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Setting new standards in customer service

'I'd rather put money into training and developing my staff than a press ad in the local newspaper.'
Chantelle Masci, Masci Hair and Spa

Top tips

  • Value your staff
  • Be consistent
  • Get to know your clients, and pamper them
  • Remember that details matter

The business

Great customer service is a passion for Chantelle Masci, business manager of Masci Hair and Spa. Chantelle's mother Frances opened the family's first salon in 1968. Today, Masci Hair and Spa operates in three Melbourne locations, including its 'dream salon' in Eltham, a wellness hair and day spa.

The business has always relied on word-of-mouth to reach new clients, so great customer service is essential.

Extra touches add to the overall customer experience

'Even as far back as 15 years ago, our whole focus was on customer service. We were offering lattes and cappuccinos in the salon long before that was the normal thing to do, and giving clients face massages with their treatment as well as the standard head massage.'

Because of these extra touches, the business has built a strong base of loyal customers over the years.

The business now offers clients 'sensory journeys', the choice of a range of essential oils for hair treatments and men’s face massages, depending on one's mood. It has also re-jigged its face massages and salons offer a beverage menu with organic teas. 'We know our clients' coffee orders, we know if they prefer not to have a head massage, we know which magazines they like to read – it's a total package.'

The aspects that customers don't notice are perhaps the most important: 'We teach staff that knowing your client begins from when you wake up in the morning. How you choose to dress that day, how you choose to do your hair – it should all depend on the clients you know you'll be seeing that day.'

Listen to your clients

Although customer service had always been a priority, opening the day spa salon prompted Chantelle to think about how to take service to new heights.

'I've always had an interest in the wellness side of things, and I noticed that the connections between the spa staff and their clients were different from those formed in the hair salon,' she says.

Chantelle decided to find out what clients really want from their hair salon experience. Through client satisfaction surveys and informal chats, she found that most people want the same attentive, personal experience during their hair appointment that they would receive in a spa.

She asked the Spa Manager to spend some time in each salon and suggest improvements. 'We decided to use what we do in the spa as a guideline for the hair salons – for how we serve and connect with our clients.'

Running regular workshops helps improve staff skills

One result was the introduction of 'Know your client' – a training program for all Masci staff that makes every moment of the client experience deliberate and considered. Staff are re-trained in everything from face massages to appointment booking, and guest speakers and mystery clients add perspectives. Masci closes for a half day every quarter so that all staff can participate in the program.

How to maintain high standards

Take care of your staff 

Chantelle says your staff are your most important asset. 'To us, our staff are our family, and we teach them to look after themselves and their wellbeing first and foremost. If you don’t look after yourself how can you expect to look after your clients?'

Be consistent

Masci customers know they will receive the same quality of service no matter which location they visit. Not only does this strengthen the brand, it also helps to encourage Masci hair clients to try out the spa salon and vice versa.

Remember that details matter

Masci's trains its staff to remember the little things, such as making sure there's always an umbrella handy to walk clients to their car on rainy days to keep their haircut pristine: 'How our clients are treated when they leave the salon makes a lasting impression, so we put a lot of time into training our receptionists, and we encourage our stylists to walk clients to the door.'

Find out what your customers really want

Regular client surveys have been invaluable for Masci. The business offers a $20 voucher for completing the regular client satisfaction survey, and has a huge response each time. 'The value of the information and insight we get from these surveys is huge, and it far outweighs the costs of the vouchers.'

'We've always relied on word-of-mouth, and so it's essential our clients have a great experience with us. We want to do more than just serve our clients – we want to delight and surprise them! It's often the little things that make the difference.'

The result

Chantelle believes the new approach has been far more effective than paid advertising, 'Staff who previously weren't booked at full capacity are now booked at 80 or 90%, up from 50%. The rosters are busier, and we've had great feedback from clients.'