Undercover Operation: Story #1

My Experience Calling On A Salon & Spa

Goal: To set-up an appointment for a facial, brow wax, and blow-out with style

Result: 7-minute hold time, a promised call back… Well, you’ve got to read the rest to find out!

So, I recently reached out to a Salon & Spa in Northern California, to set-up a facial, brow wax, and blow-out with style.  Doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal, pretty standard appointments, right?  Not so much!

Here’s what happened…

I phoned the (unnamed) Salon & Spa, asked for the services I’d wish to book.  Before, I could finish my request, I was interrupted with, “I need to place you on hold”.  Generally, by just simply asking, “May I put you on hold for a moment?”, gains more buy-in from the potential, new, or returning client.  Slight change of words, but huge difference in outcome.

Why can a slight change of words can make a difference?  Well, I understand how crazy busy everybody is, especially when there isn’t a dedicated salon coordinator, but come on, the client wants respect of their time too, particularly when they’re about to exchange their money for your professional skill sets.  Harsh, but it’s the TRUTH. Clients don’t mind holding, when asked nicely, and when it’s brief.

So, after, let’s call her Kelly, came back on the line.  She asked me to repeat what I needed, I requested the services, and I was asked to hold once more while she figured out how to schedule all three services together.  Good thing I was in my hotel room and had the ability to wait 7 minutes before Kelly got back on the line.  Yep, 7 minutes.  During my time on-hold, I wasn’t sure if she became side-tracked, forgot, or what was happening.  I didn’t hang up, because I had some time to spare and I actually enjoyed the on-hold music.  The music choice actually helped me visualize and feel the energy of the Salon & Spa before even going in.  Some will hang on the line, others will call back, and others will give-up. So, how could you change the situation and serve the client calling in?  What would you do differently? Opportunities!

Kelly came back on the line, a bit flustered, and said she would have to call me back. Sweet, wished that happened 7 minutes ago!  She asked for my phone number, I gave her my hotel’s number and room number, because I don’t always trust cell service in hotels.   Here’s where it gets very interesting and game changing!

Two-hours went by and no call back.  Seriously, do these people really not want my money? It’s estimated that I would have spent approximately $160 plus tips.  Do you want to lose $160 plus tips?  I know I wouldn’t want my company to miss out on serving anyone!

As early evening was arriving, approximately 6:30pm, there was a knock on my door.  I looked through the peep hole and there was a gal standing there with a bag and flowers. Not in hotel uniform, I was a bit apprehensive, but I did open the door after I asked who it was.  “My name is Kelly, from xyz Salon & Spa.”  Can you believe it?  Neither could I!

Kelly personally came to me, to apologize and to get me to trust her and her Salon & Spa. She asked if I would give them a chance to get me in their doors.  As she wooed me with a bouquet of flowers, a gift bag of body lotion, and various sample size products, I was delighted at the attempt to save a prospective client.  She explained to me that they were super short staffed that day, that she was a stylist trying to cover for their salon coordinator who was out sick, and doing her best while trying to serve all.  I told her that I totally understand that things happen, people can be out sick, and stuff hits the fan.  But, I also told her it’s great to always have back-up plans. And most importantly, when you’re under pressure… The best way to get through it is to Deliver Customer Service In A Way That Could Make It Nearly Impossible To Lose A Prospective Client, A New Client, or A Returning Client

She appreciated the feedback, I appreciated the reach-out, and I had to catch a flight the next morning and was unable to book at that point.  However, I do know the next time I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area, I will make it a point to stop in for an appointment, or at the very least to say hi to Kelly and her Team!

Team Exercise:

At your next team meeting, read to the team the Undercover Operation.  Ask the questions and discuss as a team.  If you don’t have a team, do this exercise alone.  It works both ways!

So, what were the missed opportunities?  How would you eliminate the potential issues? How would you overcome the situation?  What worked?  What didn’t work?

Remember, group discussion and group think is the quickest and most effective way to make changes, leverage opportunities, and get the results you want.

Until next week,


PS.  Have you registered for the upcoming Sales*Team*Leadership Mastery 2-Day Transformation Program.  Coming up September 22-23, 2013 in beautiful Scottsdale AZ!  Details at http://www.thesalonandspainstitute.com/2-Day-Program.html 


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