The recent devastating hurricanes and other world disasters have greatly affected our economy. Fuel prices have increased along with the prices of just about everything else. Nail maintenance seems to be about the last thing on our clients’ minds — or in their budgets — these days. How do we keep our clients coming in when they are stressed out about everyday bills and the changing economy? We need to create an environment within our salons that can become an escape from our clients’ day-to-day concerns.

I often hear my clients mention how they wish they could take a vacation or even have another vacation, after just returning from one. How difficult would it be for us to provide them with a vacation-like atmosphere while we service their nails? As technicians we are in a unique position of providing an intimate and pampering experience for another person while they relax. This is the same sensation they feel when they take a vacation. Our salon and services can also provide this calming environment for our clients and we need to encourage them to continue getting their nails serviced on a regular basis, even if it may not be in their budget.

It is important to pamper our clients from the minute they walk in to our salons, welcoming them with a smile. Think of how you are greeted when you check into a nice hotel and incorporate this into your own personal greeting. Everyone wants to be accepted, listened to, and cared about.

In order to maintain an “escape-like” environment, keep your conversations away from negative subjects, world or national issues, and disasters. Talk with your clients only about good and positive topics. Avoid starting stressful conversations by keeping the television and radio tuned off from any news channels. Make an effort to remember something your client told you about on her last visit, even if you need to jot yourself a note. Asking questions like, “How is your son doing in school this week?” or “Is your mother feeling better now?” shows your client not only that you listen to her, but that you care about her as a person. Use words to encourage and compliment your clients and they will appreciate the time they have with you and begin to regard their salon service as a “re-charging” necessity in their lives.

Many of my clients travel more than 30 miles to get their nails serviced. With the prices of fuel rising, several have told me they may have to discontinue their nail services. When a client is experiencing financial difficulties she often will cut out her nail services completely. It is up to us to find a way to keep them coming into the salon. You can suggest extending her appointments an additional week, or down-sizing her service to one that will better fit in her budget. I offer package plans at my salon where clients pay for so many services up front and get one free.

We cannot disregard the positive influence and listening ear we provide clients. If we are able to brighten someone’s day or encourage someone, little by little we can do our part to make this world a better place.

— Patricia Yankee Williams, 2005 AVAs Nail Technician of the Year and owner of Pattie’s Place in Baldwin, N.Y.


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