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Interview with a Service Superstar #6

 We will periodically bring you interviews with people who work like they own it! These service superstars consistently work with pride, passion, and professionalism. The purpose of these interviews is to gain some insight into how these world-class service professionals approach their job and what is needed to keep them motivated. This interview features Adriana Gerardo-Mendoza from VerVe & VerVe Salon Lifestyle in Tucson, AZ.

In your own words, what does it mean to "work like you own it"?

The first time my manager told me to work like I own it, I felt like it was an honor to work in a company where that is expected. I feel entrusted with something that is really big. To me, working like I own it is about exuding that I’m ready to rise to the occasion at a moment’s notice.  It entails everything from getting ready in the morning to being confident and empowered in everything I do. 

Working like I own it also means that I can not horde information. I must consistently equip my team with knowledge and make sure that everything I’ve learned is understood by everyone on my team.  As a leader, one of my priorities is to pass the “work like you own it” mentality on to them.

How do you motivate your team to go above and beyond to WOW their customers?

It starts with having a clear expectation. I’m constantly asking my team, “what can we give the guests that is beyond what they want?” The goal is to get the team excited about all the possibilities within each of our roles to create memorable experiences. I absolutely love brainstorming various scenarios with my team! Another way that I motivate my team to go above and beyond is to regularly include them in the decision-making process. It is very important to create an atmosphere where each team member can participate in their own growth. For example, we empower a different team member every day to “open” and “close” the salon. This person sets the vision, objectives and the team focus for the day. They even communicate which products and services should be highlighted.

What do you consider to be your own personal service standards?

When I walk into salons, my goal is to “touch” as many as people possible (i.e. spending time with them, catching up on past or upcoming events in their lives). Of course, this is for both team members and guests. Everyone wants to be remembered and heard.

What advice do you have for other managers who want to keep their team motivated and engaged?

I recommend for managers to share their knowledge and trust newer team members to do tasks. They will feel trusted and respected. More importantly, they will feel like they are growing in the company. I often times ask my team, “How can we make this task more fun?”                          

Give me an example of a time you or one of your team members WOW'd a customer.

One of our guests has developed a reputation of being quite critical of almost everyone and everything in the salon. I always make it a point to give her the extra attention she craves and try to make her smile. Now, we’ve established a very nice rapport; so much that she always asks for me when she visits the salon. Recently, one of her close family members passed away, and she was understandably unhappy about that situation. I noticed that she was scheduled for an appointment the following Monday, which is when I’m usually off.  So, I came in on my day off to greet and spend time with her. Of course, she didn’t expect to see me because she knows that I’m usually off on Mondays. When she saw me come into the salon, and then sit down with her, she couldn’t believe it. She felt so special that I cared enough to visit her that she cried. That moment meant so much to me.

Give me an example of a time you or one of  your team members WOW'd a co-worker.

One of my employees was very unsure of her own ability to color hair. She would frequently ask her teammates how they would handle various coloring situations. Until, one day I encouraged the team mates to challenge her to come up with solutions on her own (with proper guidance and support, of course). That worked well, but the real WOW came when one of her co-workers  found an old training/scrap book that featured hair coloring styles, techniques, etc. The co-worker sat down with her colleague to review and help re-assemble the book. That act was a powerful way to involve the team member who needed assistance, while giving her the perfect opportunity to ask as many questions as she liked.


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