Writing a salon etiquette guidebook
As an experienced salon owner, you have most probably already mastered the art of proper salon etiquette. You can handle different kinds of clients with grace, smoothly tiptoeing around problematic topics, guessing their needs before they even articulate them and being the refined professional that clients feel they can trust. Your carefully selected team members are also on the right path to becoming the masters of beauty salon etiquette… but that way can be long and rocky. And unfortunately, if one of your clients leaves your business feeling ill-treated, there probably will be no second chances. To help your crew acquire the needed courtesy quickly, it’s wise to hand them a guidebook on salon etiquette, so they can have clear instructions to follow. What are the points you should touch upon and what are the risks of being carefree about your employees' social grace?
Begin with a proper welcome
If you have a receptionist, they greet the client and make sure they are comfortable while waiting for their appointment. However, no matter if already taken care of, as soon as the actual service starts, the client becomes the guest of the service provider. This is why it’s so important to teach your employees that they should always begin with an eye-contact, smile and proper introduction.
Discuss only appropriate topics
We dedicated a whole piece to good conversation starters, so if you want to go in-depth with the topic, make sure to check it out. The general rule of thumb is to avoid talking about politics, finances, religion and anything you don't feel comfortable discussing. As for the topics that are always in good taste - you can ask about clients’ hobbies, favourite pieces of entertainment (books, movies, TV shows) and anything related to the service they are getting (“Do you always get acrylics?”, “What do you like and dislike about your hair?”, “What is your skincare routine?”, "What's the occasion?").
Follow a strict no-gossip rule
A lot of people perceive the beauty industry as the go-to place for gossip and drama… and they are not wrong, however, in order to maintain a professional stance, you should teach your employees to hold their tongues when talking with clients. Bad-mouthing another employee, your competitors or anyone else can really make your salon look unprofessional and untrustworthy - and in the worst case scenario, it can lead to a lawsuit for defamation and a breach of GDPR regulations.
Adjust to client’s style of communication
It is scientifically proven that we feel sympathy towards people that behave similarly to us - it makes us feel comfortable and relatable. That’s why it’s crucial to teach your employees to adjust their behaviour to the client’s. Are they very talkative and enthusiastic? Participate in the conversation and make sure to keep an upbeat vibe. Are they calm and silent? Don’t force them to talk. The customer pays for the service and wants to relax - no matter if their definition of relaxation is to be social or to be left alone with their own thoughts. One more thing: it is completely fine to tell the client that there are moments during the treatment when you would want them to stay silent (like washing or blow drying the hair) as you are unable to hear them anyway. You just have to be polite and explain that your request comes from respect, as you want to be able to understand what they say.
Don’t be weird about money
When the customer asks you upfront about the full price of the service - that’s great! Discussing the price right off the bat prevents you from shocking or enraging the client when it comes to paying. Talking about finances is perfectly fine, as long as it is relevant to the service. Remember to teach your employees to inform the customer whenever they want to do something that will increase the final cost of the service (like using Olaplex or adding a hand massage to a manicure). Otherwise, the client can refuse to pay the “extras” - according to the Act on Unsolicited Goods and Services, you are in the right to refuse the payment you didn’t agree upon. Make your team members aware of this - there is no shame in discussing prices.
Be on time
Blindingly obvious? Maybe, but also incredibly important. If you have a salon policy where you impose a fee on clients who are late and you demand punctuality in general, it would be hypocritical to be careless on your side. Teach your employees to always apologize for being late and if the delay is major, compensate the customer accordingly.
Focus on the client
There is nothing worse than a stylist or a tech who keeps checking their phone or answering private calls while performing a service. It’s best to have a “leave your phone out of sight” rule, with emergencies being an exemption. Still, your staff should always apologise to the client and go outside or to employee-only areas to answer the phone. Also, chatting with another team member when performing a service is a cardinal sin. The client should always be the focal point. This is also the perfect opportunity to upsell other treatments or products as well - don't let this opportunity pass you by.
Leave your personal animosities at home
Let’s put this straight: it’s extremely difficult to stay silent when a client passionately announces their controversial opinion on a topic you have a completely opposite stand on. We’ve all been there. However, you have to teach your employees that when they are in the salon - they are professional workers and therefore should keep their opinions to themselves. There is nothing more unprofessional than a heated political argument in the workplace. If the case is severe, you can tag the client as a difficult one in your Booksy system, so that next time they will be taken care of by the calmest and most laid-back of your employees.
Be neat & dress profess
Even if your salon doesn’t have a specific dress code, it’s still a good idea to state expected style of presence. You don’t have to be very precise - it may be enough to say that clothes shouldn't be too revealing and jewellery too opulent (or jingly-dangly - no one wants to listen to the sounds of their stylists’ bracelets during the entire appointment!). Personal hygiene is a very touchy issue. The general rule should be to keep your hands clean and sanitised, your breath fresh and your clothes neat. If the employee is a smoker, you should expect them to get rid of the smoke smell before they start working with a client. If one of your employees breaks these rules, arrange a private talk. Never solve such situations publicly! Make sure to carefully approach this situation - don’t shame the employee and explain why you ask them to keep these things in check. Setting official rules regarding salon etiquette definitely helps staff get used to proper ways of handling and approaching a client. They should have an individual approach towards each customer, and you can make their life easier by introducing them to Booksy and its customer records feature, where you can note each client’s preferences and no-no topics. With a well-written salon etiquette guidebook and Booksy beauty & hairdressing software, mastering the art of customer service will be a breeze!