Customer Service

Dual Services: Bliss in the Blink of an Eye

It gives a whole new meaning to the term ménage à trois. Two or more techs working on the same client is the hottest new service. Are you in?

If you are able to think outside the box, you may be ready to capitalize on a growing trend in the beauty industry: dual services. This doesn’t mean services that are back to back — a manicure first, and then a pedicure; it doesn’t even mean side-by-side customers — a mother and daughter coming in to get pedicures together. Dual services means one client hav­ing multiple services performed on her simultaneously.

Before you shake your head and say it’s ridiculous, before you compartmentalize the concept into the file labeled discount salons, before you assume customers wouldn’t like it because they would feel rushed, imagine yourself lying back on a comfortable table with pillows under your knees. The room has candles and soft music is playing; your hands are wrapped in warm towels, and you are having a facial while your feet are being massaged If that image makes you close your eyes and sigh, take the next step: creating that atmosphere for your customers could set your salon apart from the competition — and it could yield a high profit.

Salons began offering dual services for different reasons: limited space forced salon owners to utilize service areas to their fullest, urban salons began catering to the tight schedules of professionals, or existing salons developed creative ways to make clients feel incredibly indulged. Whatever the reason the salon had for offering multiple services, clients have decided it is here to stay.

“Clients love it,” says Tamara Friedman of Tamara Spa in Farmington Hills, Mich. “It makes a client feel like a princess.” Of course, there will always be clients who would rather spend half the day at a spa, but more and more clients are enjoying the pleasure of getting all the attention at once.

At Tamara Spa it was the nail techs who started offering dual services. “If they weren’t busy, they would go right up to clients who were getting pedicures and ask if they wanted a manicure at the same time,” says Friedman. At first, the nail tech would set a pillow on her lap to perform the manicure, but once the service caught on, the salon invested in chairs that more comfortably accommodate the multiple services. Now clients receiving manicure, pedicure, and facial combos are a regular addition in the appointment book.

It’s an option that is being added to menus all over the country. “Clients feel totally spoiled to have four hands on them at the same time,” says Leslie Villarreal, owner of Relax. Now spas located in San Francisco, where all pedicures and manicures are performed on a facial table. When Patricia Romero started working at the spa in November 2003, she thought dual services with a client lying down was a little odd, but “people love it,” she says. “Many of the clients say they don’t know if they could ever do a normal pedicure again.”

At first techs may balk at the idea of combining services, preferring to stick to the tried-and-true technique of manicures at a table, and pedicures on a chair in a separate room. But Villarreal says dual services are a good way for techs to “maximize their potential.” As the nail industry changes in response to customers’ demands, techs who are able to offer new services will be the ones rewarded with a growing clientele. Combining services increases your customer base and your earning potential because it draws in clients who are willing to spend money on luxury services, but who aren’t willing to spend the time.

The profitability of multiple services isn’t in the price the salon charges; most salons simply add the individual prices together to determine the cost of duals. However, the advantage to the salon is recognized in at least three other ways. First, multiples appeal to current clients who don’t normally schedule more than one service. If a client is willing to come in for a pedicure, but wants to be out of the salon in an hour, the salon makes, as an example, $50. However, by” adding a dual manicure, the salon can bring in $75 — from the same client in the same hour. Yes, the salon would have grossed the same amount if the client had scheduled the appointments individually, but this client won’t, because she is only willing to schedule one hour of her time for treatments.

Second, offering dual services will entice new clients into the salon. People love new, better, and timesaving services. You will be offering all three. Your reputation for treating clients like royalty will draw in more customers who want it all, but never imagined they could have it. This combination of bliss and efficiency will appeal to clients who have never been to your salon, but who are enticed in by the chance to indulge in your idyllic new service.

Third, multiples give technicians an additional way to fill their appointment book. If you have — or work in — a large salon and there are holes in the schedule, multiple services offer a way to increase profits during idle times.

Serene But Speedy

The image of multiple services being done in 60-90 minutes may give you the impression of rushed clients receiving service from a hectic staff. Just the opposite is true. Clients schedule multiple services because they are busy, but the atmosphere of the techs, and the salon, can be calm, relaxed, and attentive. Also, multiple services appeal to a wide range of clientele; it isn’t only for time-crunched executives. Men like the convenience and efficiency of the double or triple services, and they appreciate the privacy of getting a manicure and pedicure away from the flow of heavy salon traffic.

Multiples are a way to draw in clients who want the salon services, but who don’t need the half- or full-day spa package. “People love it because it saves time,” says Villarreal. Salons owners who have added these combo services say they are well-suited for today’s lifestyle. It is multi-tasking at its best: an hour and a half to relax while three people make your face, fingers, and feet beautiful.

So what steps do you need to take to incorporate this indulgent, luxurious money-maker into your salon’s repertoire? You probably already have them: a creative mind and a customer-centered attitude. The success of multiple services at Tamara Spa originated from the belief that they “are not in the nail business, they are in the customer service business,” says Friedman. She notes there are many places that offer manicures and pedicures, but adds, “anyone can give a good pedicure, it’s how you make the customers feel” that keeps them coming back.

To introduce the services, ask clients who are already scheduled for a pedicure if they would like a manicure simultaneously. The nail tech begins by wrapping the client’s hands in warm towels. Once the towels have been on long enough for the client to relax and the cuticles to soften, the tech performs the manicure. When the client reschedules, ask her if she would like a dual service next time. Also, when clients call to schedule appointments, tell them about the new service that is available. Make sure you give the dual services catchy names to generate interest. (Relax. Now calls their facial/ manicure combo Urban Diva.)

Add Your Own Flair

Your own creativity will determine how your salon performs dual services. Relax. Now offers dual services by giving all pedicures and manicures on a facial table. Tamara Spa has a pedicure chair that allows for simultaneous services, and also offers manicures while the client is lying down during a facial. Trisha Kolker of The Blue Giraffe in Ashland, Ore., has an adjustable table that allows clients to lean back for a facial while their feet soak in a warm, aro­matic bath with air jets.

Do you want two techs or three working on the same client? Some salons opt for two techs: one performing a facial, and a nail tech giving both the pedicure and manicure. How you set up your salon will depend on you, your space, and your staff.

Coordinating the services takes some practice. The main thing to keep in mind is timing. For example: clients don’t want to have a relaxing foot massage while they are in the extraction step of the facial. Kolker says she trained her staff to use a technique that coordinates the exfoliating and the massaging steps of the services. The service, called Head to Toe, lasts an hour and 15 minutes. The techs stagger their entrance into the room. The esthetician begins with the facial, the pedicurist comes in next, and the manicurist joins in later. Kolker’s staff learned how to synchronize their services by practicing on each other. Then they offered it to their clients at a discounted price for one month, after that it took off, says Kolker. “It’s a little slice of heaven. Clients feel special and appreciated.”

Small spotlights on the working area give soft lighting in the room, but still offer techs enough lighting to see what they are doing. If your salon is just beginning to offer this service, the investment can be minimal: floor lamps can be repositioned to illuminate the working area, or wheeled manicure tables can be brought in as needed.

When you decide to introduce multiple services depends on you and your staff. How you decide to perform them (lying down or sitting up) will depend on your space and equipment. But why you perform them is universal: clients want them, and in a customer service business, clients will go to a salon that offers what they want.

Friedman says salons lose money when they have the misconception that you can sell only a basic manicure and pedicure. Clients love having more than basic services, and they don’t complain about price when they enjoy the experience. Once they try the dual service, and they realize how relaxing it is, they will call back and ask for the same treatment again. “There are tons of clients who want this,” says Friedman. “We offer what other salons don’t have.”

Michelle Pratt is a freelance writer and licensed nail tech based in Johnson City, N.Y.

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