It’s bloody hard to communicate through masks – let alone visors or googles as well! – but that doesn’t mean that you can leave your client communication to chance and hope your hand signals get you through.
Well thought-out policies and messaging are more important than they have ever been in this new world. These are the 7 essential messages that every salon should be communicating during the client journey.
No deposit, no appointment
No shows have always been bad for business. Right now, when you can only see one client at a time and salon numbers are limited, they can be business-destroying (as well as soul-destroying). That’s why now is the time to make deposits your policy. The key thing with deposits is to set your rules and stick to them.
- Do you want to offer a set percentage (or amount) off the appointment or different rates for higher value, more time-consuming services?
- Can a deposit be moved to a different date? If so, how much notice does the client need to give you? 24 hours? 48 hours?
- Will you have any exceptions? You need to make a plan for if someone has a covid positive test on the day of their appointment, or has been advised, on the day of their appointment, that they have been in contact with someone who has – or may have – covid.
I was recently asked by Salon Owners United to produce a script for how to manage deposits. You can read it here.
At this time, when lots of salons are so busy, a good strategy is to have a waiting list and a last minute appointment social media post you have ready to go in the event of last minute gaps.
What your covid safety policy means to them
It’s easy to assume that everyone knows the rules by now, but what if a client hasn’t visited before or doesn’t really do details? I recommend you put your policy on your website and send every client an appointment confirmation email that links to the policy.
Note: don’t put the link on your appointment confirmation text. Only give clients one thing to focus on at a time.
Could they be a risk for you?
I know it sounds crazy, but I have heard too many stories of salons that have been forced to close for 14 days because their client or someone close to them got their test results shortly after their appointment.
Find a way to add the question into your client welcome before they get near your chair – you can make it a bit tongue-in-cheek if that works for you.
That the salon is a happy place for them to be
We’re all bored of the doom and gloom by now, so it’s never been more valuable to give off a happy vibe. Your clients will remember how you made them feel long after they remember how you made them look.
A smile (your mouth may be hidden, but they’ll see it in your eyes), little compliments and those personal details that you’ve remembered will go further than ever.
That you’re open for business – and looking for new clients
If you don’t ask you don’t get, so really go for it with the refer a friend cards! A nice looking card is a little something that people can happily pass on at this time of year
Refer a friend offers are often done as a percentage of the appointment value, but in the run up to Christmas a £10, £15 or £20 voucher to spend at their first appointment will look much more appealing to put in a card.
The importance of rebooking
Who knows what January and February might look like? But you’ll feel much better positioned to deal with anything that is thrown at you if you have a busy appointment book.
An extra way to encourage re-bookings at the moment is to introduce a policy where anyone who has a booking will be given priority in the event of future lockdowns.
That you support the #shoplocal movement
Tell them about the local bits you’ve picked up and remind them that you also have Christmas gifts available to buy.
That you are grateful to them
Now is the time to send your clients a post-visit ‘thank you’ email. Don’t ask for anything at all, just let them know that it was good to have them in your chair and you value their support.
In an ideal world you’d personalise these messages to each and every client, but in the real world a pre-written or automated message will have to do.
Be sure to have 2 versions ready, one for if they have already re-booked saying you’ll look forward to seeing them at their next appointment and one that reminds people that you’d love to see them again soon.
If you already have an automated message that goes out to clients to ask them for a review, I’m recommending sending a heart-felt thank you instead at the moment.