Customer Service

7 Not-so-Sticky Salon Situations [Real Life Solutions to Issues with Men]

Bringing more men into the client-mix may mean facing some unique situations. How we handle sticky or potentially uncomfortable situations can mean the difference between keeping and losing clients. We went to Tammi Regan, Daphney Schaffer, Kelly Williamson, and Nyree Matthews for some practical, expert advice about some awkward situations that happen all too frequently.

I have a client who has really gnarly toenails. How do I make myself not dread this appointment?

Can you say job security? That alone should be enough to get you through the worst case of “dragon feet.” We are in a helping profession. Most of us went into the beauty industry to create beauty and facilitate health. That’s why our clients love us. Take the opportunity to serve Mr. Gnarly Toes by doing a thorough consultation. You can quickly determine if the problem is an issue of hygiene or health. Start looking forward to those clients, knowing you make a difference.

Part of your job is to make people comfortable in their own skin and to guide them in making the most of what they have. Gain your client’s trust and he will become a regular for Foot Detailing. Send him home with the right home-care products and your work just got easier. Bye-bye dragon feet!

I have a client who is really cute and I get flustered around him. What do I do?

Lucky you, a little eye-candy is good for the soul. Don’t get too overwhelmed though. Under that beautiful exterior and sharp suit is a human being like any other. Take a deep breath and rely on your professional training. Top off those rugged good looks with a top-of-the-line manicure. Once you snap into your professional persona, you will be too occupied with consultation and providing great service to be star struck. If that doesn’t work try thinking of him as you would your brother. That should do the trick. Better yet, send him to my salon!

How should I handle it when a client asks me out? Is it OK to date clients?

Whoa, hold on there. Danger ahead. First of all, make certain you are not creating an atmosphere that could be considered too intimate. You are at work. Be professional at all times. Set professional boundaries by learning how to communicate effectively with men in the salon. Start by staying away from subjects that are too personal. And, yes, that includes your home phone number! If your salon does not have a formal policy on dating clients, you will have to use your best judgment. Our experts agree that great care should be taken if you decide to accept a date with a client. Consider the repercussions such as losing a client or jeopardizing your professional reputation. A simple “Thanks for the invitation, but I don’t date my clients” may do the trick.

How do I handle a client who sort of creeps me out? I don’t think he’s really coming here for the manicure.

Ok honey, he may not be that into you. Could he just be uncomfortable in the salon?

Sure, clients should find services pleasurable. How do you tell if it’s excessive? The question should be, has he done something inappropriate? If you are in a private area and feel unsafe, excuse yourself and leave the room. Say something like, “I’m sorry, I can’t complete your service. The receptionist can check you out.” Your safety trumps everything else. Keep your tone professional at all times. Try to remember men may feel awkward holding hands at the nail table the first few times. What you think is creepy may just be self-consciousness. Do your best to make him feel comfortable, but pay attention to your intuition. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

I find the arm and leg massage more difficult on a man. Are there any tips to giving a great massage? How much pressure should I use?

Working on men requires slightly more pressure, depending on muscle tone. Take some instruction from massage therapists or attend a massage training to get a feel for what to expect when performing massage on men. When working on feet and lower legs, you can balance the foot on your knee. Hey, they are tough guys, but they don’t want to hold their leg up through a service — even Superman wouldn’t be comfortable. Also be aware of the muscle’s reaction and tone during massage. They are men; they might not want to “cry uncle” if the pressure is too firm.

I have a hard time telling if my male clients want to chat during the service or not. I’m not sure what to talk about with them.

Safe conversation starters include open-ended questions: “How did you like the foot balm you purchased on your last visit?” “Have you visited any good restaurants lately?” “What’s your favorite sports team?” Just like women, men like to talk. But sometimes they just want to chill out and relax. If they choose silence, so be it. You can limit conversation to questions relating to the service.

How do I change the conversation when a man comes in?

What were you talking about? Why don’t you want him to hear about all the wonderful services you offer? Could it be those were not on the list of topics? If your conversation must change rapidly when a man enters the room, it may be time for an inventory of your social conversation repertoire. Work with others in the salon to develop a list of safe topics — conversations you wouldn’t be ashamed for your 100-year-old grandmother to hear. You know your client better than anyone. Face it, we probably know our clients a little too well. Being too familiar can undermine your professional status with clients. If you find the salon conversations heading in an unwanted direction, use a reminder phrase, such as, “Has anyone seen the weather report for this weekend?” to gently guide off topic.

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