Not only did throngs of industry professionals fill the show floor at the Toronto ABA, but an equally large crowd also came to hear Tabatha Coffey on the main stage. Sharing her stories and speaking her mind is what she does, and here we recap some of her words of wisdom.
1. Create a memorable, repeatable customer service experience that will set your salon apart.
When she worked in the salon, Coffey received a giant bag of Starburst candies from her mom—even though neither of them personally enjoyed this colourful candy. Deciding to give them out in her salon in steady refills became not only a way to share a treat, but something that clients expected to have. “It became a little treat that they can expect to have at our salon, and sometimes clients would come in having been told that we give away Starbursts!” says Coffey. Most of all, the Starburst story reminds us that the little extra treat we can give to clients will set apart the salon.
2. Don’t be afraid to charge for your service.
Everyone visits the dentist and the doctor, and everyone pays for it. So why do salon owners feel guilty for charging clients for their visits? “I don’t get a break when I go to my favourite store just because I’m a loyal customer. So even if your loyal customers are coming back, there’s nothing wrong with charging them the full fee,” says Coffey. If your service is excellent, then so it should be with the profit.
3. The best marketing strategy is seeing your work in action.
When Coffey moved from the UK to the States, she was starting from the ground-up. Make an effort to meet people in your town, and offer business to the people you’d like to attract. At the beginning, Coffey even approached schools and introduced herself to the teachers who were organizing plays, doing hair for their productions, and word spread in the neighbourhood about her service. “Although it was free work, the investment comes back because some of those clients still come back to my salon today,” says Coffey.
4. Hire quality stylists after a series of interviews.
One of the things that Coffey adopts from “corporate America” is the intensive screening that prospective employees undergo before getting the phone call. “Just like a first date, the girl who wants the job will come in really cute and be on-time at the first interview. But we can’t expect anything less at that point. I want to know that she’s still cute and punctual on the fourth and fifth interview too,” says Coffey. Having multiple interviews with candidates that show promise is a way to see past the first impression and separate those at the top of their game.
What’s your favourite Tabatha tip?