I’ve been interested in the topic of etiquette for quite a long time. It began when I started at my new work place, a well known cosmetic studio, after my cosmetician apprenticeship. I gathered a lot of experience in other studios, you could say I wasn’t able to commit to only one studio in earlier years. All of the studios were valuable lessons for me. I work in field services now, whether as a trainer or customer. Maybe I am too picky, but I saw room for improvement in every studio. Since I also lead my own studio in the past, I wanted to share my 12 year old experience with you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just at the beginning of your career or if you’re already pursuing
your career for a couple of years. Tips and inspiration help you to freshen up your work, to appear more welcoming and to perform your work even more successfully.
The base therefore is, to have the necessary professional competence to perform services satisfactorily to full extent, or even more than satisfactorily at best.
1. Be the best!
Be your own customer for a day. Imagine you pay 500,00 € for this day. How do you want to be welcomed at the entrance? How do you want to be treated and feel for this amount of money? What do you expect the communication to be like? No matter how expensive or inexpensive your treatments are, you should treat every customer as if they would spend 500,00 €, to win him or her for a follow-up appointment. Imagine your financial existence would depend on that specific customer. If you internalize this philosophy, you will be successful!
Nevertheless your character should not be played and you should not be acting. Are you familiar with the quote: „Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are.“? This can also be extended to customers. Humans are naturally drawn to positivity and love as a kind of protective mechanism against negativity. So the stylist already begins in your private character: reflect on positivity and love, this way you will also attract customers.
2. Advertising and Social Media
How do you attract customers? Via Instagram and Facebook? If yes, the following applies: professionalism means keeping distance to private matters. Create separate accounts for your studio and for yourself.
Example: I’m searching for „lash extensions Munich“ on Facebook. If a private profile and an account of a professional lash studio pop up in the search results, I will rather message the studio than a private profile. Potential customers are curious and want to see pictures of you and your employees if applicable. Additionally pay attention to what you post on your private profile. Pictures of a drunk through night of clubbing or weird postings rather scare potential customers off. Even though it is your private profile, it should reflect your professionalism but still be authentic. I personally don’t like to reveal private matters on the internet, but that is just my opinion. However personal postings can make you appear more interesting, if they’re not negative.
3. Conversations with customers
My teacher at the beauty school gave me the following advice: „Do not talk about politics or religion with your customers. Only listen.“ Keep your opinion to yourself when it comes to these kind of topics. Since so many opinions exist regarding politics and religion, there is a high risk of discussion. Your opinion could hit your customer negatively and lead to escalation. You should also handle conversations with customers and also their secrets with discretion. It resembles a bit with hair stylists’ work, you’re kind of a psychiatrist for your customer, that listens to her.
My advice is: Do not give advice. Should a customer act according to your advice that may have a negative effect on herself, she may seek blame in you. Even if you build close relationships to regular customers, try to stay neutral. If customers talk about their problems or something similar, they only want to reveal it to an external person to feel released. But you should never talk about your own private problems, since this can cast a bad light on you. Additionally you cannot make sure that your customer keeps your information to herself. Your customer visits you to relax and not to talk about your problems. Be attentive and make compliments, for example about her new hand bag, her hair or nails. This way your customer feels comfortable and appreciates your attention. But keep it moderate and always be honest.
I’ve been reading more and more about the topic style and appearance at work because this is also an important matter.
Do you know the quote: „Fine feathers make fine birds.“? This is also the case in daily working life. You do not need a lot of money or designer clothes to have a neat appearance. Less is more applies here. Of course, it is nice to be able to buy expensive designer clothes, but it can appear pretentious very easily. Not every customer is able to afford the same things, so it may cause a feeling of jealousy or envy. A former boss of mine was very wealthy, but was driving a rather mediocre car. So I asked her why she didn’t buy herself a newer, posh car. She answered, that it may scare off customers because they may think, that she already has enough money and search for another studio. By experience this is the train of though the majority has, of course not everyone. To use the same example, a nice car could make dissenters think, that you are successful and success attracts!
Your customer should see you as an authority figure. So try to avoid to go grocery shopping in jogging pants and greasy hair, as there may be the chance to meet customers. You should look after your appearance also in private, you are your own advertisement.
Have you already found your own style? I still am figuring it out. It is important to have a style of one’s own to feel comfortable and to reflect yourself through it. Is green hair or leopard print your „trademark“? As long as it appears harmonious and stylish, it is authentic and gives you character. I personally am not able to cut off my long hair, so it became my trademark. A lot of people refer to me as „the one with the long, blonde hair“. Recognition value is also relevant in daily work life, that’s how you stick to peoples minds. Nonetheless you should still appear respectable, so avoid provocative clothing and stick to „work clothes“.
5. Dealing with customers in everyday salon life
If you’re smoking, avoid to smoke immediately before treatments, since it can be unpleasant for customers, even if they smoke themselves. If you do not want to renounce, put on gloves and a jacket, which you can take off afterwards and chew gum at best and wear a face mask.
It is also not advisable to wear a strong perfume during treatments, because it can be unpleasant for a longer period of time and also cause headaches.
A light, fresh make-up appears neat, as well as nicely done nails and lashes, if you wear lash extensions. As already mentioned, you are your own advertisement.
The beauty industry is steadily growing, so it is important to stand out of the crowd. If time allows, visit other studios and salons in your area and perceive treatments. This way you do not only see how your colleagues work but also find some inspiration. Ask your customers for improvement suggestions and critique, so you are able to develop. Even if you do phenomenal lashes but your service isn’t right, you cannot acquire the maximum of customers. But also the other way round, if your service is perfect but you are not able to create ideal lashes.
In times of social media and constant availability, it is necessary to also have a good availability. A potential customer usually messages a couple of studios and takes the first appointment she can get. Here applies the principle: first come, first serve. Even if you can not take any more appointments, answer messages and let them know. Contacting via WhatsApp is advisable, since it is very easy, quick and seems more open than contact solely via telephoning. Pay attention to proper language and grammar when having contact via WhatsApp.
What kinds of services do you offer for your customers, when they enter your studio? Are snacks, drinks and coffee at hand? Only a few customers ask for something to drink, so always offer it to them. Your customers should always feel happy about their next appointment.
Do you have a separate waiting room for customers? It should appear welcoming, lay out magazines and furnish it appealing. Pets should not stay in your studio.
Start your day early enough to prepare your studio, aerate your rooms, prepare drinks and snacks as well as your work place. Your customers should never sit in front of a closed door if they arrive earlier. This has happened to me before when I arrived three minutes earlier than business hour. Lights were turned on at the moment when I was asked in, I felt out of place.
We all have a bad day from time to time, but don’t let your customers notice. Welcome them with a smile and be courteous, for example take her coat off and offer her something to drink. If you greet your customers with a hand shake, make sure it is firm because it signalizes self-confidence and strength. If you have a closer relationship to your customers, you can also hug them, but you should always address them with their name.
In the case your customer has a complaint, try to clarify it as objectively as possible and accept the feedback. If a refund or something similar is not possible, explain your point of view plausibly and calmly. In most cases you can satisfy your customer with a compromise.
Avoid the following activities during treatments:
- Answering phone calls or text messages
- Eating and drinking
- Taking smoke breaks
- Toilet visits (only in case of dire need)
The farewell is also part of the treatment. Your customer shouldn’t feel rushed, so let her prepare herself to leave. After paying, you should arrange the next appointment to make sure she returns. Do you also have testers, samples or flyers for a new treatment? Offer these after the payment. Thank her for her visit and wish her a nice day.
Use customer questionnaires, where you note necessary information about every customer, as for example extras she wished for. This way you can come up with it and she will notice that you remembered. Customer questionnaires also have the advantage, that customers have to sign, that they have been educated about the treatment and they can sign, whether they agree to have pictures taken from them to be used for advertising purposes or not. Legally you’re on the safe side.
If you own a home studio and also have children, make sure they are supervised during treatments. You can also ask your customers if they would like some music playing and which kind of music. Hygiene should, of course, be appropriate also in a home studio. No matter if a salon or home studio, a new towel, head cover, headband and disinfected instruments should be a standard for everyone.
In my opinion, gloves and face masks should be obligatory for any kind of beauty treatment. I asked some customers for their opinion regarding this topic and they agree, since glove and face masks protect stylists and customers from transmission of pathogens. I want to protect myself and also ensure protection for my customers. With suppositionally 20 customers per week and so 1.040 per year, protection is key.
Your hair should also be tied because it is unpleasant to feel someone else’s hair on your face, as well as sleeves and bracelets. For this reason I do not wear jewelry on my arms and hands.
Plan your appointments correctly, so you do not have to work under piecework. Leave 15 minutes between each treatment to have some buffer time if a customer is late or if a treatment takes longer than usual. Neither you nor your customers should be under pressure.
Treat every customer lovingly, just as you would like to be treated.
Author: Angelika Herter, Miss Lashes Trainer - South Germany