Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 28. Co-hosted by Killian Vigna and Zoé Bélisle-Springer, this show is a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars you can join. Phorest FM is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off.
Phorest FM Episode 28
Creating an amazing customer experience for salon clients is a crucial component of the business. Waxperts is one of the most successful salons in the industry when it comes to customer service, and their salon manager Kristina Malone shares some of the things they do to make their treatments so special in this instalment of Phorest FM.
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Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM Podcast episode 28. I’m Killian Vigna.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: And I’m Zoé Bélisle-Springer.
Killian Vigna: This week we’re interviewing Kristina, store manager of Waxperts, about providing excellent customer service in your salon.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: And as always, we top off the show with our upcoming Phorest Academy webinars.
Killian Vigna: This podcast is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off. Now, let’s get into the show.
All right Zoe, we actually have Kristina on the line, so I don’t think –
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Yes we do.
Killian Vigna: -we’re going to delay too much time here.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Yeah. Exactly. So for Phorest FM episode 28, we wanted to talk to Kristina, the store manager in Waxperts. So Waxperts is Dublin’s multi award winning waxing salon, and Alex Quinn on our PR and events team was just in their salon to spend a day with them and see how they worked customer service, how they interacted with their clients, and just overall gist of the business, I suppose.
So we have Kristina on the show today to chat about customer service.
Killian Vigna: So Kristina, welcome to Phorest FM first off. Thanks for joining us today.
Kristina Malone: Thank you for having me.
Killian Vigna: No problem. So we just want to start off with, what’s the essence of good customer service to you? Because, like that, you’re working in the Waxperts. Waxperts is very niche. So it’s not like you’re a client who’s just going to pop in, get their hair done or get their nails done or something like that. There’s a little more around going in for a wax, isn’t there?
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. So one of the big things for us when a person… their experience starts off with making the appointment. So whether it’s via email, phone call, or if they actually come into the salon to make their appointment, it’s always being welcoming, being friendly, and also being knowledgeable. When they come in, they call me… they’re always welcomed with a friendly smile and a can-do attitude. As well if they have any questions, if this is their first time ever being waxed, or if they’re an avid waxer, what… to make sure that I can answer every single question, make them feel at ease, and make sure they feel they’re in the most amazing, capable hands.
Killian Vigna: Would you find a lot of clients would be nervous coming in for their first time? So you’ve kind of reassured them nearly, is it?
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. It’s not like going into a hair salon and having them touch your head. We do intimate waxing here. So people do feel a sense of nervousness, anxiety… just of being, per say, exposed. And one thing we pride ourselves on is that everyone feels so comfortable coming in here, that they feel it more as a treatment. Like the feeling that you have, “Oh I’m going to get my hair done.” Like, “Oh I’m going to go get waxed.”
So it’s just more like making sure everyone feels really comfortable. Like in every single treatment room we do have televisions on the wall just to kind of have them concentrate on something if they kind of don’t want to realize what’s going on in their other areas. So just, we chat to them. We have a banter with them. We chat with them to make them feel like… we completely reassure them that they’re in great hands. There’s never been… there’s not going to be an issue. Just kind of making sure that they feel comfortable is our biggest thing. Is to make sure that everyone who walks in feels comfortable, whether it’s your first time here or hundredth time here.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: That’s amazing. Do you have… did you notice any gaps between customer’s expectations and the service, you know, that you provide? Whether it be positive or even some people that, you know, were expecting something and then came out kind of nervous still and you know-
Killian Vigna: Still not quite at ease…
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: How do you deal… yeah. Still not quite at ease. How do you deal with that?
Killian Vigna: So kind of the afters of the treatment.
Kristina Malone: We definitely like, when they come out of the treatment like you see this “Ow” on their face. You see they’re still having the chit chat with their therapist as they’re in the front in the reception, waiting to either make their next appointment or just to pay, that they really feel comfortable. They’re like, half the time people… more than half the time, they’re like, “That was so easy. That was so pain-free. Oh, my God, she was so lovely. There was not an issue.” And everyone… I would say the majority, 100 percent of the time everything loves coming here.
They just really feel more comfortable. It is truly painless.
Killian Vigna: Yeah because that’s what you were just saying. So we’ve already talked about how waxing can be quite intimate. But it can also be painful, too. And that’s a big scare factor about going into Waxperts. You’re saying they come in and not distract them, but you make them feel at ease and stuff like that. Almost take the focus away from the fact of, “I’m getting hair ripped out.”
Kristina Malone: Well the thing… we don’t put… at Waxperts it’s not… we don’t rip hair out. That’s the thing. They actually created a technique to make it the most painless experience possible. And that’s one of the things we pride ourselves on. Like you’re going to get waxed but it’s not going to hurt. Because that’s why we want to put the treat back into treatment for waxing. We want people to feel like, holy smokes, that came in here dreading it for the first time… more often than not people do have bad experiences waxing, and the line that we created of our waxes, our oils, our cleansers are made so gentle on the skin, but still have the strength to get a nice clean wax. So that’s why it’s not painful half the time. Because we do have reviews that are sent out. We ask people for their feedback because it is so important to us. You never stop growing. You never stop learning.
Killian Vigna: Exactly.
Kristina Malone: So we want the feedback from everybody so that we can learn how to better ourselves. Make, you know-
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Yeah.
Kristina Malone: If it’s even to maybe change the channel on the television. We want to better ourselves. 95 percent of the time, it’s like, “That was the least painful experience I’ve ever had.”
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: How do you exactly like use that customer feedback? Is it like a chat between you and Ellen or anyone on the team? Or is it just kind of you as the store manager?
Kristina Malone: Oh no. We use the feedback. Like every time we get a feedback in… the negative just doesn’t happen. I always tell the therapists, “This client gave back feedback five stars. This is what she said.” I’m like, “Great job. You did great.” Good stuff. We take it as an excellence to the team. Because there is no “I” in team. So we all work together and we all try to make everything so positive. Just really kind of make everything… just try to better ourselves or if somebody does have a recommendation or what not. We’ll take it. We’ll discuss it as a team. We’re never going to name names. We will never… how do we better ourselves? What can we do to make it even more, not even five stars but like six star.
Killian Vigna: Above and beyond.
Kristina Malone: We always want to better ourselves. So that people enjoy it.
Killian Vigna: Well that’s it. Like you have to provide positive experiences because if your customers are satisfied, and like you said, you’re getting that through your feedback and your reviews, that means it’s going to make it easier to cross-sell products, upsell products. It’s going to be harder for your client to move away from Waxperts now and find another salon. It comes back to the referral. So all of this comes from the customer experience.
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. And our customers have made the name Waxperts what it is today. Because they realise it’s what they get. Not only get a good waxing, they get the education.
Killian Vigna: Yeah.
Kristina Malone: They get the what-to-do and what-not-to-do to make sure you get the best result and the long standing results that you want. The moment you make that appointment to the time you leave, we want to educate you on how to make everything better. So if that’s with our products, after-care… we don’t have a lot of retail products, but what we have makes the biggest difference to make sure that you don’t have any after-effect.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Yeah and you’re very-
Kristina Malone: Sorry?
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: No, I was going to say and you’re also very knowledgeable about these products.
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. When I even started I brought in through what the ingredients were. What the ingredients did for your skin, topically speaking. So why they’re benefiting you, and when people understand why this is good for you and why it helps, they really… they’re like, “Okay. Perfect. I’ll take… I’ll have the oil. I’ll have the pads.”
They come back and they’re like, “They were amazing. My skin is great. I didn’t get ingrowns. I didn’t have any sensitivity.” Because they realize what it does. I’ve always been a huge advocate of, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” It’s great that we get the greatest, smoothest results, but we want to make sure you maintain those results at home in between your four to six-week appointment with us.
Killian Vigna: Yeah, so that’s your after-cares. And we’re just saying, so about your whole in-salon experience making the customer feel at ease, do you utilize any technologies or anything like that for, so like follow-up SMSs or even kind of frequently asked questions on your websites? Do you do anything outside of the salon for the clients?
Kristina Malone: Oh yeah. We absolutely do follow-up questions. We usually do follow-up calls on new clients. Just to make sure everything went well. They do get the email sent through the Phorest system, of how did they enjoy their experience? Did you have any comments or concerns, feel free to contact us? Everybody that calls, some people who are a little bit more leery sometimes they’ll call me and ask, “Okay so I can’t remember, what was the after-care again?”
So I’ll explain it to them. We always give them more knowledge than anything else.
Killian Vigna: Yeah. Yeah-
Kristina Malone: Anything they have to say is more than welcomed.
Killian Vigna: Yeah because we’re starting to see, even though the phone like you said, you ring new clients, it’s huge for kind of talking to your clients. But we’re also seeing a bigger increase in companies using “Frequently Asked Questions” on their websites, or sending follow up SMSs. Or even micro-blogging. It’s just giving as much information to your current clients and potential clients before they come in as well.
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. We do have Instagram and Snapchat and we do put a lot of information on the social media.
Killian Vigna: Yeah.
Kristina Malone: Because that’s how… we live in an age of technology where that’s how people are finding things. Everyone and their mother is on Instagram or Snapchat. So it’s a good way to outreach clients, to get your name out there, and also to make clients more knowledgeable on different practices to make sure you’re getting a hygienic treatment. No matter, even if you do not go to Waxperts. But always make sure you ask these questions when you are booking an appointment in a waxing salon.
We don’t want just people to know what’s great about Waxperts. We want to get people to know what’s great about waxing.
Killian Vigna: Waxing, yeah.
Kristina Malone: We want to out reach people.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Social media has quite a few unique challenges. How do you personalize interactions on social?
Kristina Malone: Well look at it this way, we take questions that people… people do message the Waxperts Instagram. And also my boss, Ellen Kavanagh, is a huge social media, I don’t know what it’s called, guru on Snapchat and people do privately message her with questions. And she will publicly answer them. So that way they feel that they know that they’re heard.
The thing is people want to make sure that they feel heard. That if they have any questions, that they feel like they’ve all been answered. So if we outreach them via social media or via email, we always try to connect with everybody.
Killian Vigna: When you say you publicly announce the answers, so say I sent you a messenger on Facebook asking a question, then you just kind of put it up as a status then? But it’s a generic one, is it, for everyone?
Kristina Malone: No, we try to get them… we try… people who message us, we reply to them ourselves. Whether it be in their private message, depending on the context of the question…
Killian Vigna: Yeah.
Kristina Malone: But also, you know, we always get them sent… we email them ourselves, regardless whether it be from our office or from the salon, no one’s left questions unanswered.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: I know that Ellen used to do the Wednesday Q and A’s at some point. Is that still going on?
Kristina Malone: Oh Waxing Wednesdays. Yeah. She does. But it’s just with lately she’s been out of town or on business or anything like that… she hasn’t had it in maybe two weeks, but she always tries to get some waxing information or Q and A up. Just so that people know us. Especially we are entering a season where everyone’s kind of going in for their waxing.
Killian Vigna: I think that’s a great idea. Because even if you were kind of going for your first wax, like we said, you’re kind of nervous, you might be self-conscious… But you can take a backseat and actually just sit down and watch those questions. You don’t have to get involved yourself. Everyone else is in the same boat as you. And Ellen’s dishing out the answers here and there every week.
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. Absolutely. Even we post videos on, like, in the training and see what we do there. More people are knowledgeable and know what they want and don’t want. The standards are now set so high because we put it out there. We make it known. And we have the job to be… responsibility to meet these standards and even surpass them.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: When Alex came back from her day with you guys, she was absolutely amazed by the fact that you took everything down in the client notes. You know when your clients when they were gone on holidays, when they were coming back, all the little attentions that you had for them. For you, in your opinion, what’s the greatest impact on customer satisfaction? Like, what can you do that will have the most impact?
Kristina Malone: Well I find just remembering the small details of the conversations with them. Like I recall, even when the client was waiting for their therapist because they came a little bit earlier, I remember when I saw them last time, “Oh how was that wedding? How was your holiday?” They feel like they’re seen. They’re not just another person.
Killian Vigna: They feel like a friend.
Kristina Malone: That we actually know them. And like sometimes we use the notes just to make little bullet points just so we can recall. But more often than not, we don’t really use them as much. We use the notes to, especially for clients if we do… because we are a very busy salon, we do have a cancellation list.
I write in the notes, even the little details of like this is when they are available starting from this time. In between this time. So that we can accommodate everybody and not have to disturb them if they’re given the time that became available, but they’re not available. It’s like every client will have probably about 20 notes on their file, but for us that’s just that extra step. That we’re going to take that extra five minutes and write something down in their file just to make sure that we have everything perfect. Sometimes they had a little bit more… they had a sunburn. Be careful they have a scar. We have to make sure that everyone… the attention to detail is there.
Killian Vigna: Yeah. Just making your staff more aware as well.
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. It’s just that everything has to be top notch. We want to make sure that, like I said, everyone has the most amazing experience with us. And that’s down to making their booking. Just even the little things of remembering, not just their name, but our last conversation. “How did your holiday go?” You know, it really does… kind of you see the light in their eyes when you actually remember them. That they’re not just a dollar sign walking in and out.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Yeah.
Kristina Malone: That we actually care about people.
Killian Vigna: So what would your, I suppose, the average re-booking cycle be for a client. So if they went in to get their legs waxed, how long would it usually be before they came back in?
Kristina Malone: That’s all dependent on the client’s growth. So we normally see our clients anywhere between four to six weeks.
Killian Vigna: So you’re saying four to six weeks before that client would have come back in to you again. But because you have all your notes-
Kristina Malone: Exactly.
Killian Vigna: -it’s almost like they never left. Or it was only just a couple of days ago that you last saw them.
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. It really is… it’s like the trigger points of okay… it’s little bullet points of, “Oh perfect, she was going on holiday to Spain. I’m going to ask her about it. See how she liked it. Did she have a good time?” You know. It also makes the client more at ease while they’re doing the waxing treatment.
Killian Vigna: Yeah. Yeah because they always say like the sweetest sound to someone’s ears is their name. But you’re actually going way past just remembering their name.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Yeah.
Killian Vigna: Right through to their nearly family history. So it is because-
Kristina Malone: Well we want to make sure.
Killian Vigna: Yeah. And the conversation is flowing. You could be in treatment for up to an hour, an hour and a half, so it just gets rid of that awkwardness.
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. I’m just going to say that through the treatment rooms, I can hear the girls at my desk. I can hear the girls laughing with their clients. Having a good banter with them. You know, it’s not something you expect. It’s something you would think you’d hear at the beauty salon. You know, like the old… you know, you think of the old woman chatting with her magazine. That happy, but just in waxing!
It’s no longer that dirty little secret of, “Oh I’m being waxed.” And, “Oh I don’t want to tell anybody.” No. It’s actually, “I’m going to get waxed today. I’m going to talk to my therapist.” People do request certain therapists because we all do the same, like in practice, we all do the exact same waxing. B ut they feel comfortable because they got to know the therapist, and the therapist knows them.
Killian Vigna: Yeah. So it becomes very personal.
Kristina Malone: Absolutely. The same thing as you would go to the same hairstylist, per se. They go to the same beauty therapist, but they’re not weary to go to a different one if that one’s unavailable. Because they know they’re going to get the exact same wax. The exact same standard. And they’re still going to have a good craic with them. They’re still going to have the laugh.
The clients walk out of the room with big smiles on their face. They leave with big smiles on their face. That’s the best thing for us.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Yeah. The feeling is amazing when you know that person, you know, is happy and you’ve done a good job. Kristina, this has been amazing, if we just kind of do a little recap to wrap up. Three things that popped out for me is, you know, don’t forget about your people and make sure that they know that you care and that, you know, you can take notes and remember the little attention to details. Understand your customers’ needs and expectations as well.
Would you have anything else to add specifically?
Kristina Malone: Yup. I think definitely giving your customers and clients the knowledge as well, I think, is so important. Because it makes sure that they have the best results when they leave your salon or your boutique or your chair or beauty bed. That they come back because you’re that great. You talked to them how to make sure to maintain these results. To keep the best, in our case, the smoothest skin, the no ingrown hairs. Just make sure that you give them all the information possible.
Killian Vigna: Yeah. I think the one that really stood out for me there, so we have those points, “Hey don’t forget your clients” and stuff like those. But people focus so much on the aftercare and kind of, while they’re in the salon, but you… for you guys, you actually do all your information before the client ever even comes into the salon. So instantly it’s like they’ve already had treatments in there before. Because they know everything about your salon, everything about you guys, how the treatment is going to go from A to Z right from the start to the finish.
So, it’s not new for them. It’s not intimidating. I think that really was… that’s a really big part of customer experience as well. Before even entering your salon.
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. With new clients especially, when they’re booking in, we always give them little tricks and tips to do before they get their wax to make sure they get the most amazing treatment. So the knowledge is given to them beforehand. Before they walk in to us. So they walk in and they know that we’re capable. They’re in capable hands.
Killian Vigna: And not only that… happier clients, if they’re happy, you’re going to increase their lifetime wallet as well. Especially you’re going to grow, because if they’re happy, they’re going to recommend you to their friends.
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. Just the client referrals, it’s just extraordinary.
Killian Vigna: Well listen Kristina, on that note I think we’re going to wrap it up there because I think we’ve got as much information as we could there. All the key points as well.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Yeah, especially the key points. I mean, it’s been absolutely great and I think the way that you put it is simple. It’s easy to understand for other, you know, if it’s other salons’ owners, managers, even just staff managers listening, I think there’s a lot of information to take in and key points to start with, I suppose.
Killian Vigna: Yeah. Like what I love most was, it doesn’t sound like this is part of your job. It just sounds like this is what you guys just love. Yeah. It’s what you love and it’s what everyone should be doing by the sounds of it.
Kristina Malone: Oh absolutely. We love coming to work. It’s not work. We’re family.
Killian Vigna: Exactly. Yeah.
Kristina Malone: We love coming to see each other. So it’s nice and our clients are like friends.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Thank you so much for being on the show Kristina. This was absolutely great. Really appreciate the time that you took.
Kristina Malone: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: And now to top off episode 28 of this Phorest FM podcast, we’re going to head off to the Phorest Academy webinar section, and as usual we have our two main ones. So the retail webinar, which is on June 7th from 3 PM to 4 PM, UK Ireland time. 10 AM to 11 US Eastern time. And our Facebook Master Class on June 12th. Same time. So 3 PM to 4 PM UK Ireland, 10 to 11 US Eastern time.
So that’s pretty much it in terms of the next upcoming webinars, and all our events are on our Facebook page. You just register for free tickets.
Killian Vigna: Yeah. Sweet. All right. Well, I hope you enjoyed today’s show about customer experiences from Kristina from Waxperts.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Yeah. I thought it was really really informative and really clear. To the point. Great inspiration as well for anyone who’s listening to the show.
Killian Vigna: And like I said, there was points there where people focus so much about customer experience in the salon and after the salon, they were actually teaching us how to provide excellent customer service before they even come into your salon.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Before you’re even a client.
Killian Vigna: Yeah. Yeah. Before they’re a client, of course. Yeah. So yeah, that’s a wrap of this week’s show.
Zoe Bélisle-Springer: Well enjoy your week. Hope you had a great bank holiday weekend, and we will catch you next Monday.
Killian Vigna: All the best.
Thanks for reading!