Here’s a story that got me thinking and if I do say so myself, more than a little riled up…
I recently received a letter from an overseas bank… it was to do with the purchase of some land that I am involved in with one of my business partners – but that’s not important – what is important was the message and the implication of the message.
Now a little background, we have been waiting for over 12 months for confirmation of the sale after a couple of procedural matters had been taken care of, take note – 12 months waiting with no communication nor explanation whatsoever from the bank. We understood it was going to take a wee while, but nowhere near 12 months… anyway that’s not the real issue, I just wanted you to be aware of the time-frame…, now that the procedural part has been taken care of by the bank, we are obligated to produce some documentation and supply it to the bank to finalise and complete the sale from our side, again pretty standard stuff when buying land overseas.
BUT (back to the letter) here is an excerpt from that very letter I am talking about…
“Therefore, you are to return both the executed agreement together with the transfer documents for execution by the Bank within 30 days from the date of this letter;
Please ensure settlement is effected within sixty (60) days from the date of the agreement as failure to do so may compel the bank to rescind the agreement and all monies paid be forfeited as liquidated damages.”
Now very clearly the bank’s policy is to get the required settlement within sixty days or they will cancel the agreement and keep the money we have paid so far… so my rhetorical question is, do you think they will do that if we don’t meet our side of the agreement? You bet your cotton little socks they will!
So what got me so riled up about that? Well it had nothing to do with banks or land or timelines, it just made me think about the issues that many salon owners have with clients and some team members too; you know what I’m talking about, no-show clients, late for appointment clients, team members not toeing the line, lateness, slowness, arrogance… well you know what I’m talking about, but there is a difference – and it’s that difference that I’m talking about.
The difference is that Banks do have set policy guidelines for their team to follow regarding the way they do business, and have very little problem policing and enforcing that policy, whereas, many salons do not have a clear policy for their team to follow and the salons that do, tend not to enforce the very policy that has been made. And that’s where the proverbial generally hits the fan,
My contention is that we as salon owners have trained our clients and team to behave the way they do. Think about it – what did you say to your last client that was 10 or so minutes late? Was it something like “oh that’s OK, I’m running behind anyway”? If this happened (and YOU know it does) you have just confirmed with that client that it is acceptable for them to run late, it’s just not that important to be on time. Likewise, how about the staff member who continually flouts your rules or standards? For example lateness, chewing gum, not cleaning properly etc… Think about what your rules are around these areas, do you have any? If so, what are the consequences of non adherence to these rules? And do you actually follow through on the consequences when these rules are broken or is it another case of “oh it’s OK this time but just don’t do it again”? My question is… how’s that working for you? Hmmm I thought so… It’s not right?
What I am actually saying here is many of the issues that salon owners are experiencing on a daily basis can be solved by having a clear policy on how to handle the situations and the consequence of not adhering to the rules within the policy. And the owners having the (can I say Ball’s here?) you know what’s to follow through. If you want a smooth running salon that works virtually on autopilot one of the things you have to get right are the policies that you set and apply to your business, they help you run your salon from afar – or at the very least allow you to get on with what you need to do (like marketing, accounts, your own clients etc) without the constant interruption of staff asking what to do about this or that.
Policy really is the set of rules and actions that apply to situations that occur within the salon that everyone can follow to give a consistent standard of service and outcomes to all clients and team members. Too many salons do not really have any form of policy and the ones that do, fail to be consistent with the delivery and policing of them. A word of advice – do not be afraid to enforce your policy – especially where clients and team are concerned.
The moral of this story is firstly to have Policies for your salon operation and then train your team on the use and importance of these policies. Then be prepared to stand by your rules and follow through with your consequences, doing this will ensure you gain respect from both your clients and team. And if it’s good enough for big business like banks and works for them, it’s good enough for you.