Guest post by Renee Seuss, TUBC Esthetics student at our Rockford campus.
Have you ever gone into someone’s home and just felt so comfortable and welcome you didn’t want to leave? It doesn’t matter if it is a mansion on a hill, or a shack in the woods… you just feel GOOD there. On the other hand, have you ever been to a beautiful restaurant or a posh art gallery or boutique and didn’t feel like you could touch anything or sit on any of the furniture? Or couldn’t wait to leave because you were made to feel like you didn’t belong there?
Sometimes, it’s not anything tangible, just a feeling, an attitude, a “vibe”. In the Salon and Spa industry, the “vibe” is an all-important factor in getting and KEEPING your clientele. You may be a great stylist, but if your clients aren’t comfortable in the surroundings you provide, or you don’t give them a great salon service, they may think twice about returning, and it is doubtful that they will refer their friends. So how do we create a warm, inviting atmosphere where people want to spend money? Here are three steps that I learned from working at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for almost 5 years.
It begins with step one: a warm welcome. This includes things that seem simple, like calling someone by their name, looking them in the eye, a firm handshake and a sincere smile. Sincerity is key because people aren’t dumb, they usually know when you’re faking it. If it’s hot outside, a cool towel upon arrival is such a simple thing but can make a big impact. A warm welcome encompasses the atmosphere presented in your entry way or the general look of the salon; the music playing; an inviting aroma. It doesn’t have to be the Taj Mahal, but it should be clean and pleasant, somewhere that feels inviting and comfortable.
Beyond the warm welcome, is step two: anticipating your guest’s needs. Be prepared for your guest when he or she arrives. Have your paperwork ready, and tools together based on the information you have already obtained from previous correspondence. Offer water or tea, a comfortable place to sit to discuss their concerns or purpose for their visit. The restroom should be stocked with the essentials, and maybe even more, some nice hand lotion, nail files, female items… things people need, but don’t necessarily think of asking for. I remember going to the tanning salon (a lonnnnng time ago) and thinking how great it was that they provided spray antiperspirant in the room. These things may not be revolutionary to some, but I never cease to be amazed when I walk into some places and the person with whom I have made an appointment is rushing around and fumbling through papers and you feel like you’re intruding or bothering them… then you have to ask for bathroom tissue.
Finally, once their great salon service is completed: a fond farewell. Send your guest home with not only an awesome new “do” or glowing skin, but with a great memory of their time with you. If possible, have a take home gift prepared for them, maybe it’s a sample size of a product you used, or a hand written thank you note attached to their receipt. Of course, don’t forget to invite them back for more pampering and touch ups in the future. A lot of the things we do in our industry are actually necessary maintenance and upkeep for our appearance, but why shouldn’t it feel like a luxury? And if they feel like it has been a fabulously luxurious experience, they will be more likely to share it with their friends, and you will be more confident asking for those referrals. Invite your guest back and rebook. Give them a reason to come back beside your amazing skills… like upcoming specials or your plans for their future services. These ideas aren’t rocket science. But sometimes in all the busy-ness of doing business, we need to be reminded to pay attention to the small gestures that make our clients really feel like honored guests and that they have stumbled upon a little slice of heaven in their hectic lives.