Term Paper: Services Organization Recovery a Hair Salon

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Services Organization Recovery: Hair Salon

Service recovery is a marketing concept that encapsulates the most customer-focused marketing strategy possible. According to Fred van Bennekom (no date given), the goal of service recovery is to identify customers with issues and then address those issues to the customer's satisfaction. It is believed that by doing this, it promotes customer retention and positive word-of-mouth.

The underlying economic case for service recovery is simple - it costs a lot of money to win a customer in the first place, much more than it will cost to retain them. Moreover, bad experiences lead customers to bad mouth the company, resulting in a decline in future business. Yet many firms do not actively engage in service recovery. Van Bennekom (no date given) outlined five stages of service recovery, from the lowest (moribund) to the highest (infused). Often times service firms fall into either the second-lowest (reactive) or middle (active listening) category. In this case I will consider a hair salon, and how to bring the service recovery function to the highest level.

Timeline Act I



Contact Person (visible)

Contact Person (invisible)

Back Stage

Physical Interaction internal)

IT processes

Book the appointment


Response time

Script for booking

Sound & tone of voice if in person

Appearance of employee

Building exterior

Building interior

Nature of neighborhood

Accept appointment

Confirm appt details

Check availability

Maintain appt book

Maintain stylist schedule

Maintain phone service

Confirm Appointment

Script for confirmation

Sound & tone of voice

Confirm appt details

Mark appt as confirmed

Maintain appt book

Maintain stylist schedule

Maintain customer contact info

Maintain phone service

Customer arrival


Appearance/demeanor of reception staff

Reading material

Decor of salon

Comfort of furniture

Script for greeting

Sound & tone of voice

Greet customer

Confirm appointment

Update appt status

Offer reading material

Inform stylist of arrival

Acquire reading material

Maintain appt book

Maintain premises

Act II

The Consultation (F)

Script for consultation

Stylist attentiveness

Stylist responsiveness to customer needs

Breadth of styling options

Discuss the options

Devise a plan with customer

Formulate plan

Stylist training

Maintain premises

The Styling (W, F)

Quality of styling

Time to complete

Adherence to consultation

Shampoo, rinse, cut, dry, color, style

Stylist training

Store supplies

Acquire supplies

Maintain premises

Post-Style Consultation (F)

Script for post-style consultation

Level of stylist concern

Possible involvement of salon staff

Consult with client regarding quality of the workmanship

Possible sale of supplies

Managerial oversight

Store supplies

Acquisition & delivery of supplies

Maintain premises


Inform client of monies owing

Receive payment

Opportunity to solicit feedback

Possibly set up next appt

Script for payment

Inform client of bill

Solicit feedback

Book next appt

Accept payment

Return change if necessary

Process payment

Clean up for next customer

Maintain adequate float

Maintain credit card facilities

Moments of Truth

There are three critical moments of truth for a hair salon - when a customer books an appointment, when they arrive for the appointment, and when the service has been performed.

The first moment of truth is when the customer books an appointment. At this point, the customer has been attracted. Whatever marketing function has brought the customer to the door or to the telephone, they have chosen to give the salon a chance. It is important to remember that the value of the stylist's work to the customer is more than just that of a simple cash transaction. While many other products and services can be replaced, discarded or otherwise dismissed, a haircut has a greater sense of permanency. If the cut is poor, it cannot be undone. All that can be done is an attempt to cover it up. Because of this, the decision to use a certain salon or stylist is not taken lightly. The customer is putting his/her appearance, which is essentially an extension of his or herself, on the line. Therefore the customer needs to feel 100% confident. That is why even talking to the receptionist represents a moment of truth. The customer has the choice at that point to simply change his or her mind about making the appointment, and find another salon, should he or she feel uncomfortable about the service they are about to receive.

The second moment of truth is when the client arrives for the haircut. At this point, they still have neither paid nor received any service. Once again, it is critical that they feel 100% comfortable with the situation. The service level here should be very high. The risk that the client walks away is lower than at the appointment-making stage, but the damage is higher since at this stage there is no opportunity to recover the lost business. The stylist merely has free time for which they are not being paid.

At this stage, one of the biggest risks is with regards to the client's time. Should the stylist be running behind schedule, this represents a potential problem that must be dealt with proactively. Essentially, the customer has been asked to set aside some of their time. They are not necessarily undertaking the appointment at their convenience, it is as much at the convenience of the stylist. So respect for the client's time is paramount. That is what makes this such a key moment of truth - there is the risk of service failure from the outset here and any inability to address the issue or fail to recognize the client's needs can result is a total customer service failure.

The third moment of truth is after the service has been performed. It is rare that somebody would walk out of a haircut in the middle, so we can presume that once the client has allowed the stylist to proceed, they will allow the stylist to finish. This moment of truth is one for both the stylist and the salon. Until this point, the salon has been largely responsible for the moments of truth. Here it is the service rendered that is being evaluated. Future business will depend on customer satisfaction. This is also an industry that relies heavily on word-of-mouth promotion, and negative word-of-mouth can have damaging effects.

This moment not only entails the service that has been rendered but the post-service evaluation process as well. It is there that the customer will be evaluating the service rendered and therefore both the stylist and the salon must ensure that the client's needs have been met. The salon industry is relatively unique in that this mode of direct, immediate customer feedback is ingrained into the way business is conducted. Most businesses, even within the service sector, do not have such a feedback mechanism built into their regular process.

The final moment of truth is when the customer models their new hairstyle to their friends. This is an important moment of truth not only because the customer typically places a lot of value on their friends' opinions of the styling work, but also because word-of-mouth is such a key factor in the salon business. So not only is this a moment of truth for one customer at the end of their particular transaction cycle, it is the potential beginning of several other transaction cycles.

There are several determinants of satisfaction for a hair salon. The first is the customer service level of the salon staff, in terms of making the appointment. Their friendliness and professionalism can impact the overall satisfaction. Another determinant are the hours the salon keeps - are these convenient for the customer?

With respect to the stylist, the performance of the haircut is the most important determinant of satisfaction in the entire process. Another determinant is the consultation process before the cut is implemented. This important part of the process not only will have an impact on the satisfaction gained from the cut itself, but is also key to building confidence in the process and in the salon. It helps in avoiding problems as well, because the customer is involved in shaping the final service rendered. The service after the cut is also important, from the final consultation with the stylist, to the service level given by the salon staff during the payment and exiting process. The final determinant of satisfaction is when feedback is received from the customer's friends. If the friends do not respond positively to the new style, the customer's satisfaction will diminish.

Service Recovery Strategy Plan

The first part of the service recovery plan should be to address the issue at each of the three major moments of truth. For each moment, a strategy should be in place to identify service failures and initiate the recovery process. It is not sufficient to merely react to a complaint - the salon must actively solicit feedback. Currently, most salons will solicit feedback at the third moment of truth, but even at that point there is more than can be done.

The first moment of truth is the point at which the appointment is made. For the customer, the decision made at this moment is whether or not to proceed with… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Services Organization Recovery a Hair Salon.  (2008, May 21).  Retrieved November 15, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/services-organization-recovery-hair/41434

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