Do you ever look across the table and feel the urge to ask your clients, “Do you like me? Do you really, really like me?” Of course you do. And it’s only natural. We all need some positive feedback from time to time. So we conducted a little survey to find out what attracts clients to your salon and why they love you
It goes without saying, nail techs are one hardworking bunch. But generally speaking, yours is a thankless job. Sure, every now and again you work miracles with some clients and reap a few minutes of adoration, but the average client comes in for a manicure or fill and, if you’ve done your job well, leaves without much to-do. And while a nice tip can be indication enough of whether a client is happy with your work, every now and again it’s nice to get some insight into the minds of your clients. Here is what some clients had to say about selecting a salon and what they like in a nail tech.
The Client Trap
Your salon does its best to attract clients. Maybe you run ads in local papers, post billboards, host promotional events, run mailings, or distribute newsletters. But do you really know what’s going to lure potential clients when they’re looking for a nail salon? Not surprisingly, of the 18 factors clients told us they look for in a potential nail salon, the top three mentioned were cleanliness, atmosphere, and quality customer service — with price and convenient location coming in a close second.
“I like a friendly staff and the feeling that I am being pampered,” says Delores Krakoff of Los Angeles. “The salon I frequent stores individually labeled boxes of implements for returning clients. They offer water and snacks, and have plenty of good reading material. When I go to a salon that treats me well I feel like I’m more than just a quick buck — and I’m willing to return.”
Appearances matter to clients, and first impressions make a strong impact on clients shopping for a new salon. Many clients we spoke to mentioned they are initially attracted to “cute decor,” “modern surroundings,” “serene atmosphere,” “the latest and greatest in new equipment,” “a spa-like environment,” “qualified professionals,” “heavy foot traffic,” and “fun atmosphere,” but nearly every client stressed cleanliness as the major concern. “Cleanliness is huge,” insists Lori Marovich of San Francisco. “I make sure the foot spas are cleaned between clients. The floor needs to be vacuumed and the restroom needs to be clean and well maintained.
And while price is, of course, a top concern it is rarely the deciding factor. “A salon has to be clean,” says Michelle McMahon of Santa Monica, Calif. “I used to base my choice on price, but I was not always happy with what I got for that. I have heard too many stories about people getting infections. I would rather pay more for a clean salon.”
Age can play a factor in how important price is to a client. The younger 20- something clients find themselves needing to reconcile their beauty routine with their budget constraints — but even they make an effort to be savvy consumers.
“At my age price means a lot. Cheap is my main drive, but you have to be careful because not all inexpensive places are good,” says Sarah Soss of Long Beach, Calif. “I look for cleanliness. Are their workstations clean? Are the bathrooms clean? I look for color selection and massage spa chairs. If they have more than one brand of polish and multiple spa chairs that aren’t 20 years old, I feel like they’re probably doing pretty well.” And whether clients are attracted to your bustling storefront, gleaming pedicure spas, or complimentary coffee bar, what it comes down to is a matter of trust. Clients are looking for signs they can trust your salon to provide a clean, thorough service.
“I base my decision on recommendations from others who can tell me what you get for your money, like hand and foot massage, exfoliating treatments, all the special things that some salons charge extra for,” says McMahon. Instead of risking a bad experience and rather than paying a visit to inspect your salon for themselves, many clients rely on word of mouth to find a salon. Recommendations play a big role in whether a client dares set foot in your door. And if that’s not incentive enough to make sure every client leaves feeling satisfied, we don’t know what is.
What I Like About You
Once a client finds herself at your table, it doesn’t matter if your salon wows her with state-of-the-art equipment, the world’s best receptionist, and service options galore.At that table it’s
just the two of you, one on one. “I’m not a frilly person, so I don’t care about vibrating chairs and Zen waterfalls — I care about getting a really good manicure,” says one client.
And guess what? Your clients have a lot of good things to say about the time they spend with you. Beyond the general descriptions of “polite,” “friendly,” “considerate,” “enthusiastic,” “flexible,” and “efficient,” clients vary in their ideas of what makes for a good nail tech. “I like manicurists who know what they’re talking about, and who have favorite products for specific reasons,” says Carrie Jacobson of Santa Monica, Calif. “I tend to ask a lot of questions and I like when they can answer me with formulated opinions. Enthusiasm is a plus.”
Personalities can come into play when a client is deciding if she has received a good service. Some clients are not looking to form a friendship with their techs, while others like to feel a sense of connection.