For years I have tried to come up with a plan for some sort of end-of-year reward/punishment — yes, punishment — program for my clients based on their behavior throughout the year.
Lots of business do this sort of thing. You get a gift card or coupon code or what-have-you based on how much you spent during the year. But I’ve never embraced this idea because my clients all spend approximately the same amount of money throughout the year — all they have to do is be regular clients for the whole year. I don’t want my regular clients to feel slighted because they prefer classic pink-and-whites to over-the-top bling’d out nails. I don’t want to “punish” good clients just because they don’t get their toes done too.
Basing a reward program on dollars spent has never made me comfortable.
On the other hand, you know I keep notes every time a client stands me up, is late for her appointment, “forgets” her checkbook, or shows up with a kid (I have a strict no-kids policy) thinking she can sneak by my policy “just this once.”
I really want some sort of reward program that will reward the clients who have been wonderful, the ones who keep their appointments and always remember to cancel or reschedule in advance if something comes up, the ones who treat me like gold, the ones who remember when my birthday is and ask how my little diabetic dog is doing — you know, the wonderful people who march through my life on a regular basis and just fill my heart up with warm fuzzies.
And I want something that will remind those naughty types of just how often they “forgot” what time their appointment was, just how often they wrote that check out for the wrong amount before their appointment and then said, “Oh, sorry, I thought it was only... I’ll get you next time.” I want a way to hold them accountable for that time they stood me up, that time they showed up with all 10 of their nails ripped off expecting me to be able to do a new set when I had them scheduled for a fill, and I want to remind them that I came through for them on that. Remember? I got that set done in an hour and we even had time left for nail art? Remember? You showed up with your 4-year-old grandson without any warning because your daughter-in-law had to go shopping with her BFF and didn’t have a sitter — and I did your nails anyway? I let the kid sit on my lap so he could watch what I was doing without bumping you all the time? Rememberhow insanely patient and AWESOME I ameven though you are kinda irresponsible and inconsiderate?
Yes. It’s true. I don’t have a problem confronting people and putting the kibosh on bad behavior. I fire clients, I charge them fees, I look them straight in the eye and say, “Sorry, the no kids thing is pretty set in stone, you’ll have to reschedule.” But let’s face it, we all make exceptions occasionally. Usually because we understand that life happens, sometimes we really need the money right then and there, sometimes it’s a client who is ordinarily amazing and it’s only fair to give cut her a little slack now and then... but I don’t want anyone to think I’m not keeping track.
So, as I headed home on Christmas Eve, I got an idea — an awful idea. I got a wonderful, awful idea!
I’m still working out the details, but I think Santa won’t be the only one making a list of who’s naughty and nice for next year. I think my “nice” clients will get a little reward, and I think my “naughty” clients will get a little something to remind them — gently and humorously — of how they made the naughty list.
Now. If I can just figure out what the nail equivalent of a lump of coal is.