Let’s call it back-end information. This is information nail techs know about industry safety and sanitation regulations – things like disinfecting reusable implements, labeling containers, and keeping a lid on the garbage cans.
Then we have front-end information. This is the information clients hear on the fly, through the media, or through the proverbial grapevine. This information often plays up the dangers of nail salons, including horror stories involving fungus and infection.
Front-end information is comprised mostly of urban legend that leaves a real, if vague, feeling of fear in the heart of the client. You can help relieve this fear by creatively informing clients of your behind-the-scenes knowledge, and how you and your salon enforce strict levels of safety and sanitation.
But let’s be honest: Clients don’t want a science lesson when they come in, nor do they want to read the rules and regulations from our friends at the CDC and EPA, no matter how beautifully we may frame them. So, how do you inform your clients without making them feel like they’re listening to a documentary on best salon practices?
The place to start is by making high safety and sanitation standards part of your DNA. Wear it on your sleeve. Talk about your commitment to clean lines throughout the appointment. Not ad nauseam, but when it’s appropriate, point it out. Don’t assume clients know. For example, if you work in a multi-employee salon, could the receptionist give an accurate account of how you sanitize? Could the stylist explain the precautions you take when you clean the whirlpool bath? If you work alone, how do you let your clients know their health and safety are in capable hands?
We’ve provided some marketing tools to help educate your clients on ways you protect them. Be up-front about your sanitation standards. If you become comfortable drawing attention to your commitment to cleanliness, you’ll raise client awareness about all you do to provide a safe and sanitary environment. And by raising awareness, you may also raise client loyalty.
Here are some non-verbal ways to let clients know you care. Cut them out or use them as inspiration for your own materials. You can also download the graphic files from our website. [If the link does not work, cut and paste this URL into your browser: http://www.nailsmag.com/page/91131/handouts#techs]
Suggested use: Place a tent card on the sanitized manicure desk or pedicure chair.
Suggested wording: This area has been disinfected according to state board of cosmetology guidelines.
Suggested use: Frame and place this by the pedicure area and in the waiting area. (We also recommend adding the information to your website)
Suggested wording: Please do not shave your legs for 24 hours prior to your pedicure service.
Suggested use: Print on card stock, fold as a tent card, and place in manicure and pedicure area.*
Suggested wording: Ask us what we’re doing to ensure a safe beauty treatment.
* Then you (and other salon employees) should be prepared to tell them exactly what you are doing.
Suggested use: Post on the restroom wall or next to the sink.
Suggested wording: Soap and water are our best defense against bacteria. Wash your hands for at least 15 seconds.
Suggested use: You can download this pledge for a safe and clean salon at www.nailsmag.com/pdfs/handouts/OurPledgetoYou.pdf. Insert into an acrylic, stand-up frame (available at most craft stores), and place on your desk or by your pedicure chair.
There are no hard and fast rules for talking about sanitation. Education comes in stages, and with consistency. Simply note what you already do that the client may not even recognize as a sanitation step. Approach the topic in a light, fun manner. You’ll be surprised how pleased your clients will be to see you concerned about cleanliness.
- Keep hand sanitizer on your desk and when your client sits down, make sure she sees you squirt some into your hands and rub. Then say, “Okay. I’m ready now.”
- As she sits down and places her hands on the desk, say “I need to clean that area before we begin. I want to make sure everything is sanitized for you.”
- Before you use her file, remind her that it is hers alone, by saying , “Don’t you love knowing that these tools will only be used on you?”
- If you use reusable products, remind her that they’ve been sanitized by pulling them out of the solution and saying , “These files have been cleaned and disinfected according to state board regulation.”
Rate your effectiveness
Are your clients aware of all the precautions you take on their behalf? Raise client awareness (and confidence) by asking clients to participate in a survey. Reward them for filling out the survey by entering them in a drawing for a free service or other prize. Clients learn how you protect them, and you learn how well you’ve communicated your commitment to cleanliness – and where you may need to improve.
[sample client survey]
Tell Us What You Know. (It could win you a FREE nail service)
Thank you for taking a minute to answer a few brief questions about your salon experience. Then, fill out the bottom portion of this coupon for a chance to win!
Were you asked to wash your hands before your service? Yes/No
Did your nail tech wash her hands after her last client? Yes/No
Was a new file opened expressly for your service? Yes/No
Were any metal implements disinfected before use in your service? Yes/No
If you got a manicure, was the manicure station clean? Yes/No
If you got a pedicure, was the tub cleaned after the previous client? Yes/No