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MY EMPLOYEE WITH STICKY FINGERS

employees

One of my firm beliefs is that there is a solution to every problem. Sometimes it’s obvious but often it’s not. You just have to either get creative or get strategic.

When I opened my own salon, it was the first business I ever owned so I had to learn things on the go. Only a couple of years into owning my business, the unthinkable happened….

A client called the salon (I was the receptionist in those days) and asked if she had left a necklace in the treatment room. I went and checked. I looked everywhere, I asked everyone on shift that day and no necklace.

Me:
I’m sorry but I had a thorough look in the room and even the waiting room but it wasn’t there. I checked with the team and nobody saw it. Your therapist said that she remembers you taking it off and placing it on the counter and when she went back into the room after seeing you out, she said that it definitely wasn’t there.

Client:
Don’t worry about it too much, I was probably careless and it dropped out of my bag. I’ll check my car and retrace my steps. Just in case though, it’s a Tiffany necklace, silver with the Tiffany heart locket.

As you can see, the client was really gracious. She never called back about it.

But…..

3 months later on a typical Wednesday morning, the receptionist came to work donning a beautiful necklace. Remembering the description the client gave me, it looked like the very same necklace.

Me:
What a beautiful necklace

Receptionist:
Thank you. It’s my birthday. I spoiled myself

I stepped towards her and noticed two things. One, it didn’t look new with a couple of scratches on it and two, there was a black hair hanging off it. My receptionist was blonde. I asked her to join me in my office.

Me:
First, happy birthday. Second, I’m going to give you one of two choices. (1) When we finish speaking, you take the necklace off and leave it on my desk and then go to the staff room and write your letter of resignation. Or (2) I go to the police across the road and report that I believe my employee stole a necklace from a client, provide them with the evidence I believe I have and ask them to charge you for theft.

She returned the necklace and resigned.

Heavy hey? Risky on my part. Whether she was a real thief or a kleptomaniac, I don’t know but what I do know is that I couldn’t continue to have a dishonest person in my employ.

HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
One of our protocols was that if a therapist had to finish her own sale at the front desk, the receptionist would take care of flipping the therapist’s treatment room and getting it ready for her next client. She must have seen the necklace and with no one around, took it.

THE SOLUTION
So this represented a problem in my business. How do I go about overcoming this problem?

This is what I came up with. I found small ziplock bags at Officeworks (a big stationary store in Australia). They came in packs of 100 for no more than $2 or $3 a pack. A very cheap but effective solution to my problem.

I made it a new protocol in the business that every single client having a treatment that required them having their jewellery removed must be handed a jewellery pouch. No exceptions. The protocol covered precise instructions, including a script for the team. And of course, like any protocol, I requested every team member to sign off on it.

If you would like a copy of the exact protocol I used in my business which is now a part of the CREAM Solutions Policy and Procedures manual, click here to grab yours for free.

THE UPSHOT WITH THE CLIENT?
Mmmmm. It was tough. I had to go to the client’s home with my tail between my legs and admit what happened and returned it. I apologised profusely and explained that the employee was no longer with us.

If you can believe it, the client again, was incredibly gracious and thanked me. She asked me in for a coffee. I shared how nervous I was to come to her and told her of the new protocol. We both had a giggle about it. Funny, not funny!

WHY DID I SHARE THIS WITH YOU?
As a salon owner, you are presented with many problems on a day-to-day basis. Some of them will really challenge you as this one challenged me. Unfortunately, I find that many salon owners handle problems with a quick fix. Whether it’s because they don’t have the time, or they’re overwhelmed or they simply don’t know what to do. Don’t do that. As I said, there is a solution to every problem. There is a good, effective, long-term, workable solution to every problem. If you don’t work on finding it, it will bite you on the proverbial tush, repeatedly. Don’t let this happen. Sometimes the solution won’t come to you immediately. Sometimes you’ll have to do a bit of research or ask around. You will find one. And when you do, protocol it. Make it a new standard to add to all of the already strong standards you have in your business. If you'd like a copy of my exact Jewellery Pouch Protocol, click the button below.