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    Expert Advice: Crisis Management for Salons

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    Do you know how you would cope in a crisis? James Davis from Clay Salon & Spa recently experienced a major fire caused by an electrical fault at his salon in Oxshott, Surrey, which caused £50,000 worth of damage and resulted in the salon closing for two weeks for refurbishment. 
    HJ: Prior to the fire, did you have any crisis management measures in place?  
    JD: Yes. Before we opened a local fire officer visited the premises to advise us on suitable fire-fighting equipment, regulations and procedures. As a result of this, we prepared a suitable fire risk assessment, and we train all new staff on procedures. 
    HJ: What steps did you take to ensure the business did not suffer immediately after 
    the fire?  
    JD: We made sure the insurance company was informed immediately; we took photographic evidence of all the damage and set up a team delegating specific responsibilities such as finance, client liaison and publicity.  
    We set up a call centre at the local Hilton hotel where we based our administration team. 
    Clients were contacted as a matter of urgency, the situation was explained to them and they were offered new appointments or a home visit. 
    HJ: What was the reaction from your clients whose bookings were affected? 
    JD: More than 90% were sympathetic. However, there was general frustration as most were pre-holiday haircuts and were given priority. Offering home visits impressed our clients though and they felt we were going the extra mile. 
    As a damage limitation exercise, we decided to offer complimentary home treatments, which had an enormous impact on retaining client loyalty. 
    HJ: How did you cope logistically with regards to staff getting to clients’ houses?  
    JD: Most of them drove themselves, but we ensured everyone had business cover on their car insurance. 
    Check list for fire prevention

    • Invite a fire officer to the salon for a free consultation on your premises.

    • Get all electrical equipment tested at least every 12 months by a qualified electrician.
    • Organise six-monthly fire drills, but remember staff members are not fire fighters.

    • Ensure you have the relevant fire extinguishers for each type of fire with a maintenance contract.
    • Ensure your staff is aware of dangers and do visual checks on day-to-day equipment. For example, a kinked flex on a hairdryer, a loose wire on a plug, or a clogged hairdryer filter.
    • Store products and chemicals at the correct temperature. 
    Rachael Gibson

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