If I ask what your favorite fast food restaurant is, you most likely could pop right off with one or two. If that question was followed up with are they always clean and is the service always amazing your answer may be just as quick but not as delighted. Is your favorite fast food place cheap? Some are more so than others, so your answers would start to vary here. Salons can vary in much the same way. It would be great if nail professionals and their clients could more easily distinguish the good and the bad in salons as easily as we seem to be able to sort through a place to eat.
My first example would be a non-standard salon. I encourage you not to visualize a stereotype with this phrase. A non-standard salon is not determined by price, race, or location but service and regulations. This type of salon would choose not to follow industry standards in disinfection, sanitation, education, or service quality. A client that is ignored during the service, needs a Tylenol or Band-aid to survive all services, and is not serviced with clean or new files or implements has most likely been to a non-standard salon whether she paid $10 or $100 for what she had done.
Next we have a discount salon. This is not determined by race or service quality, but by price. I know a lot of nail techs that choose not to charge what they are truly worth. Even if you are thinking in your mind I can’t charge more than $5 for a manicure or no one in this town would come to me, it is still your choice to charge that. Some discount salons realize that they must cut corners to turn a profit or just break even, while others do a great job with clean tools and just suffer through making minimum wage (or in most cases even less by the time you figure in their overhead). That is one of the reasons for some of the turnover in nails.
Those are the two most misunderstood or misused terms when it comes to salon descriptors. Salons that don’t fall into those categories tend to be diligent in charging enough to make more than minimum wage once overhead is factored in. As they remain in the industry they raise prices on a regular basis to keep up with cost of living increases. Customer service is above and beyond all the time, sanitation and disinfection follow and most times exceed industry standards.
I suppose the moral of the story is to educate your clients as to the things you do to take care of them. Answer questions, offer a smile, and give them service to brag about. My favorite fast food place is Chick-fil-a. I sadly no longer live near one so when I travel and find one it is a major treat. I love pulling up to the drive-through and being asked about my order by a cheerful voice that sounds like the speaker is smiling. It makes me smile when I pull up and the person at the window is smiling and friendly, then when I say thank you, instead of a disgusted look or grunt they say “My pleasure.” My sandwich and fruit cup always taste the amazing way I expect them to. This level of service at a fast food chain is unusual and it always makes me smile and just plain feel happy when I know I am going to visit one. Customer service may be a dying art in fast food and salons alike, but this is how your salon should make people feel. Someone should be smiling and happy just knowing they are coming to a clean, friendly environment where the price is worth it because the service and product are of great value to them.