Because I live in a small town it’s hard not to become friends with my clients. However, I keep friendship and business very separate so there are no hard feelings. My clients/friends never ask me for a discount or to stay late. They are very considerate of me and my time because they know I have family to take care of at home.
Layman’s Hair Co. (Albany, Ore.)
I try not to socialize with clients outside of the salon because of one situation in particular. A client with whom I was friends began arriving late for her appointments and once didn’t even show up. On a personal level, I liked having her as a friend. However, on a professional level, I became very frustrated. After speaking to her about the importance of being on time, she became upset, which caused tension between us and made things difficult. Since that incident, I refrain from socializing with clients and prefer to keep our relationship on a strictly professional level.
Dawn DelSasso (Pensacola, Fla.)
Yes I do socialize with my clients, whom I also consider my friends. Our relationships are steadily growing.
Neelam Malhotra (New City, N.Y.)
Of course we do! Our manager hosts a barbecue about once a month and we started a salon travel club this year. Our first trip was to Mexico and it was a huge success. We’re going on an overnight trip next, and if it’s a success, then we’re planning a cruise. We’ve had technicians and clients on bowling teams, and we try to attend client bridal and baby showers, and bachelorette parties. Interacting with clients has helped make us successful. We mail a newsletter every two months to keep clients up-to-date on our activities. We feel the extra expense of the activities is worth it because you can’t put a price on happy, loyal clients. In our area, where there is a nail salon on almost every corner, creating a niche helps us stand out from the rest and cater to the type of clients who enjoy this type of interaction.
Fingerpaints Nails & Tanning (Glendale, Ariz.)
I do socialize with clients, and attend most of the functions they invite me to. By supporting my clients, I feel that they are more committed to me and appreciate me more. We share a bond. Remember, you’re servicing someone who is less than two feet away from you. Therefore, you have no choice but to build a bond or lose a customer. Who wants to sit for an hour and not feel comfortable rather than feel as if she sitting with a friend? Clients want to know that you appreciate them and part of appreciating them is acknowledging their private lives. So, if they take the time to invite you, please take the time to show up.
J.C. Penney Styling Salon (Kennewick, Wash.)