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
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.