Clients come in for the beautiful nails, but they sure do enjoy the extra touches you provide. With a little flair you can make hospitality part of your client care program. The key to keeping your clients entertained in the salon is to give them plenty to think about — new services, local art and culture, and multimedia are a few examples.
As beauty professionals, we are a fun-loving, hospitable group of people. So, you don’t have to look far for ideas to keep clients entertained. Fundraisers, barbecues, holiday parties, and networking events are part of our lifestyle. Coordinate these hospitality events with marketing efforts to get the attention of current and potential clients. Even the more mundane aspects of a salon visit can be made fun with a little thought and attention to detail.
While in the Reception Area
Darica Romain of Changes Hairstyling & City Spa in Norfolk, Va., offers the following entertainment options while clients are waiting:
Keep current promotional literature displayed for retail items and services available in the salon. All staff members should be prepared to answer questions from clients. Include home care and style tips.
Offer a selection from the beverage bar. Clients can relax with a cup of coffee, juice, tea, etc. Change’s has built its hospitality center into the center of the salon, nestled between the hair, nail, and conference room. The custom- designed, curved bar conceals a refrigerator, dishwasher, and sink. This arrangement facilitates client care and staff meetings alike.
If clients have a slight wait, you can offer a paraffin hand treatment or other complimentary treatment.
Keep plenty of retail items where the clients can touch them. Display in treatment areas, reception, and at booking/ checkout stations.
Style books can give clients ideas for their next service.
Keep Periodicals Fresh
“I like to offer my clients the local magazines with information about the community,” says Aminta Favela of Decoupage Salon and Spa, in Slidell, La.
Keep magazines current.
Keep magazines and style books neat and tidy.
Toss periodicals that have become tattered looking.
Keep a stack of your salon newsletters where clients can pick one up.
Browse the Boutique
Unusual boutique items that change frequently encourage clients to browse and see what’s new. Shannon Chomanczuk of A Polished Image in New Windsor, N.Y., entertains both herself and her clients with her custom-designed jewelry. “I make and sell my own jewelry, so I am always making new pieces to put on display in the salon. I also offer an ever-changing retail area stocked with the newest items,” she says.
Rearrange the retail items to keep the area fresh.
Place new items at eye level for maximum impact.
Place scented pump soap (from your retail area) in the wash room and change the scent monthly so clients don’t get bored.
Create eye-catching product displays with cloth draping and staggering of retail products. Keep the displays clean and neat.
For Small Intimate Salons
Entertaining clients doesn’t have to be a grand affair. Some of the small nuances of hospitality can keep clients entertained and quite comfortable. LaShaun Brown-Glenn of Nails Naturally in Chicago, shares that clients love the friendly conversation over a beverage from the fantastic custom coffee machine in the salon. She advises to “keep the conversation light, up-beat, and positive. Support clients and encourage interaction.”
Munchies for Lunch
Give clients something to chew on — literally. Maisie Dunbar of M&M Nails & Wellness in Silver Spring, Md., provides snacks for clients. Some days it will be cheese and crackers, fruit, veggies, or pastries. “A lot of clients will come in on their lunch break,” she says. “When we do fruit trays, we always have a lot left over. The cheese and crackers have to be refilled often.”
Partner with a local café or restaurant to offer a lunch option with service packages. Clients can pre-order from a limited menu and enjoy light fare between services.
If you offer snacks, remember to provide picks or little forks to keep hands and nails free of crumbs and sticky residue.
Use televisions and monitors to play videos of fashion shows, makeup application techniques, home-care tips, etc.
Use music to set the tone. Change it to match the theme of the event.
Offer Wi-Fi Internet service so clients can check e-mail while they wait.
Have a local radio station broadcast from the salon.
Offer MP3 players and headsets for clients who want to tune out during services.
Serving Up Adult Beverages
Salons such as Diva’s Day Spa & Salon in Southern Shores, N.C., and Ohm Spa Sanctuary in Newport News, Va., serve alcoholic beverages to clients. Whether it’s a glass of wine, a cold beer, mimosas, or champagne, make sure you check with your State Alcohol Beverage Control Board and your licensing agency to make sure that you have the proper permits to serve alcohol on the premises. Also check with your insurance agent to see if a special rider is required if you serve alcohol in the salon.
Launch a New Product or Service
Keep clients looking forward to their next visit. Newsletters and e-mail updates can entertain clients and be a valuable marketing tool at the same time. When M&M Nails and Wellness launched their line of private label products, they sent out e-mails to their client base.
They followed through by making gift bags and having custom-printed M&M candies made that said “Thank You” and “Touch of Beauty.” Go to www.mymms.com to get own custom printed candies. “The clients said they were so cute, they almost didn’t want to eat them!” says Dunbar.
Add Some Local Culture
At New Orleans salons Shine Spa + Specialties and Spa Aria, you might find a local author signing books or a talented musician serenading the clients. Sandy Blum, the co-owner of both salons, says they try to have some type of event quarterly to keep clients interested. “Some of the artists we’ve had come in have quite a following,” she says. Blum advises cross-marketing with other business partners so that both businesses benefit. She offers some other events salons could offer:
Host a local chef to prepare appetizers and make sure to have plenty of the restaurant’s menus available for clients to take with them.
Participate in a local fundraiser. “We support an organization called DesireNOLA.org that helps victims of Hurricane Katrina. We sell commemorative T-shirts that raise money for ongoing support of the survivors.”
Showcase live music and sell the CDs in the retail area.
Host a mini-treatment night. Make it a party with chocolates and champagne.
Bring in a local jewelry designer to show their wares. There is nothing like a ring or new bracelet to remind us we need a manicure.
Allow local artists to use your salon as a gallery. You can change artists on a monthly basis to keep things fresh. Clients will love looking at up-and-coming artists’ work.
Share a Hobby or Interest
Heather Goodwin of A Totally Unique Nail Boutique, in Palm Harbor, Fla., shares her passion for reading during client visits. “We always have the latest ‘gossip rags,’ great cooking magazines, and shopping journals,” she says. “But lately I’ve started a book swap. Always an avid reader, I’ve encouraged my clients to take some time out for themselves and start reading a good book. The clients love it, and what a difference it has made in our conversations!”
not-so- wacky culture
Video games for the young at heart (perhaps with the sound turned way down). Check out Belle’s Beauty Boutique at www.RealArcade.com: “Clip, clean, and color a crazy cast of characters in this fast-paced frenzy of fun. Help Belle, an aspiring beautician, keep her customers relaxed and looking their best by supplying them with a wide array of salon offerings. Soothing music and spa treatments are sure to keep your clients calm, but you and Belle will have to be quick on your feet to earn enough money to make Belle’s dreams come true.”
A pool table could attract the boys to venture in for more frequent manicures. In Atlantic City, N.J., the Borgata Casino Barbershop houses a billiard table for client entertainment.
Make a list of the dates of the local proms. Hold a pre-prom event and pamper prom-goers with special event packages and treats.
Hold a special event for bridal parties. Champagne, roses, soft music, and giggles as the bridesmaids share prenuptial secrets. Put together gift bags for all participants. Include coupons for future salon visits to encourage them to return.
Get teens started on their way to healthy grooming habits at teen or pre-teen birthday parties. Include a fun or funky nail color for each participant. Manicures or pedicures all around. Need extra help for these events? Check out your local beauty school for new graduates.
Keep Staff Members Motivated and Entertained
Hold a retail contest. Offer a prize to the staff member who can increase her retail sales by the largest percentage or bring the most new clients to the salon. The prize could be a day off, gift card, or monetary incentive. Heather Goodwin holds contests every month. She suggests a “red-carpet” night after the holidays to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments in front of the whole team. “Cheer each other on and keep working toward your goals,” says Goodwin.
Turn staff meetings into a fun learning experience. Provide light refreshments and have a giveaway. Staff members who arrive on time put their name in the hat for the drawing at the end of the meeting.
Provide regular activities away from the salon for employees to get together and enjoy each other’s company. Dunbar recently took her staff members to enjoy a day at a local spa. The staff got to enjoy treatments and brainstorm customer service options.
Attend trade shows and classes together to learn the latest techniques and trends.
Encourage staff members to participate in the salon newsletter by writing articles and submitting informational pieces.