Customer Service


This holiday season, transform your menu into a winter wonderland of services that tantalize clients’ senses, smooth away their stresses, and moisturize their dry hands and feet.

It’s that time of year again, when most salon professionals feel too busy to take a breath, much less plot ways to build their books and service tickets. But the most successful salon and spa owners know you can never be too busy to seek opportunities to heat up service and retail sales.

“Look at your resources to see what services aren’t being upgraded or what departments aren’t busy during this time,” advises John Stefanick, production manager at Noelle Spa for Beauty & Wellness, in Stamford, Conn. Even the fullest appointment book can accommodate service add-ons – think paraffin foot treatments coupled with a fill or a moisturizing hand massage with a pedicure – that grow revenues with little added time.

Stefanick also favors even the smallest salons hiring seasonal help to take the load off service providers by answering phones, checking out clients, and assisting with retail selections. Where state board regulations allow, you may also be able to hire a student nail technician to remove polish, prep pedicure baths, and perform foot and hand facials.

It’s also the ideal time to build up newer techs’ appointment books. Gear your winter service menu toward building a clientele by enticing potential clients with professional nail care services that fulfill a seasonal need. The trick is to identify your clientele’s emotional and physical needs and to respond with customized service solutions. For example, salons in colder climates may find that clients clamor for services that warm inside and out with hot beverages, heated elements (hot towel wraps, paraffin dips, etc.), and spicy scents (i.e., orange, clove, cinnamon).

As NAILS’ editors scoured the service menus of salons across the country, we found a blend of winter-themed signature services that fell into four broader “needs” categories. Specifically, clients seek out services that warm and moisturize their skin and cuticles, provide the finishing touches for the holiday celebrations, stimulate their senses of smell and taste, and relieve their stresses.

Take a sneak peek at what other salons and spas are doing below as a way to get your own creative juices flowing. You may find that all you really need is a more descriptive service description. “A spa-style manicure may have stress-relieving or comforting properties,” explains Bonnie Canavino, spa manager at Maxine Ltd. in Chicago, “but when they hear ‘White Chocolate Mint Pedicure’ or ‘Honey Cram Wrap,’ they get a visual picture.”

Warm Up, Stress Down

Chase away winter’s chill – and the dry, rough skin it leaves in its wake – with services designed to warm and moisturize. “The main problem people come to us for in the winter is dryness,” says Lizzette Gonzalez, a nail technician at Noelle. “They want to know how to make their feet softer and how to deal with cracking skin.”

Don’t let a full appointment book hold you back: Fashion add-ons that build service tickets in little time. For example, woo manicure and fill clients with a “warm foot wrap” or “hydrating hot towel treatment.” Before starting the manicure, slather her feet in warm lotion, and then wrap them in plastic wrap and cover with heated booties or hot towels.

Noelle’s tried-and-true hot winter nail add-ons include paraffin dips and foot facials. And feel free to dress up thee straightforward services. At The Spa at Norwich Inn in Norwich, Conn., clients warm up to the Cozy Rosey Toes foot wrap every winter. Promoted as “super-hydrating” and softening to rough, dry feet, the foot treatment includes exfoliation and callus removal followed by warm booties and a foot massage.

Be sure to add at least one main attraction Paul Conzo Day Spa in Worcester, Mass, fans waning interest in winter pedicures with a Hot Stone Pedicure, complete with a warm aromatherapy Jacuzzi foot bath and a massage with warm oil and hot, smooth lava stones.

Soothe Stressed Souls

Don’t underestimate the power of small-but-nurturing touches before and after the holiday rush. Soothe emotions and the musculature with massage, music, and essential oils. “We use chamomile and lavender to calm the senses,” says Tara Oolie, co-owner of Just Calm Down in New York.

A perennial client favorite, massage makes an ideal main attraction in any nail service. You might be surprised at how many clients would willingly pay an extra $5 for a 10-minute extension of their foot and calf massage. Remember that manicure and fill clients love their foot massages, as well: Consider addition the option of a 10-minute foot massage while their polish dries.

Stimulate the Senses

The traditional holiday season scents present ample opportunities to pack a punch to your service menu with smells and tastes that trigger happy memories and good feelings. Think cinnamon and spice, and then follow you nose to pine, baked apples, pumpkin, sandalwood, frankincense, and myrrh. Just a few drops of essential oil in a soak can transform any service into a sensory delight.

But why stop there? A little imagination and a few extra products can give clients an out-of-this-world sensory experience. Clients eat up the Oatmeal & Apple Pedicure at A Signature Day Spa in Carmel, Calif., which makes liberal use of an oatmeal exfoliant and apple and lavender essential oils. And at The Klinic in Old City (Philadelphia), client feast on the Cranberry Manicure (topped off with hand reflexology).

Essential oils present almost unlimited opportunities to celebrate the winter solstice. For example, you can welcome the first nip of fall with a pine pedicure by borrowing a page from the service menu of The Spa at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. While the spa’s West Coast Pedicure celebrates the region’s towering pines rater than the first frost with a “pine-infused pedicure,” you can celebrate the arrival of fall simply by adding a pine oil extract to the foot soak and to sea salts for exfoliation. Pumpkin enzyme peels and vanilla nut scents also have proved perennial favorites, says Canavino. Let your imagination take the lead: A favorite treat inspired Janeen Jesse of Dillard’s Your Salon in Colorado Springs, Colo., to create a Snickerdoodle manicure. “Put a slice of lemon in the soak and add a little bit of cinnamon and vanilla oils to the service, then serve it with Snickerdoodles [cookies].”

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