Being a beauty therapist hasn’t always come with much prestige. Between the cheap and nasty nail salons that favour kitchen cleaning sprays over autoclaves and the medispas being operated by unqualified technicians, maintaining a good professional reputation can be a challenge.
The salons that offer high-quality services in clean environments, however, provide some of the most relaxing, comfortable and beautiful experiences for customers, helping them unwind, look and feel better and indulge in some essential R&R time.
We’ve compiled a list of the ten things all successful salon owners and practicing beauty therapists know, that will change the way you work. Comment below with any additional tips, and let us know what you do to stand out.
Customer Relationships are Vital
Forming relationships with clients can be done in many ways, including:
- Providing a consistently high-quality service
- Being friendly, polite and honest with customers
- Delivering on what you promise
- Maintaining trust and privacy
- Creating loyalty incentives
Having strong relationships will mean your customers will return to your salon regularly, will be more likely to forgive mistakes, and most importantly, will refer their friends and family to your salon. Referrals are the cheapest and most effective way to increase your customer base, particularly when the endorsement comes from a trusted source.
Scheduling Can Make or Break You
There’s so much competition in the beauty industry, and one bad experience can mean losing a client for good. Often, these disappointing experiences are a result of missed appointments, double bookings and unanswered contact forms. Scheduling software can completely change this, automating your booking process and helping you manage customer relationships.
Perhaps more importantly, scheduling software saves you time, ending those back and forth emails, long phone conversations and that painful manual administrative work that takes up so much of your day.
With the right tool, you’ll be able to secure leads, manage client bookings, manage staff and much more. Learn more about Cogsworth's features and how it can transform your business here.
Block off holiday time easily to prevent bookings with Cogsworth.
Never Underestimate the Importance of Health and Hygiene
As a trained therapist, you already know safety and hygiene procedures, but if you’ve worked in multiple salons, you've probably come across countless violations. Many therapists don’t properly sanitise their environments, reuse single-use items in an attempt to save money, and have lazy attitudes when it comes to cleanliness. This kind of abandon can lead to the spread of infections, injuries, scarring and long-term damage. As such, you should never underestimate health and hygiene practices.
This also extends to the safety of salon staff. Areas of concern may include faulty equipment, poorly set-up work spaces, incorrect use of products, as well as mental and physical health. Regularly check in with your team to address any potential issues before they get out of your control.
Pro Tip: write your own procedures and staff instructions as a reminder to all staff, and to reinforce the importance of an often boring and easy-to-forget part of the job. It’ll save you money and help you avoid major issues in the future.
Read more advice about how to reduce your health risks here.
Trends Bring in New Customers and Keep the Regulars Coming Back
After years of training and perfecting your treatment list, it can be frustrating when clients start requesting fad procedures and fashionable treatments. Unfortunately, in order to stay relevant, you’ll often need to adapt to customer demands.
Of course, this isn’t to say you should spend thousands on new equipment or attempt procedures you’re uncomfortable performing, but it does mean you should keep an open mind and offer your clients the services they want. It’s also a great way to bring in new business.
If you don’t want to bring a particular treatment to your salon, communicate the reasons to customers, who’ll appreciate the honesty and avoid undergoing a treatment that won’t get them the results they’re after.
Pro Tip: sign up to a beauty newsletter or blog and be the first to know about upcoming trends, and which ones to avoid.
Listening is Non-negotiable
Listening and asking questions to clients and co-workers is something you probably already think you’re doing. Perhaps you ask clients about your massage pressure or what your colleagues did on the weekend, but those questions don’t involve much active listening. Asking the right questions and really paying attention to the answers will give you deeper information on the motivations, needs and preferences of those around you.
Moreover, your clients may not be comfortable communicating what they want, instead hinting at it or making comments that offer clues. It can be embarrassing admitting to a poor skin care routine, describing financial issues or offering the real reason for wanting a treatment.
In a sensory environment, listening to the verbal and paying attention to the non-verbal cues can completely change the way you work. You’ll be able to offer the right services to the right people, making adjustments to treatment plans and creating a sense of trust and comfort between you and those you work with/for.
Feedback Will Help You
It’s not always pleasant hearing criticism from difficult customers, particularly when they’re complaining about non-existent problems or making unreasonable requests. Real, constructive feedback is a very different, and offers unparalleled insight on how your business is running.
Asking your customers for feedback through email, phone or face-to-face gives them a chance to be thoughtful, and not just react to a poorly managed situation. Ask them for the good and the bad; what you’re doing well and where you can improve, and over time you’ll notice patterns. Then, you’ll be able to make changes based on what your customers truly want, and may be able to rectify a bad experience before any reviews go public.
Being Discreet is Essential
As a therapist, you’ll be seeing people at their most vulnerable. Often clients are partially nude, have their eyes closed, have products on them they can’t identify, and are opening up about their personal lives during treatments.
As silly as it sounds, treat your relationships in the salon the same way a doctor treats their relationships with patients. There are obvious differences here, but anything they share and any issues you treat should stay strictly between you and the client. This level of trust will encourage your clients to open up, which will help you better serve them.
Selling Products Isn't Just About Making Money
Selling products certainly contributes to salon revenue, but it also ensures your clients get the results you promise them. There’s only so much you can do seeing a client once a month, so communicate to them that 90% of the work has to take place at home, with the correct products. Many may feel that the cheap, supermarket products will do just fine - it’s your job to show them these purchases could be doing more harm than good.
Create a personalised at-home regime for all of your customers, and once they see the improvements, you’ll never have to up-sell again.
Building Trust Doesn't Happen Overnight
Just as building a client base doesn’t always come quickly, building trust can take time. Your clients may disregard your advice, visit a range of different salons and book treatments you know aren’t in line with their goals. The only way to build trust is to prove yourself, consistently offering excellent treatments, on time and with the utmost professionalism. Just like all relationships, the time you put in will determine what you get out.
No matter how good you are, there’s always room for improvement.
Training and Learning Never Stop
As with any profession, there will be constant changes and updates to treatments, trends and processes throughout your career. Investing in your learning and training will keep your knowledge relevant, your approach fresh, and your clients coming back.
Now we’d love to hear from you! What are your top tips for beauty therapists?