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Management Practices

Cutting Loose Takes its Front Desk Team on an Educational Shopping Spree

Stacey Soble | May 27, 2016 | 9:22 AM
Coral Pleas surprises her front desk team with a shopping spree, an educational experience to encourage them to rethink retail.
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The team visited Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, a retail store that is passionate about their brand.
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The Cutting Loose team observed how the Lush employees sold their retail stories.
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Each Cutting Loose employee was given $30 in credit to spend at Lush.
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Like many salon owners, Coral Pleas, owner of Cutting Loose in Sarasota, Florida, traditionally gave the responsibility of product education to the stylists, while asking her reception team to support by closing the sale. “But recently, I began to shift my thinking,” Pleas says. “You cannot work at a MAC store without knowing the MAC product stories."

Pleas decided to begin educating her reservationists as well, bringing in specific product knowledge classes for them. “We’re giving them the DVDs that are part of our Protégé program and offering them opportunities to win trips to trade shows, like our stylists have,” Pleas says. “We aren’t taking the sales away from the stylists, we just find they work better as a team.”

To drive the point home, Pleas recently planned a surprise field trip to Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, a store she recognizes is passionate about their brand. “The team was told to meet us at the mall at 10 a.m., then we gave each of them a credit of $30 with which to shop in Lush,” Pleas says. “Their goal was to soak in how the Lush team educates shoppers on their products.”

After an hour of shopping, Pleas took the staff members to Sophie’s Restaurant and Bar at the top of Saks Fifth Avenue, where the manager opened early so the team could enjoy coffee and tea, talk about the Lush excursion, while enjoying quality service.

“Most of my team members are young, while the clients they serve tend to be Baby Boomers,” Pleas explains. “I expose them to first-class customer service as much as possible. How can I expect them to deliver five-star service if they have never experienced it.”

Pleas believed the entire experience was a big success with her front desk team and was happy to share some of their observations:

“I think this has been a perfect example of how to branch out, learn more about the ins and outs of the salon, and learn how to personalize our products for each guest.”--Stephanie

“Although our interaction with each guest may only be a minute or two, it’s important to give them all of our attention. We want to make them feel pretty and special, isn’t that why they’ve come to the salon? We want them to leave with a smile and look forward to their next visit.”--Susie

"The Lush staff knew information about their products that went beyond what was on the back of the bottle, and they gave shoppers great advice about how to use the products. It was a fun experience to be on the other side of the counter.”—Ashley

“I loved that the Lush team takes time during downtime to further educate themselves on their products. I’ll definitely take that with me.”—April

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