The impact of the workforce shortage is real. Employers globally are struggling to find skillful workers. This problem can be seen across all service industries, all over the world. This situation is creating a heavy strain on the world economy.
Recent statistics from the United States Federal Reserve claim that about 3.5 million workers are missing from the workforce across industries in the post Covid-19 world. In the United States alone, the latest data from Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that there were a near-record 1.7 million open jobs per month in leisure and hospitality – 10 percent of all jobs in the sector – and a record of nearly a million people quitting.
Same has been the case in Europe where the Economy and labor market had a precipitous fall. To make matters worse, inflation has reached a record high.
Spa and Salon industry being no exception is facing a scathing workforce shortage. While workers in this industry are getting paid more than ever, it still doesn’t seem like enough. Spas and salons across the globe are posting signs advertising available jobs. Placards can be seen across streets requesting customers to be patient because they don’t have enough staff is indicative of how bad the impact of a scant workforce this industry is facing.
Human beings are integral to running spas and salons. And hence it is this very industry which is finding it most difficult to adjust to the `new normal’ in the post COVID world. With changed customer expectations and rules of engagement, and old normal being year 2019, many salons and spas are still grappling with this conundrum
How does one juggle client expectations with new realities of team attendance (or non-attendance)? How can a quality service provider maintain its image in the consumer market when there is just no assurance of staffing levels being adequate to deliver them?
Owing to the manpower and economic crunch, these enterprises are either closing or operating at reduced capacities. Some spa and salon owners work at reduced capacity, and some of them have no option but to pay more to undeserving and less skilled workers.
Exuberance for growing demand being dampened by staffing shortage
If the situation looks bleak on the staffing side, it is rather promising on the business side. According to a report by prominent global research firm Facts and Factors, the global Spa and Beauty Salon market which was approximately USD 144.48 Billion in 2019 (when COVID hit us all) is still slated to grow at a CAGR of 6 percent and is expected to reach USD 217.25 Billion mark by 2026.
The report notes: “The Spas and beauty salons provide beauty and personal care products for both men and women. In the modern world, the adoption of spas and beauty salons is increasing owing to the rising demand for wellness solutions to reduce stress from hectic lifestyle.
Additionally, the high standard of living and growing disposable income help consumers opt for such services.”
The 2022 survey of International Spa Association (ISPA) members revealed that 62 percent respondents have more demand for their services than capacity and 73 percent of spas and salons are open seven days a week. While many of these facilities have lost revenue in the last two years due to closures, health concerns, supply chain issues and staffing shortages, customers are back in bulk and many of these enterprises can’t keep up with demand or are mismanaging it.
“Our staffing is so low, and our business enquiry is so high that we struggle to find the time needed to efficiently and effectively train our management team in the areas they need to engage for better customer churn. We have seen a shift in our clientele and their expectations.’’ is the common response theme.
Also, the pandemic has ensured that there is a shift in dynamics of human-to-human interactions, howsoever subtle. If the peak of this catastrophe taught us social distancing and severe isolation, where many thought that complete reliance on technology would be our only go to mode for any form of interaction, today we have again started desiring for that human touch. Hence the `new normal’ is just a transitory phase of going back to the `old normal’ where human centric businesses were/are done in humane ways.
`Customer first’ is the living motto of any spa/salon operator. Whether someone is running a luxury chain or a `no-frills’ boutique, this focus never waivers. As appointment booking is the preliminary interface for your spa and salon customers, an emphatic impression works wonders. A soothing human voice on the other end of the phone when a customer calls in to make an appointment at a spa and salon still spreads smiles, something an impersonal self-help IVR or online appointment booking cannot substitute.
The dearth of workforce is rendering owners clueless as to how to handle customer call/appointments/reschedules/queries in a humane and personalized way while servicing the actual client sitting in front of them. This juggling act is getting overwhelming. If your in-house staff talks to a client who calls in to make an appointment in a hassled or rushed manner, owing to some other preoccupation in the salon, the confidence level of prospect diminishes. Similarly, when they are constantly interrupted by incoming calls, it breaks their rhythm and ebbs the flow of their work once momentum is lost. Since most of the staff hired by a spa and salon owner are specialists in their own right, using their bandwidth over answering calls is often a drain on the system. They are better utilized focusing on attending to customers inside the salon, building a rapport with them and making sure they are satisfied and make repeat visits.
These times of staff shortages are here to stay. Spa and Salon owners have to adapt to the change by looking for newer ways to conduct business. They must quickly figure out new methods, strategies and mechanisms for increasing available staff bandwidth. While this is getting done, one also has to ensure that the bar of customer engagement and service satisfaction is not lowered. This is core to survival and sustained growth.
Higher wages do not solve the problem
Increase in wages has been a no go. The US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) reported that the workers are being paid more than the previous year. Nonetheless, this too proved redundant. Keeping the workforce intact has been harder than ever. For starters, non-managers in spa and salon industry received a pay hike of 13 percent over previous year and still the paucity continues.
In United States, a survey by National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for spa and salons says that U.S. small business confidence has dipped to an all-time low with 11 percent respondents claiming that labor cost is too high and 23 percent asserting that it’s hard to find qualified workers.
“It was extremely hard to find workers even though we were willing to pay higher salaries. We also had to raise our prices for clients so as to be able to make up for higher wage bills. The situation was becoming tough day by day and finally we decided to fold up”, quipped Jackie Macalsuo of Ciao Bella Hair Studio from Buffalo, New York.
Overall, it’s a heartbreaking scenario for spa and salon owners.
Here is the light at the end of the tunnel
To bridge this gap between growing demand and staffing shortage, more and more businesses are gravitating towards outsourced call center services for salon and spas for customer engagement, as a growth tool.
These expert spa and salon call center services providers, LiveSalesman being a leading one in the industry, offer outsourced human centric solutions.
Trained professionals managing our spa and salon appointment booking services handle all your incoming calls, answer almost any queries your clients have how-so-ever mundane or specific and professionally manage your appointments, thus freeing you up to focus on your primary responsibilities and business growth.
One of the key challenges being faced by spa and salon owners is handling client displeasure over some service. Clients can be really angry or even hysterical depending upon bad things went! When a livid client calls in, how that call is handled can make all the difference between losing that client forever and winning her for life.
Representatives at LiveSalesman, deployed for our spa and salon call center services have the right temperament and training to diffuse such escalations. They lend a patient ear to client’s complaints, understand the problem, apologize sincerely, offer to rectify the complaint as soon as possible in accordance with policies and maintain the high score of online spa appointments.
Our spa and salon appointment booking services help you create that much-needed professional image in front of your clients, making the difference between lost revenue opportunities and a consistent profit stream.
With our fully managed spa and salon appointment booking services, we help you eliminate the consistent bottleneck of overheads like hiring, training, dealing with hassles of on-roll staff, equipment and allocation of additional space internally.
LiveSalesman’s outsourced call center Services for salon and spas are not one size fits but are managed by spa and salon domain experts who curate customized appointment setting, revenue enhancement and customer service solutions to address specific needs of each spa or salon we work with.
How are we different from answering services
Unlike spa and salon answering services, that only manage your incoming calls, LiveSalesman’s outsourced call center Services for salon and spas cover the entire gamut from spa and salon appointment booking services to follow up and reminder services to re-engage the clients, cross selling and up-selling of your services, and managing multiple marketing promotions for you.
What distinguishes our spa and salon appointment scheduling services from those offered by answering services for salons and spas in the market is that answering services for salons and spas usually have a large pool of agents who are responsible to answer calls for multiple spa and salon clients simultaneously. This means your calls are not answered by the same set of agents every day, making the customer experience inconsistent. Also, since these spa and salon answering service agents work for multiple clients, they do not have the opportunity to gain thorough knowledge of your services, stylists, or policies and are not able to coherently answer your customers’ questions over the phone. This negatively impacts customer experience and can potentially result in loss of customers and revenue opportunities. On the other hand, we allocate a dedicated team of representatives to your account who are given comprehensive training on all aspects of your and work as true extension of your team! They have expertise to answer and execute anything and everything that your in-house team can and for they have doubts on, they coordinate and work closely with your staff to make sure customer experience does not take a hit.
What is most important is that our spa and salon appointment scheduling services agents are well versed industry professionals, who are familiar with almost all scheduling and technology platforms which you might be using and hence can be deployed much more readily with next to no guidance from you, thereby saving your valuable time. With rich experience in customer service for spa and salon, our team for spa and salon appointment scheduling services is already qualified to answer intelligently any and all customer queries. Even though the team is offshore, they remain round the clock hands on.
Being a leader in multilingual call center services, we are able to offer our spa and salon call center services in over 30 European and Asian languages. Whether you need support during work hours, after hours or 24/7, we are able to offer!
LiveSalesman is the `frontline’ champion who has got your back!