Take control of stressful situations by managing your mood and emotions instead of letting them manage you.
“Any technician, whether new or well-established, must demonstrate her confidence up-front with the client,” advises Hamilton. “A client can tell a lot by how a technician holds her hands and files her nails. The technician must be firm and efficient, yet gentle. By displaying confidence, the technician will raise the client’s confidence,” Hamilton adds.
Most technicians will agree that one of the most stressful aspects of doing nails is not having enough time to finish a service before the next client arrives, whether it is because there are more repairs than expected, a client comes in without an appointment, or the technician is simply not fast enough.
“The importance of a well-educated front desk should not be underestimated,” says Hamilton. “Receptionists can be trained so that they are prepared with the right questions when they answer the phone.
“For example, if a client is coming in for a pedicure, the receptionist will be able to instruct her to bring a pair of open-toed shoes and to be prepared to relax for 45 minutes after the service.
But no matter what safeguards you implement, you just can’t be prepared for every situation. Sometimes it is just a matter of knowing how to deal with different personalities.
Tricia Wilson, owner and operator of Distinctive Nails in Sun City, Ariz., was put to the test when a first-time acrylic client mistook a chip on her nail for fungus. Having recently heard some negative information about acrylics, the client panicked. When she returned to the salon she started screaming in front of Wilson’s other clients. Although Wilson was working on another client, she sat the distraught client down and explained that nothing was wrong and that she had just chipped a nail. She promised that as soon as she was finished with her first client she would fix the nail and repolish it. “Not only did I save the client, but I gained two new ones who were impressed by the way I handled the situation,” says Wilson.
“No matter what the situation is, you’re on stage. Everyone’s watching you and you have to demonstrate that you’re concerned and that you will fix any problem to the best of your ability,” she continues.
Wilson also changed her attitude toward clients who scrutinize their first hand while the other one is being manicured. “I will turn the situation into a positive one before the client has a chance to do anything else,” says Wilson. “I’ll ask the customer if I missed something, if she likes the color, if she approves of the length, etc.
“Most of the time, the client will say ‘They’re beautiful,’ or ‘I can’t believe how pretty they are,’ and I’ll realize that I was just acting on my own internalized fear,” she explains.
There’s a fine line between wanting to placate your clients and knowing when you’re being taken advantage of. Wiersema makes the time for a regular client who walks in without an appointment. If she senses frustration or displeasure from the client she is working on, she excuses herself for a minute to see when she has an opening in her schedule.
Whether she is a loyal regular or walk-in, Wiersema likes to acknowledge every person who enters the salon. “I’ll smile and try to be personable and put the client at ease, “Wiersema, who knows that if there is no client, there is no business. “If I can’t fit them into the schedule, I’ll do my best to let them know why and try to schedule another appointment.”
There is sure to be that day when everything goes wrong. You work straight through the day listening to the soap-opera melodramas and complaints of every client, you don’t seem able to make anyone happy, and you have to turn away a walk-in.
Don’t despair! Realize that it’s just one of those days. If you have any plans for the evening, cancel them. You have a more important date … with yourself. If you haven’t eaten, make sure you have a well balanced dinner (or a midnight snack if it was a particularly long day). Then do whatever it is that makes you feel happy and calm. Whether it is listening to music, reading, exercising to a videotape, or doing absolutely nothing, just do it. In the morning you’ll be ready to begin again.
The author, Jenay Root, is a freelance writer in Redondo Beach, Calif.