November 2009

Vicki Peters

The Nail Extension | by Vicki Peters

 

Are You the Whole Package?

Part I of II

Are you the whole package or do you just do good nails? Do you look and act like a professional businesswoman or do you look like a frumpy manicurist? Are you on top of your game and have the best customer service skills, the best marketing skills or produce the best nails?

Have you thought about what your clients think about you and your work environment? Being the full package takes more than just doing nails.

This will make you think about changing your business a bit to give it more energy. You may find you are suffering from combat burnout, question how savvy you really are and how you can produce the best nails no matter how booked you may be. Let’s step back and take a good hard look at your nails and think about your nail business with a whole new perspective.

Your Professional Appeal

I have always preached about dressing for success and I still feel it is very important no matter how relaxed your salon environment is. Ask yourself: “Do you really look like a businesswoman or do you wear ‘mom clothes’ to work because you want to be comfortable?”

Comfortable clothes can be casual and trendy and you need to take a look at the image you present with what you wear and how you look. Makeup is a must – you are in the beauty business. Hair should be done and always stylish so you can recommend the stylists in your salon when you tell them who does your hair. The same goes with nails on stylists. So when you walk out the door to go to the salon you should be totally “put together” -- always. Our clients look at us as trendsetters, full of good information, so we should reflect that.

Our business cards and brochures should reflect that also. They should not look cheap and should have all the information on them including area codes for phone numbers, e-mail and web addresses. No area codes on cards is very common. How can someone out of the area find them? They can’t.

Have your cards designed and printed by a professional. Printing cards on a computer is cheap and easy and it looks that way. Your business card is your first impression, especially if you are not there. Make it impressive!

How do you handle the phone? There are many different ways to handle phone calls in a salon, some with receptionists, others answered by the person who gets to it first. There needs to be a protocol set on how the phone is answered that everyone follows. The client needs to be placed on hold (briefly) while you get the attention of whom they are asking for. Yelling across the salon with the client listening is not professional and, believe me, it happens all the time. A good way to test this is to have someone you know call into the salon and report on how the call is handled?

Customer Service Skills

Do you really accommodate every client with every need or repair? Do you stay late to accommodate a client that can’t get in? Are you so busy you can’t handle changing a service for a request or a repair? Squeezing clients in for repairs is very important and you need to schedule time every day for repairs – maybe 15 minutes at 5:30 every day? Your client can come over after work.

If your client can’t get in for a repair, you really are not giving them good customer service. Another alternative is to have another tech that is not booked handle the repair. That’s better than not being able to do it at all. Bottom line is you should never say no.

Do you follow your services with calls to the client? This is especially important for new clients that may be afraid to express their concerns on shape or length during their first appointment. A quick follow-up call the next day will help build loyalty and head off any problems.

Send cards. Birthday, holiday and thank you cards are easy and make a great impression that you value them as clients. Keep records of dates that you want to send cards and fill them all out once a month. Write the day you want to mail them in the corner where the stamp will go and file them by the most recent dates. Check every day to see what needs to be mailed. It’s easy and takes only a few minutes to make a big impression.

Do you call to confirm clients the day before their appointment? Some clients will never forget but the ones who do need a confirmation call. This will head off no-shows and if the client can’t make it, you can reschedule and fill in the appointment with someone who you had to turn down. Call during the day and leave messages if they do not answer. They listen to their voice mail. SMS messaging is another alternative and that can be automated and set up on your computer. See if you have a computer program that ties into your calendar.

Have you even sent a survey to your clients for feedback? Sometimes we don’t want to hear what they have to say and sometimes we do. They may have some great suggestions that they never thought to tell you when in the salon. Do you make the client feel like she is the most important client you have?

Let me tell you a story. I relocated to Las Vegas 10 years ago and needed to find a savvy hairstylist so I asked around. I was referred to the Robert Cromeans Salon at Mandalay Bay in Vegas. My first thought is I did not want to go to such a high-end salon and be treated like a tourist, but I booked an appointment anyway. I called and specified what I wanted in a stylist and service and when they realized I was local they immediately treated me like I was “family.”

So now I was interested. When I arrived at the salon for my appointment they greeted me like they already knew me, even addressed me by my first name. They did their homework. My stylist came out and greeted me and took me for a tour of the salon and introduced me to every one working there. When I confessed that I was in the business the interest grew stronger.

I was so overwhelmed with good customer service I was hooked on my appointments even though it was costing me almost three hundred dollars every time I went there. (I used to get free services when I was working in a salon). It was like a social event and I felt like queen every time I went. I had been “customer serviced” by the best! Do your clients feel like that every time they come to you to get their nails done?

Part II coming next month will cover marketing skills, your work environment, product knowledge and education.

Vicki Peters is a 28 year veteran master nail tech, competition champion, judge, international educator, author and manufacturer and serves on the Nail Manufacturer Council. For more information visit www.vickipeters.com or email her at Vicki@vickipeters.com.