Going to the nail salon has become a beacon of brightness in an otherwise complicated world. Guests anticipate the same delightful service and they deserve the cleanliness and care that comes with a pandemic-prepared salon. The challenges may be daunting, but the payoff is immeasurable, ensuring that your business is able to keep running while your clients remain happy and healthy.
Keep Up with Regulations
Sometimes it's hard to keep up with the latest set of rules and regulations set by national and local governments. Not to mention the best practices that industry leaders are constantly updating. Designate a trusted staff member to be responsible for keeping track of these changes, empowering them to make suggestions for further improvements as the latest products and procedures emerge.
Make it easy for customers to embrace these changes as well. Properly posted and well-designed signage should be displayed throughout the space, from reception to stations and bathrooms alike. While you can always commission designs unique to your branding, online retailers have endless options of pre-printed materials that you can purchase or other print-on-demand pieces that cover the basics.
Focus on Reception
Waiting rooms have become the most unpredictable and potentially dangerous areas in any nail salon. Streamlining these spaces and limiting erratic behavior is possible with a combination of physical alterations as well as a prepared staff.
- Support Your Staff: Keep your administrative employees stationed throughout the space, especially in front desk positions. These employees will be vital in controlling the way that customers interact with the salon while keeping up with cleaning duties throughout the day. It might be worth scheduling a more robust schedule that can accommodate the extra cleaning and guest service procedures that might emerge.
- Materials Matter: When choosing new waiting room furniture, look for pieces that are designed in durable and easy-to-clean materials that can be wiped down with FDA-approved solvents between use. Vinyl is the toughest, most resilient choice, but other polyurethanes have more color options that can look just like their luxurious leather counterparts (without the tedious care requirements).
- Online Check-In: Booking platforms are more and more common these days and that upfront investment has inherent value to every business. Further, look for platforms that also offer a contactless check-in system that notifies staff without added face-to-face interaction.
- Control the Flow: Use floor-mounted signs to keep traffic patterns moving throughout the salon in a specified way. It's best to keep larger spaces heavily regulated while smaller areas might benefit from just a few chosen paths. When possible, dedicated entrance and exit areas are preferable, as are single-direction footpaths.
One of the most fun parts of the nail salon experience? Picking out polish and purchasing product. These create high-touch areas that are less than ideal. Your existing website might have built-in widgets that can handle these two processes with ease. For retail items, it's a bonus to have a fully-shoppable experience, but at minimum it's wise to have a detailed page to browse what's available while keeping inventory elsewhere.
Swatching and uploading your catalog of colors might sound tedious and exhausting, but the benefits will last beyond COVID-19. Create an online catalog that can be browsed anywhere, ensuring that the finish of any polishes are adequately described. Make sure the white balance on any photos is true-to-life for an ideal experience for every customer.
Rethink Your Layout
Spacing is essential in the all-new salon environment. While it's tempting to keep as many stations open as possible, there might not be enough breadth between everybody. If this is the case, temporarily reduce the salon's footprint and store a few stations for future use. For fixed layouts or immovable furniture, try to schedule around these limitations to keep compliant with occupancy laws as well as the 6' spacing guideline. Whenever possible, keep as many people back-to-back as possible, leaving face-to-face interaction between nail artists and clients.
Sanitizing Made Easy
Salons are naturally high-touch. After every guest and every use, keep all surfaces clean and make it easy for everybody to follow the rules:
- Hand sanitizer on-demand should be at the ready for guests, located at every service station as well as the exit and reception desk.
- Ample wipes should be placed near and used to quickly wipe down quick touch items, such as polishes or product if it remains accessible in the salon.
- More stringent solvents are required to wipe down heavily occupied areas, such as stations and items touched by clients and staff alike. Use these between every single guest, no matter what.
- Increase the frequency and depth of tool cleaning, ensuring that everything used for every client is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized beyond your normal protocol. This might include purchasing additional tools to make up for items that might not be fully-cleaned in short order.
- Create an easy-to-follow checklist for employee reference, outlining the specific tasks they need to perform between appointments. This will naturally look different for artists as well as support staff, ensuring that all of the boxes are ticked every time.
Masking and Branding
Print-on-demand also offers clever clothing and branding opportunities that are affordable and effective. Look into fabric masks for staff that boast your salon's branding, either purchased from an online retailer or commissioned from a local artist. To guarantee compliance, make simple disposable masks available at the entrance to ensure that everybody who enters the building is properly masked at all times.
Joanna Terry, director of healthcare sales at National Business Furniture is an experienced design professional with more than 20 years of industry experience.
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