

Who do you think notices these spots when they are in the hair?  An attentive hairdresser can point out irregularities to their clients so that treatment can be sought sooner rather than later, increasing the survival rate.

Outlook worse’ for scalp cancer

melanoma on the neck

Cancers on the neck or scalp can be harder to spot until they have grown

Skin cancers on the scalp or neck are more deadly than those elsewhere on the body, a large study has suggested.

An analysis of 50,000 cases of melanoma found people with these cancers were nearly twice as likely to die as those with the disease on arms or legs.

Scalp and neck cancers were often found later but there seemed to be something inherently virulent about them, the Archives of Dermatology study found.

Read the complete article here.

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Kadus Live – Seattle

Posted on April 22, 2008. Filed under: Network | Tags: |

back stage

Hello to the new friends I met in Seattle this Monday.  I am glad to have met you and I hope you got something valuable out of our presentation.

Dig through the old posts on here to get an idea of the subjects we cover, and please feel free to comment!

We are all in this together and your input is imcredibly valuable!

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Get your own damn blog – part 2

Posted on April 15, 2008. Filed under: marketing, resources, small business | Tags: , , , |

I want to tell you all about blogging and how it can help you and your business, but hey, if I can give you a link to someone who has literally written the book (82 pages, thank you very much!) on it, wouldn’t that make more sense?

Who wrote it:

Remarkablogger is Michael Martine, a long-time web designer, blogger, software trainer, internet entrepreneur, and strategist. Remarkablogger is the name of my one-man consulting company. I offer blog consulting and coaching for individuals and companies.
I help you wade through the blizzard of options and choices when it comes to planning, setting up, and managing a business blog. If you’re new to blogging or your blog has stalled or not delivered the expected results, I can help you start your blog right or take it to the next level, and help it fulfill its intended purpose.

Some excerpts:

Why You Should Have a Blog
Why should you have a blog? Because everybody else does, and you want to be cool, right?
Just kidding.
Many more people are blogging now than ever before, because there are real benefits to blogging. By this time, the benefits of having a website are undeniable. As a platform for websites, blogs magnify those benefits tremendously, delivering on them better than a non-blog website can. How? Better search engine optimization, better communications with your customers, better marketing all around, and better positioning and branding for you in the marketplace.

What are you going to offer your new readers that will impress them and convert them into RSS subscribers and long-term readers? Many other great bloggers have written plenty of excellent material on creating initial content for a blog. Yaro Starak calls it pillar articles, Chris Garrett calls it flagship content. Whatever you want to call it, it needs to be written before the blog launches.

Now, hurry up and go read the whole thing! What are you waiting for?

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Building an emotional connection – from Branding Strategy Insider

Posted on April 14, 2008. Filed under: marketing, small business | Tags: , , , |

As a salon, you have an advantage over the average business when it comes to making an emotional connection between your brand and your clients. Other industries wish their clients were as loyal and as interested in their success as ours are. When your customers see your logo, they should immediately get a warm and fuzzy feeling of connection. (Does you logo stink?  Check this out.)

Since you already have this connection, shouldn’t you capitalize on it?

How do you connect with your clients?

Building an Emotional Connection

To achieve brand insistence the consumer must trust your brand and feel an emotional connection to it. People become emotionally connected to a brand for a number of reasons:

• The brand stands for something important to them.
• The brand is intense and vibrant. It connects with people on multiple levels across several senses.
• The brand is unique.
• The brand is admirable.
• The brand consistently interacts with them. It never disappoints them.
• The brand makes them feel good.

Read the rest of the article here.

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