Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 5. 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 5

The main topic of this episode is SOP Manuals, and why your salon needs one. Guest Valerie Delforge, founder and CEO of Delforge and Co., speaks on the benefits of having a creation manual, and how you can start the process of putting one together. We also spend time discussing the salon apps provided by Phorest, and how you can use the different features from these to improve your salon’s performance.  



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Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode five. I’m your host Killian Vigna, and today I’m joined by Zoe Belisle-Springer. Today we brought in our main salon smartphone app man Shane Dolan to answer some unanswered questions about all the different apps and what makes this one stand out. We’ll invite our special guest blogger to go through the ins and outs of writing a salon slash spa procedure manual, and we’ll wrap up with some upcoming webinars in the Phorest Academy series. So let’s get started. This podcast is a weekly roundup of our latest tips and tricks for salon owners, what’s been going on in and around Phorest, and what new webinars are taking place. This podcast is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment, with a cup of coffee for your day off. Now, let’s get into the show.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Hey how are you?

Killian Vigna: So Zoe, the blogs today we have … Now we do, we’ve three different blogs up today all right?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yep.

Killian Vigna: One is from our special guest.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, Valerie Delforge.

Killian Vigna: Valerie Delforge. And then we have another one talking about the smartphones, with Shane Dolan.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly yeah, so it’s a blog where you have a little demo that you can click and play with the app that we offer in Phorest, but I think that our smartphone app man is the best to talk about this.

Killian Vigna: Our app man Shane Dolan. Let’s go.

Shane Dolan: Hi how’s it going?

Killian Vigna: So like Shane, the reason we have this ’cause there’s a bit of confusion going on with the different apps and stuff at the moment. So what exactly is the salon smartphone app?

Shane Dolan: Yeah, so we do have quite a lot of apps available on the Phorest platform. So we have Phorest Go app, which most salons be familiar with for checking their appointments and stuff, and keeping on top of things. We have our client card app, which is basically for the salons to download onto an iPad and get their new clients information.

Killian Vigna: Yep.

Shane Dolan: And then we have the salon smartphone apps, which is a smartphone app that we would design purely for your salon so be all about their branding.

Killian Vigna: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shane Dolan: And we do that for the iPhone and the Android. And it would be for your clients to download and book appointments through 24/7. So effectively it is like a 24-hour receptionist that’s always there, and they can book at a time that suits them.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: But not only that, but you can also have a look at the team and,

Shane Dolan: Exactly, yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: the treat card points and-

Shane Dolan: So we’ve got a lot of cool features, and we’re constantly adding new features to it as well. So we’re constantly gathering new feedback we’ve got I think about 250,000 now active users of the app so-

Killian Vigna: 250,000?

Shane Dolan: That’s clients of our salons, so … And they’re the people that use the app on a daily basis so we gather their feedback always, see what ways they’d like to see it improve or things they like of it. And then we speak with development, see if it’s possible, get it added in. So no matter what it is, we’re always open to suggestion.

Killian Vigna: So I suppose, what’s the actual customer journey through the app. So I can, it comes at a small fee to the salon owner, but as a client of the salon how do I go about … Is it free or do I have to pay or …?

Shane Dolan: Yeah so it’s extremely affordable for the salon. It is something that we thought about, and it’s a monthly payment that’s extremely attainable. With the actual app itself, once they’re built and developed it is free to download. And we even help market it out to clients. So once the salon signs up, we’ll do the marketing for you. We’ll make your clients aware of this; we’ll send them emails. We can do SMS campaigns as another avenue we can take, which has a really successful download rate. So there are loads of possible ways of doing things.

With the actual app itself, like you touched on there, there is one of our features that would entice customers and incentivize them to kinda use them and go to like the treat card points. So TreatCard, obviously the guys from loyalty are brilliant, they set it up for you. And very similar to the app, another area is that we’re all a team. The beauty of it is, we do everything for you. So once it’s set up, it pretty much runs itself.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Shane Dolan: And that’s what kinda I guess makes it different to any other app, or booking app on the market or in the hair and beauty industry.

Killian Vigna: Yep.

Shane Dolan: You know, you might get an appointment showing up, but that appointment isn’t secure. And that means you could get somebody that requests an appointment at 10 o’clock at night, but it’s not until the following day when your receptionist or salon manager sees his appointment, check that the appointment is still free and then goes back to the client.

Killian Vigna: So it actually … You still need a person.

Shane Dolan: Exactly, so there’s still that human interaction that still needs to confirm, but at which point somebody might have already called in and taken that appointment, leads to double bookings.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Whereas with-

Shane Dolan: With our smartphone app-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly-

Shane Dolan: Once you’ve booked that appointment, like our online bookings, that appointment is secure it goes into the appointment screen. The client is notified, and you are notified. And you can go to bed on a Tuesday night with five appointment slots free on Wednesday, and when you turn up on Wednesday morning, they could all be filled.

Killian Vigna: So you’re essentially taking bookings while you’re sleeping.

Shane Dolan: Exactly, salon hours are [crosstalk 00:04:59].

Killian Vigna: And the main thing here for salon owners is the app talks to your system. They’re both in sync together,

Shane Dolan: Exactly.

Killian Vigna: there’s no human interaction in the middle and … Yeah, so we know now that the clients can book online through the app. What else can they do? They can use the treat cards.

Shane Dolan: Yeah so the treat card is something that we integrated into the iPhone app so clients would be able to see how many treat card points they have, how far aways they are from a treat or reward you’ve set up. If they’re able to claim a reward, they can obviously then redeem it. But like normal they’d have to redeem it with a paid service.

Killian Vigna: Yep.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shane Dolan: So that’s a really good incentive to keep your clients on top of things. Because we’re all part of loyalty programs, where you might have to go to two websites. You might have to ask somebody at the till “How many points have I got?”. And you’re asking them to relay the information to you, where you’re giving your client that control, to see what treat they can have or reward they can have.

Killian Vigna: Yep.

Shane Dolan: And that’s just one feature we have. And meet the team section, really popular feature. Clients love it to be honest. So basically this is where you could create your own online profile on your Phorest system again. So with the app itself, once we build it there are no worries about updating. And we don’t do anything; it’s not complicated it’s not a different setting. Everything operates through you Phorest software. So once you update prices, staff members, anything like that, it will automatically update the app.

Killian Vigna: Again it’s talking to it.

Shane Dolan: Again it talk to it, it runs itself. So once it’s set up, it runs itself. And that what makes it so easy and stress-free.

Killian Vigna: Am I right in saying that, the page on the smartphone users that have checked out, that has the most hits is actually the meet the team.

Shane Dolan: Yeah, last time we time we run the reports… It could be down to nosy clients; I don’t know. It could be like some people … So basically-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well I don’t know. If I take my experience of booking online, I like to know what kind of style of the-

Shane Dolan: Exactly. That’s what we always recommend.

Killian Vigna: Their background.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah their background.

Shane Dolan: Exactly, their experience.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: What they- Yeah exactly, what they’re comfortable with and …

Shane Dolan: Yeah. People say to us all the time, “What should be put in there?”. So basically in the Phorest system, under each staff member, there’s an online profile, there’s a white text box that you can type in.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Shane Dolan: And that would appear as that description. And people always say, “What should we write our-”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So you could put like specializes-

Shane Dolan: “What do we put in?”.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: In color or something like that.

Shane Dolan: Exactly. “I’ve been a stylist for 15 years I studied at … My inspirations are … My personality is … And that’s one way of doing it. So that would be for say … It’s great for if you’re first time into the salon, or your first time booking appointments. You may have tried a salon down the road; they don’t have online booking, so they don’t have an app. You’ve rang the phone; you’ve rang the phone, can’t get through. But you really need an appointment. Somebody tells you about the app, you download it, and you pick a stylist. That’s one way.

Another way that we see is really useful, and it’s happened to me myself, and I’m sure it’s happened to you guys as well. Where you might go, for example, I went to the barber’s got my hair cut. And I really liked my haircut but couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of that barber. Not even having a clue who he is, what he is. But if I’ve seen his face, that’s him.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, yeah.

Shane Dolan: So guys like that as well. Again, if you have your Christmas party coming up, birthday party coming up, a social event, you want to make an appointment. You see that you’re a regular, I normally book in with Killian every Friday, Killian’s fully booked. What am I doing to do? I’m going to look for the next best person, or closest to Killian style wise that would suit me for my appointment.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Shane Dolan: And then have a look. And it’s really cool, it really is. And the clients love it. They really love it.

Killian Vigna: I loved your example there of, you’ve got the book in the hand, and you couldn’t remember your man’s name. ‘Cause that actually happened to me two weeks ago, so I have this-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh same here.

Killian Vigna: I have this tendency-

Shane Dolan: Happens all the time.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, but I have this tendency of, I tend to leave my hair about two, three months. Because I’m always wearing hats. So it just flattens my hair. But I made the decision two weeks ago, “Okay I’m going to get my hair cut.” And I sat down, and I told the girl I was like, “Listen, do whatever you think.” And she did it, and I have never gotten more compliments in my life over a haircut. But unfortunately I don’t know who she is, I don’t know her face and they were using pen and paper so I couldn’t even follow them up. But I’m gonna have to go walk back in and go, “I want you”.

Shane Dolan: [crosstalk 00:09:06].

Killian Vigna: Yeah, because I’m petrified to go to anyone else now because I know, all right someone has given me a good style.

Shane Dolan: Exactly. That’s why it’s so good as well. Like as he said, if you see her picture it’s like, “That’s the girl that made me gorgeous.”

Killian Vigna: She made me beautiful.

Shane Dolan: Yeah exactly.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: All right. So if anyone- Oh-

Killian Vigna: Oh that’s my elbow.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: If any Phorest clients are listening right now and they want to get an app, they just contact you I suppose?

Shane Dolan: Exactly. Yeah so on the blog as well you’ll be able to see it, and you can contact him and ask him yourself, Shane Dolan. And there are loads of other cool features up. You can go to like there are the maps, we have it integrated with Google maps. So somebody normally travels from their house to your salon, but this day they’re shopping in a different part of Dublin or a different part of the town. They touch the map it will give them the quickest possible directions. We’ve a photo gallery for before and after work. But essentially the main functionality is a really smooth, really slick online booking experience for your clients. Very similar to, nowadays where you’re ordering food, you’re booking flights, it’s through an app. I went away last month; I had my boarding card on my phone. True enough, it’s crazy. Even taxi now, you’d use Hailo, and other apps like this.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Shane Dolan: You know, you don’t even ring a cab firm anymore you just use apps. And hair and beauty industry is no different your clients want this available to them in this industry, just like it is in every other industry.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. And like I know, just before we wrap up on that. I know some people might say, “Oh well Halo and stuff, they’re marketplace”. Yeah, they are marketplaces but then you’ve the classic example of Domino’s pizza, they made their own. So instead of Just Eat or Marvin or any of those marketplace eateries, they made their own app. And it became massive. It’s just a Domino’s app.

Shane Dolan: And they encourage the use of it by offering discounts, which lessens the time that people are on the phones and makes the actual premises more available for work and for doing things. Very similar to the app, you can display special offers through it.

Killian Vigna: Yep.

Shane Dolan: So it could be 10% off when you book online through apps. Things like that, you’re encouraging people to go and use it, take the stress away from you. And as we said, like essentially the whole function of it is, your clients will be able to have an appointment securely booked that you can relax and know they’re coming in.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Even if-

Shane Dolan: Even if you’re not there.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: They book at like 11 pm.

Shane Dolan: Exactly. Even if it’s two o’clock in the morning.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Shane Dolan: Because you don’t know … Your clients, guys are gonna be busy in salons up until Christmas, but so are your clients. They are going to be manic in their day to day lives. So they want something that’s really quick, really slick, really easy to use. And people say it’s not a younger thing. My mother even uses it for her hair appointment. And for getting her nails done, she uses Phorest clients apps. And she things it’s the easiest thing ever. Three or four taps-

Killian Vigna: It’s four taps.

Shane Dolan: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: It’s four taps [crosstalk 00:11:50].

Shane Dolan: Rather than, we also get, “We have it on our website”. Well, the question is, if you’re on your phone you gonna … I think that stat was like 85% of people use apps. They’re not going to go open safari and zoom in, zoom out website navigate round. When you can download an app open it, book it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well when you think of it, like four taps you’re composing a phone number is more than four taps.

Shane Dolan: Exactly and waiting for it to ring, waiting for someone to pick up, checking availability. Whereas you have full control. You can do it all.

Killian Vigna: But even on the apps there you said … We went to a conference there a few weeks back, and they were saying they reckon in the next twenty years it’s going to be all apps. Your browser is going to essentially be gone.

Shane Dolan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Killian Vigna: Because think about it, how many apps do you actually use on your phone? You’ve got your social media apps; this isn’t a social media app this is an essential tool.

Shane Dolan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Shane Dolan: Exactly, yeah.

Killian Vigna: So just very last question, what apps, what phone? Does it matter what phone you’re using?

Shane Dolan: So we have the Android app, and we have the iPhone app. So it covers the smartphone spectrum. So we found that the best and most popular choice of phone within clients was the iPhone and Apple in particular.

Killian Vigna: Yep.

Shane Dolan: So we have that an then also Android covers pretty much every other phone.

Killian Vigna: But that doesn’t even matter because when you sign up, you get both anyway.

Shane Dolan: Exactly, so once you sign up for one you get both apps. We covered everything as we said, we would literally need … People say,  “We’re so busy we couldn’t commit” we do everything for you. We build the app; we send you screenshots of how it’s going to look. And then once you approve and once you give us the go ahead, you’re looking to seven to ten days, and you’ll have your apps ready for download, ready to make some money.

Killian Vigna: Shane, that’s absolutely brilliant. We just, we felt like we really needed to kinda clear this open a bit more. Because there was a bit of confusion about the app. So hopefully now people have a bit better understanding of what the salon smartphone app is.

Shane Dolan: Hopefully yeah. Thanks very much.

Killian Vigna: So, that’s brilliant there.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, thanks a mill.

Shane Dolan: Thanks for having me.

Killian Vigna: So today we’re joined by Valerie Delforge. Valerie is the founder and CEO of Delforge and Co. And today she’s going to talk about the ins and outs of writing a salon spa procedure manual. So, Valerie, I suppose before … We’re dying to get into the blog but if you just want to give a little background about yourself here for our listeners.

Valerie Delforge: Yes of course. I’ve been in the industry for 25 years, so spa and beauty salons in the UK and also France. I’ve decided to create my own company, which is mentoring, coaching and also commercial training, to give back really. Which is what I’m aiming to do. To have managed very very large chains and very large spas, so, therefore, believe in your creation manual 150%.

Killian Vigna: So you know this sort of stuff inside out. You’re dealing with procedure manuals every day nearly.

Valerie Delforge: Absolutely. Yes, it’s eat and breathe procedures basically.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So from your experience, do salons … Like most of salons, do they have a procedure manual already, or it’s something kind of new to them when you propose it?

Valerie Delforge: It’s very very prominent in spas that are in hotels. So hotel spas because they have to have the procedures for obviously the hotel background. And usually, the GM requires it. But otherwise, I have rarely seen it in smaller ventures and definitely non-existent in salons. I think people know they need to do it, but they don’t necessarily understand why and how to start.

Killian Vigna: So even though you’re saying it’s mostly for kinda the bigger hotels and spas, the hairdressers and beauty salons and stuff, they can still benefit from some variation of this is it?

Valerie Delforge: Absolutely, huge, huge benefit from it. And I think with hotels and spas they have so many procedures so they can’t get away with it, they have to have it. But it should be, as far as I’m concerned, it should be a legal requirement because it’s going to help you in many many aspects of your business.

Killian Vigna: And it’s best practice too. If you start off doing this sort of stuff, it’s going to stick with you, isn’t it?

Valerie Delforge: Yes, yes totally. It’s basically the blueprint of your business. It helps you to define who you are as a business. So it’s, to me, the crucial element. It’s a little bit like the core, the foundation of everything that you need.

Killian Vigna: Exactly. So I suppose like we know a lot of the hotel spas are going to be dealing with this every day, but for a salon owner that might not actually have something like this in place, what exactly is the value on what kind of procedures would you put into it?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Like concrete examples maybe even.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So I mean to me … Well, an SOP manual is absolutely everything that you do within your business. So for example, you would have all your HR procedures. How you do recruit, where do you recruit from? Where did you put your adverts? How much are you prepared to spend on recruitment? How are you going to … Are you going to do a telephone interview? If yes, what questions are you asking in telephone interviews? Have you got an application form when the interviewee is coming to see you? What does it look like? Do you then have to interview and what’s the procedures afterwards? It’s very very very important to detail out absolutely everything that you do. So that’s on their chart, it can be health and safety. It can be on, for example, a simple procedure like you’ve lost the keys of the salon, where- who’s got the spare keys, who do you call if you’ve lost that key? The locksmith that you’ve got nearby, that’s the cheapest, that’s the one you use, so you’re familiar with.

They whole point of the SOP manual is that if you’re away from the business, anyone can have access to it and understand the procedures you want to apply to your business.

Killian Vigna: So it’s almost like a complete backup. It really is a blueprint when you say it like that. So you’re out of the office, and you have your backup in place then. So the next person in line, even if they’ve never run a day without you, they’ve got that bible there essentially.

Valerie Delforge: That’s it. That’s exactly that. But it’s also … That’s kind of the basic of it, but it’s also more than that. It’s essential if you wanted to open another salon because you would want the other salon to be proceeding in the same way. So if you’ve got more than one salon, it’s essential to have the same standards across spots. So, therefore, you would have that bible following you everywhere basically. Detailing your whole business. That’s very very important.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So would this be the task of the salon owner or a collaborative task between the salon owner and the manager?

Valerie Delforge: To be honest with you, it’s something that’s quite a huge task to do. So the salon owner doing it on his own is fine, but I think they’d want the manager to be involved. You do want the managers to be involved because you know they might know a locksmith that is a lot cheaper across the town, they might know procedures that you want to implement actually are not viable necessarily to the business. So it’s really important that it’s a manual that the managers and the owners believe in and understand it if that makes sense. So yeah it would be a collaboration as far as I’m concerned.

So I can give you a list of what you should have in there. You definitely should have your HR, your health and safety, your training procedures, your cleaning procedures, your stock management, all the back office that you should have in there. So the protocols and marketing calendar the staff router, the security, the salon opening, the closing of the salon, the reception. What you do at reception, how do you answer the phone? Very very clear detailed.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Right.

Killian Vigna: So for someone that doesn’t have this in place at the moment, how would they exactly go about starting it? Is it …? It really is just kinda down to them.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s intimidating too.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, there’s a lot of information. Now we know it’s gonna be, once you get it completed it’s gonna be fantastic like-

Valerie Delforge: Amazing.

Killian Vigna: Yeah amazing. But where is a good starting point?

Valerie Delforge: Yeah I think half of the problem is a lot of managers or owners know they need to do it, but they don’t quite know where to start, so they don’t start it.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: It’s quite a huge cast. I would start with what you feel is very very important in your business right now. So is there a problem at reception and you feel the reception is not functioning? Start with that. The main one probably, I would start with HR. Because HR is always a huge task, and we’re always a little bit confused. But also it gives the team a clear point of where they stand. So, for example, the grooming standards. What are the grooming standards? And anything to do with HR is quite important. On top of that, the procedures for HR, for example, will allow you to support you if you’ve got any issue with staff. You know?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: So if you’ve got someone that has a problem… You’ve got someone who’s really terrible with their staff grooming if she has signed that procedure … So that particular procedure and make it signed. If she has signed that procedure, you’ve got a backup. They’ve kind of bought into your procedure for grooming.

Killian Vigna: Yeah exactly, you’re agreeing to it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So this book-

Valerie Delforge: You’re agreeing to it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So this book, it’s accessible to pretty much everyone in the company, correct? Or is this just a reference for the manager and the salon owner?

Valerie Delforge: So it’s accessible for everyone, however, be very careful that they don’t take it home and take your procedures and go and create their own salon with your procedures.

Killian Vigna: Plagiarise everything, yeah.

Valerie Delforge: Yeah, it’s accessible without being accessible if that makes sense. So I used to keep it in my office, and my office when I left was locked. And the only people that had the keys was the managers. So I knew it would be safe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Okay.

Valerie Delforge: Any newcomer, I would make sure that they would read the manual, they would sign where is needed. So there are procedures I want them to sign, like the grooming standards, I want them to sign that. I’m not necessarily going to want them to sign who to phone when there’s a problem with the keys. There’s no point doing that; it’d be silly. But there are some procedures that you want them to sign so they buy into it and they have … You know it’s contractual in a way. They’ve understood what you’ve wanted from them.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, you’re making sure everyone is on the same page.

Valerie Delforge: Yeah, that’s it. They’re all on the same page. So I used to have it on my desk because it’s not a manual that you want to be on the shelf and no one looks at it. Or they look at it every year, just for the sake of it.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: That’s on the desk, it’s accessible, we know the procedures. If there’s a new procedure that we want to implement, then we would create that procedure. If the team needs to know about that procedure, then we make them sign, if we need to get them to sign, and then we add it to the book. So I’ll give you an example, for example with laundry.

Killian Vigna: Laundry?

Valerie Delforge: I had a client who had problems with the laundry. Because the girls were not doing the laundry enough and she had to buy some more towels, and obviously towels cost a lot of money.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: And the girls we not bothering with the laundry. Or they were bothering only when, as in when it was necessary. You know when they were running out. And they kept complaining, “We need more towels, we need more towels”. But actually when you looked at what was happening, if they did the laundry every day at four o’clock it would be ready for the following morning, nice and dry. So they didn’t need to buy more towels if that makes sense.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Valerie Delforge: So we created a procedure for the laundry, and we got the team to sign, and they knew that at four o’clock they need to put wash on, they need to deal with all they laundry. So it was quite clear what was expected of them.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, it’s part of their job, they’ve signed it, they’ve agreed to it. Why aren’t they doing it anymore? Well go back to your book then and double check that there.

Valerie Delforge: That’s it. It’s exactly that. So anything to do with training as well for example. That’s a big one, isn’t it? So I get a lot of clients who have issues with, “Do I get the girls to pay for the training? What if they leave?”

Killian Vigna: Yes, yeah.

Valerie Delforge: You know, “What happens?”. So there’s a procedure for training, so we pay for your training. However, for the year if you leave within three months you have to pay 90% of it, if you leave within six months, you have to pay 70% of it. So you have that procedure you’ve written, and they know what to expect it they leave.

Killian Vigna: And that-

Valerie Delforge: Within the first year of employment.

Killian Vigna: That goes for most fields, not even just in salons. But you are expected, if the company’s going to cover your training, you can’t exactly just leave straight away. So some people writing that, they might think it’s harsh, but it’s not. It’s … You’re investing in them, so you’re expecting them to stick around a bit.

Valerie Delforge: Yeah. I mean most companies do it anyway. And I think … You know sometimes it’s very hard to implement these. It’s not if it’s within the first year. You can definitely have something that’s enforced in their contract

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Valerie Delforge: But the SOP manual allows you not to change the contracts every two minutes. Because obviously to change a contract for something like the training, if you haven’t got it in your contract right now you don’t want to change the whole contract, have everyone to sign. It’s a little bit of a nightmare to do that. So if you have the SOP manual it’s actually part of, it can be part of the contract. Some aspect of it.

Killian Vigna: Yeah-

Valerie Delforge: So, therefore, you can update it as and when you feel is needed.

Killian Vigna: So it’s like a sure form way like you said instead of having to do up a whole new contract or anything like that.

Valerie Delforge: That’s it. So you can have that. But it is difficult to think, “Okay, where do I start, where do I start?” And that’s half of the problem as for why it’s not done is because it’s very daunting task.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Valerie Delforge: So many procedures when you think about it. But I would say HR or anything you feel needs your attention. So one of my clients, beyond HR was the reception. The reception was in chaos basically. So we started with the reception manual. There was literally a manual for the reception. What to do, when to do, how to do the opening, what to do in the evening. Even when to clean. It was very detailed, but it needs to be.

Killian Vigna: Yeah it does.

Valerie Delforge: So the team knows exactly where they stand.

Killian Vigna: Yeah it needs to be, but I suppose there’s no real … Like, I like what you said there earlier about start where you know there’s a problem. Start with that, because it’s like when we write any of our e-books or anything like that you’re going, “Where do I start?”. So what we do is we come up with a table of contents. But usually, we know what we’re going to write about, so a table of contents helps us. But that whole idea of starting with your HR and just work with anything that kinda pops out then. So you can always keep adding to the blueprint.

Valerie Delforge: Absolutely.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: Absolutely. And you know some people have it … I’ve done it for a client in six days. There was, you know nine o’clock in the morning til six o’clock we really worked on the whole SOP manual. In six days we managed to do the whole thing.

Killian Vigna: Six days?

Valerie Delforge: But it’s a full six days.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: Some people don’t have a full six days to give, you know? So I had a client who’d done it throughout the year. Every month she was focusing on parts of the SOP manual, and then at the end of the year, it was created. And that’s okay because she created with what was, she felt need attention. So throughout the year she just added to it, she just created more procedures. And it worked, it was actually fine. It’s not like, “Oh my god I need to have it straight away right now.” It’s a matter of pace. Start slowly, start with what you believe is the issue and then work from that.

Killian Vigna: And is this something that you could sit down with your staff and get them involved in identifying areas? Because we know trying to manage everything yourself can be a nightmare and it can take up a lot of time. But you might have a member of staff that is identified a problem in the salon that you weren’t even aware of. So would you be able to kind of get them involved in writing that up then or would you prefer to just keep it to the manager and salon owner?

Valerie Delforge: I think you can, to certain extent, because you don’t want to give too much power in the whole procedures, if that makes sense.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: So I think you can talk to that person, identify what they believe and how they function. And how maybe they’re right. Maybe the procedure you’ve got at the moment is actually, aren’t realistic. So yeah, get feedback but don’t get them to write the procedure. The procedure needs to come from management.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: Because it’s what you’re expecting of your staff. But you can definitely talk about the procedures to the others. But I would keep it at management level in terms of the actual writing.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So basically … Okay, we’re going to wrap this up but basically, one of the best takeaways that salon owners can get from this if they’re not quite sure of writing this, is that it actually unifies customer service and experience at the end of the day. If they start by identifying the pain points and write about that, then it’s just a first step to having a better, healthy business.

Valerie Delforge: It’s exactly that. It’s the first step … And it should be the title of this actually. It’s the first step of creating the best customer journey. Why should you focus on the reception? Because… is because the customer journey is not going to be the best. If you create the best customer journey at reception level, surely you’re starting the business really well, isn’t it? So yes it’s exactly that. It’s ultimately to give the best customer journey. And to keep standard and the same uniform ideology you want in your business. And for people that want two or three business, it is definitely a must. You cannot avoid it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: But it’s something that’s flexible, that’s accessible and that you can start tomorrow. Tomorrow you can give yourself a list, and you can go ahead and start. There’s no excuses. So I live and breathe by SOP manual. The first thing I do when I meet a client is, “Right, let’s look at your SOP”. Because it’s the heart of your business, it’s what you want your business to do.

Another thing I’d like to add very quickly is that someone’s asked me, “Can you just send me all the blueprint and I’ll just add my name on there?”

Killian Vigna: Can they give me the template basically.

Valerie Delforge: You can’t really do that. You can to a certain extent on some points. But you can’t really do that. Why? Because everybody’s got a very different customer journey.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Valerie Delforge: You want something different in your business then your competitors, isn’t it? So actually the way they function in reception, might be different to the way they function on somewhere else. So how can we give you a blueprint, you’ve got to create that blueprint. And I think that’s what puts people off. It’s that, “Where do I start?” – start from the heart. This is your business. How do you want people to answer the phone, how do you want people to … What do they say, do they smile, do they say their name? Do they say welcome to blah blah blah. So it’s yours. It’s your thought process, and it’s your business. That’s why it’s important that it needs to come from you, rather than something that you can copy.

Killian Vigna: Yeah so essentially take your time, break it down into baby steps. Don’t go taking it all whole.

Valerie Delforge: Yes.

Killian Vigna: Listen, Valerie, that’s been absolutely fantastic today. Because you’ve taken something that I’m sure a lot of salon owners are finding really daunting. Like when you tell them that you need to create a manual, everyone just thinks of like when you get a fridge manual or something that’s full of technical aspects and stuff.

Valerie Delforge: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: But it’s not really, it just identifies one key area, and like you said to try and start with the HR and just work from there.

Valerie Delforge: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: Take it into baby steps.

Valerie Delforge: It’s exactly that. And you’ll find that once you start it … I know that all the clients I’ve got that have got the SOP manual they live and breathe through it. Once you start it, you’re very excited to add to it. You know it’s a nice process. It actually allows whatever you’re thinking in your head, to put it on black and white paper. And it facilitates the communication between managers and the team.

Killian Vigna: Yeah and eventually you’re gonna just be digging and digging you’re gonna try to find more and more. And you’re gonna get wrapped up in it. You’re gonna enjoy it.

Valerie Delforge: Absolutely.

Killian Vigna: That’s basically what we’re trying to say. Don’t be scared.

Valerie Delforge: Yeah I mean you have … Can I give you one quick more example? Have I got time?

Killian Vigna: You can yeah.

Valerie Delforge: I have a customer who’s a therapist who takes it upon herself to bring her own nail varnish. So she bought her own nail varnish to create the manicures. So obviously she’s not allowed. Now in the SOP procedure, there’s nothing … You can’t think, “I’m going to write that in the SOP manual” because you wouldn’t think the therapist would do that right? You wouldn’t think someone’s going to bring their own nail varnish to do their manicures in your salon. You don’t come across to that. So once she realised that was happening, she then created a procedure and then it managed to be a standard across her salons that, no you can’t bring your nail varnish. And then all the therapists signed it. And that was fine, and that was a blueprint for her.

Killian Vigna: That’s a classic example, but it’s not one you’d think of straight away was it?

Valerie Delforge: No you wouldn’t think, “I’m going create a procedure just for people who bring their own stuff.” Of course, you’re not going to think about that, because you assume people are not going to think that way.

Killian Vigna: Exactly yeah.

Valerie Delforge: So …

Killian Vigna: Well listen,

Valerie Delforge: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: Valerie it’s been absolutely amazing having you on, and I’m glad we were able to go through that and hopefully now that will give salon owners a bit of a better idea of how to approach the mountain per se.

Valerie Delforge: Yeah. So do I hope I’m going to go across the UK and Ireland and finding loads of SOP manuals?

Killian Vigna: All the same.

Valerie Delforge: Thank you very much.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Thank you so much for your time today.

Killian Vigna: Take care.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s great talking to you.

Valerie Delforge: Thanks, bye.

Killian Vigna: Bye, bye. So we’re just going to wrap up today then. We’re going to go through upcoming webinars. So the upcoming webinars that we have the salon owners summit 2017. So that’s hosted by Alex Quinn and has everything you need to know about this year’s event. And then we have …

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And then there’s also on December 5th there’s a client retention master class going on, presented by Chris Brennan. And myself, I present the Snapchat webinar on December 12th.

Killian Vigna: And that’s 10 am in Eastern European time? Or GMT, so Irish time?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah Irish time.

Killian Vigna: Irish time. Yep, and we also have two gift card events then coming up on Wednesday the 30th of November with a 10 am one and then we have a 5 pm one, Irish time.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: There you go. And one last thing, last week we actually talked about the DIY ideas for Christmas. This week there’s actually a toolkit, a marketing toolkit for December ideas. It’s available for a free download. It’s on the blog. Not actually gonna spend time talking, it’s very clear there.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s all about planning and you know filling in quiet times for January, preparing that in advance. So just have a look a the blog, and you know, it’s available for free download so why not make use of it?

Killian Vigna: Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: There you go.

Killian Vigna: Brilliant.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: All right. Well thanks a mill for tuning in, and we’ll catch you next week.

Killian Vigna: All the best everyone.

Thanks for reading!


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