Detailed client cards can be your best tool in the client retention struggle, helping you organize client information for efficient and attentive customer service.

Having detailed client records not only helps you remember key service and personal details about clients, but it marks you as a true professional.

If you’ve ever been to the doctor or dentist then you’re familiar with a patient chart. The chart lists every appointment you’ve had, as well as any conditions you have and prescriptions the doctor has written for you. It’s an easy, reliable way for the doctor to keep track of you. Just like people in the medical field rely on these records to help them keep track of their patients, you can also use them to your advantage in the salon.

 “Client information cards are the most integral part of salon and spa businesses today,” says Bonnie Canavino of Spa Specifics, a consulting firm for spas and salons in Park Ridge, Ill. “They create a data base for direct marketing and list the services clients have enjoyed and products they have purchased. They also list client needs, health history, and custom treatments.”

Client card front.  Not only is keeping client cards good customer service, it'll prevent errors and time-wasting searches for information.

Client card front.  Not only is keeping client cards good customer service, it'll prevent errors and time-wasting searches for information.

Client cards also allow you to give clients an extra dose of personal treatment. “I have a large clientele and I don’t always remember everything I would like to about a client,” says Patricia Yankee Williams, owner of Pattie’s Place in Baldwin, N.Y. “I use my client cards to strike up a conversation about a spouse, family, or special days. It makes the service more personal.”

Client card back.

Client card back.

The great thing about client cards is that you don’t have to only list every appointment a client has made with you.

Client cards help you keep track of services clients have enjoyed and products they’ve purchased, their needs, health history and reactions, and formulas and types of custom treatments they prefer.
Plus, client cards are perfect for creating a database for salon marketing. You already have their addresses stored; now all you need to do is mail those newsletters and discount cards.

What to Include

Gathering the proper information can be a great experience between a nail tech and her client if the nail tech keeps it specific, to the point, and always asks with a smile, says Canavino.

Knowing a client’s occupation will help you direct your conversation toward something that interests her as well as provide clues on why her nails may show wear and tear. And if you know her birthday it’s always nice to give a client a birthday card or small gift on her special day.

Keep track of your client’s nail care history. Knowing what a client has already tried will make it easier for you to recommend at-home products and treatments. Also ask her if she’s allergic to any cosmetic products and if there’s anything in her medical history you need to know about, such as allergic reactions or sensitivity to certain chemicals. Also keep track of the initial condition of your client’s nails.

Ask a client what her favorite polish color is, as well as what her preferred services are. This will save you lots of time when that client is sitting across from you. Instead of wondering what color to use you’ll have it ready to go.

Customized colors and services are also something you might consider including in your client card. For example, you may want to note if you have to mix several shades of colored acrylic to get the perfect shade of burgundy for a client, or if you add a layer of gel over an acrylic overlay to another client’s nails.

Personal contact information:
  • Occupation
  • Medical cond11tions
  • Birthday (no year)
  • Polish preference
  • Initial condition of nails
  • Preferred services and products used on client
  • Visit dates
  • At-home maintenance and retail recommendations
  • Customized color recipe
Avoid asking:
  • Age
  • Salary
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Sexual preference

You may also want to ask clients about their at-home maintenance routine, as well as keep track of each visit and what they had done.

Informing clients on your sanitation and safety amenities helps avoid health and comfort issues. Add it to the bottom of your client card to remind you to inform clients for their benefit that you care.

What to Avoid

Review a client’s card with her every time she comes in for an appointment. If you don’t, it will only open up room for error and potential mistakes, says Canavino. “Liability comes from a lack of information or no card or profiling,” she says.

For example, if a client tells you she is diabetic and is prone to rashes and you customize her pedicure with that in mind and note it on her client card, she’s going to expect that same specialized service the next time she sees you. If you don’t pull out that client card to review what service she received or her health history the next time she’s in the salon, she might walk away feeling that information she first gave you didn’t help and you failed to do your job as a nail technician. Although having detailed information is no guarantee against a lawsuit, it sure boosts your case to have a signed card indicating you asked clients these questions.

MaeLing Parrish, a nail tech at Nail Sensation in Columbus, Ohio, says there are some things you should avoid asking clients, including age, salary, religion, politics, and sexual preference. Stick to salon-related questions.

More of a Benefit Than a Bother

If you think a client card seems like too much trouble and takes up too much time, think again.While you send your client to wash her hands pull out her card and fill it out — it only takes a few seconds. Besides, your client will most likely not mind that you’re looking out for her health and comfort.

Having client cards doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal. You can design your own card and have it printed for practically nothing. Or, you can use recipe cards and store them in a recipe box. Several companies also sell ready-made systems. We’ve also put together a sample client card you can use in your salon (see page 92). Or, you can use it as a guide to make your own client card.

Remember, have her client card ready every time a client comes in for an appointment. Ask her if anything has changed since her last appointment and make a note of it. Canavino recommends completing a new card every six to nine months, depending on how often you see a client.

Simmy Bredal-Bell, an educator in Vernon, N.J., says she keeps every client card. “I view my client cards the same way a doctor views patient records,” she says. “If you have clients you haven’t seen in years, then I recommend scanning them and burning them on a CD.”

Besides making you appear more professional, client cards can definitely make your job easier. And who can complain about that?

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.

Read more about