What does a Client look for when choosing a Salon?

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Snugglepuss

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There have been many questions about what a technician needs to do to set up a new salon. However, if we take a step back and look at it from a client’s perspective (or even our own, should we decide to treat ourselves to a treatment) then what would we look for? The focus is mainly on a high street salon, but some of the comments will apply to either a home based salon or indeed a mobile technician.

These are my opinions –but feel free to add or discuss!

First off, it would always be cleanliness of the salon. For me this is a major indication of how seriously, the salon owner takes her living! This doesn’t just mean the tools and utensils used but the overall impression the salon makes. If the shop front is not presentable or inviting, then people will walk by – these are all potential clients. You will need something to draw the clients eye to the window – nothing to brash but something that makes them turn their head. Sure, if the paint is flaking, their attention will be caught, but only for them to think “oo that could do with a lick of paint” and then they will walk right on by! Potential customer lost!

Once inside, one of the first things a client will probably look at, is if, the nail stations, beauty or hair areas are clean and if the technician(s) observe proper sanitation practices! This doesn’t mean that they will be looking at which brand of hand gel you are using BUT they will be looking at whether you wash/use sanitising hand gel and whether clients are asked to do the same. All towels should be changed for each client and all tools and instruments sanitised in the appropriate solution. The floors and shelving should be clean and free from dust etc. You must be prepared for the fact that some clients will ask you what you use to cleanse and sanitise your tools with – some make sure you have the appropriate MSDS handy – why do some clients ask? Well some clients may be allergic to some of the ingredients or just be interested in knowing what is in them!

If your clients are like me, they may want to know the ins and outs of everything – be prepared to be able to answer questions about the treatments you carry out. I do not mean all the technical stuff (which you should obviously know) but why for example, you are using a particular product – such as a ridge filler base coat opposed to a toughen up type base coat – it shows you understand their needs. Also, if there is new technology available and you can talk your client through it then shows that you are up to date with products! Furthermore, you need to be able to talk them through the maintenance upkeep – both at home and when they will likely need their next appointment.

Strong odours associated with various treatments such as nail enhancements can be off putting. The client may or may not be aware that there is no danger from the odour. However, whether they do or don’t, the odour will indicate to them that you do not have adequate ventilation. It is not only in your clients best interest to have the best ventilation and extraction but your own.

Clients who spend money in salons EXPECT to have professional products used – please do not skimp in this area – it is one of the things which will separate you from some of the other salons in the area – how would you feel if you went to a salon and asked what they had just used to wash your hair with – wax your legs or polish your nails with and you found out you could quite easily buy it over the counter or off the shelves at your local supermarket? It certainly does not give a good impression at all!

Remember that your pricing needs to reflect your ability. Not only that, you need to ensure that clients are aware of what they are being charged for. Does that intensive hair conditioner cost extra? or is it inclusive? – how much for nail art – is that fast drying top coat more expensive? Can you see where I am coming from??

This leads me onto possibly some of the most important things – communication and expectation – your client will be looking for support from you in terms of what you can do, what you know and how well you can do it! Someone new to a particular treatment may not have a clue about what to expect – here’s an example, many years ago I had my first leg wax. I believed that after the treatment I would have silky smooth legs and a silk scarf would glide down them effortlessly – how wrong was I? Now I know that there will practically always be some hair growth left – not necessarily because of the lack of skill of the beauty technician but because hair grows at different rates and there simply wasn’t enough growth for the wax to “grab hold of”. I went away feeling disappointed and as though I had spent my hard earned cash on a “rubbish treatment”. Of course I know better now – but that doesn’t mean to say that all clients will!

Lastly, your clients may love (or loathe) them but have handouts available detailing what is involved in your treatments! And of course you should have aftercare sheets, you may think it is a waste of time, but all these “little” things show you care, are dedicated and professional.

I certainly know what I am looking for when looking for a salon and I hope my thoughts will help you all in your chosen career!
 

sj1973

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thanks for that....although i knew most of it...you pointed out the simplest thing,s ....thanks hun again xxx
 

Sassy Hassy

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I would say that many potential nail clients are nail biters. They find the prospect of entering a nail salon a daunting experience, and often won't even come through the door unless it has a very welcoming atmosphere. The same applies to some beauty salons - you feel like you need to look perfect to go in. Also some hair salons, you can just sense an atmosphere and worry that they will all talk about you when you leave. So for me, it's not just about the look of the place ... it really is about the FEEL of it, am I made to feel welcome, or are they annoyed that I've interrupted their gossip session in the staff room.
 

hippy-chick

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One thing is to be greeted, I personally hate going into certain hairdressers and they all refuse to look at you so that they don't have to be the one to deal with you.

I read it in one of the salon geek articles, you should have eye contact and a hello from everyone that is in the room (staff). Even if you are not the one to deal with the client.
 

Snugglepuss

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Sass - that is so true :hug:

I agree Hippy Chick - it really makes you feel uncomfortable if you walk into somewhere and no one at all takes a blind bit of notice of you!
 

JoanneNYK

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I was just talking to my business advisor about this yesterday!! He told me I am concentrating to much on my professional point of view and should step back and look at it from the clients point of view. Sometimes I get so wrapped up I forget what its like to be the client. I'm actually going to go to a salon for treatments to remind myself what a client is looking for. Thanks, this article has been really helpful. :D
 

nailzoo

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90% of my clients are recommendations, so really, they already know what they are looking for and what to expect.

I have always been referred to as the nail nazi, so as long as I can maintain conversation, a sense of professionalism (peppered with humor) , nails that look more natural than any other salon in town, using professional products, then those clients can overlook my idiosyncrasies, without the need for me to kiss their asses. And they just keep on coming, so I must be doing something right.

No point having a wonderfully sanitary salon (or procedure) when the nails fall off the next day (although, it's a great starting point). I'd like to think my clients get their nails done in a "salon", not a laboratory (nor the morgue).

My salon pumps ......., music wise, conversation wise, quality wise and longevity of the service provided.

The dog entertains, there's the odd car accident withing 10 meters, theres sometimes a junkie colapsed in the gutter, a late night clubber with her skirt wrapped around her neck like a scarf, an abusive vagabond, 6 idiots walking the street doing promos dressed like handybanks, police on horseback, charity collectors, tourists asking for directions and the odd hooker with 3" nails looking for an infill ......... THAT'S LIFE WHERE I'M FROM.

If they don't like/appreciate it, theres heaps of other places they can go.

It's 2007 (almost 2008), they way I do things may not suit everyone, but I've been in the industry for so long that I'm a bit of a cynic ( I expect something from my clients also) otherwise I'd give up .

All of the above adds to the fact I am still passionate about what I do after 22 years, I've seen techs come and go , suffer from client burnout, brainfry and exhaustion from having to kiss butts and pretend they are something they are not .... all day long.


I am what I am ( I feel a song coming on) and thats all there is to it.

Following the way I do things you may build a clientèle slower that the butt kissers, but the clients you do get make you feel whole at the end of the day as they "add" to you, rather than "take away".

Good nails that last is a great starting point.

Then you can add the feather boa and trimmings to make yourself "individual".
 

Snugglepuss

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Carl some really fab comments from you there! and you are definitely right you have to look at what is "real life" in the area you are in and adapt to your clients needs, but also ensure that your working life is how you want it to be - otherwise you don't give 110%.

As you know, I hate conforming to the norm and really admire you for your ability to kick against what is expected of you from the "thought police" etc iykwim. I'm a scaredy cat and beaver away in my own little way against it all :lol: However, we do have to conform to health and safety and also insurance - despite the fact that claims are probably minimal, I would have thought??

Again you are correct in saying you need to be able to carry out kick ass treatments - otherwise - your clients will not return - I think some of mine come back as well because as they said I have a "comfy face" :lol: and feel totally at ease with me - perhaps it's because I am not as glamorous as most :lol:

But all that said Carl - I bet your place is spotlessly clean - there is no indication from your videos to the contrary! :hug:
 

Emmaejc23

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Carl some really fab comments from you there! and you are definitely right you have to look at what is "real life" in the area you are in and adapt to your clients needs, but also ensure that your working life is how you want it to be - otherwise you don't give 110%.

As you know, I hate conforming to the norm and really admire you for your ability to kick against what is expected of you from the "thought police" etc iykwim. I'm a scaredy cat and beaver away in my own little way against it all :lol: However, we do have to conform to health and safety and also insurance - despite the fact that claims are probably minimal, I would have thought??

Again you are correct in saying you need to be able to carry out kick ass treatments - otherwise - your clients will not return - I think some of mine come back as well because as they said I have a "comfy face" :lol: and feel totally at ease with me - perhaps it's because I am not as glamorous as most :lol:

But all that said Carl - I bet your place is spotlessly clean - there is no indication from your videos to the contrary! :hug:
I have read with interest your comments and was reminded of what a spray tan client said to me the other day. After applying her tan she confessed that she had been to a salon based technician whilst I was unavailable (having a baby). She then told me that she far preferred me because I wasn't, quote 'a gorgeous size 8 glamourpuss with perfect hair and nails' (shock horror!!!!). The point she was trying to make (i hope) was that she felt quite comfortable getting undressed and standing practically naked in front of me. This got me thinking and I must admit that I have a bit of a phobia myself of having my hair done. There really isn't anything worse than sitting in a chair, looking at myself in a mirror (which always makes me look awful), listening to some young girl telling me (in that annoying, high pitched condescending voice) that my hair is in really bad condition and badly in need of a restyle (well obviously - I wouldn't be there if it looked fantastic would I?).:mad:

I suppose what I am trying to say, from a clients point of view is that, whilst hygiene, presentation etc are very important, the most crucial factor for me is for a salon to put me at ease and make me feel comfortable and NOT self conscious as so many seem to do.:smack:
 

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