Back to Business after COVID-19

Many of us have had our doors closed for 4 months.  I know, for me, this is the longest I have never worked!  It has been a crazy time for many of us, just waiting for that date to finally re-open and start back to what we love.

However – I have seen quite a few posts about therapists being hugely disappointed that their clients are not breaking down their door to book back in.  They are shocked that clients are not racing to book treatments and are concerned that they have lost their clientele.

This can be, yet another, stressful situation for many therapists to find themselves in, after already having months of struggling on little or no income.

Lets look at some reasons that could be causing clients to be resistant to booking in their treatments with us and an action plan to try and help overcome them,

People are scared!

I think the biggest reason that we may not be seeing a line of clients around the block, is that, for the last 4 months, people have been frightened to death to leave their house.  It’s like our brains have been rewired to see everyone as a potential germ carrier and with having Social Distancing rules being bombarded at us for so long, the thought of sitting opposite someone on a nail desk or lying on a bed with a therapist leaning over you, could be very off putting to so many.

Action Plan!

You need to clearly show and educate your clients that it is safe to come to you to have their treatments.  Although we know our levels of hygiene, we cannot automatically presume that our clients know, or even understand, some of the standard procedures we have in place.  We need to spell it out to them.

We need to show them our professionalism and explain, to them, the procedures that we have put in place to keep them (and us) safe. 

You could do a post on social media explaining everything you have done for safe return, or you could perhaps do an email to your clients.

Here are some examples:

Following the Government Guidelines

At the time of writing this, we still do not have our specific industry guidelines, although many of us are presuming that, initially, facial treatments will be off the menu.  I HIGHLY encourage you NOT to go against these guidelines when you open.  Not only do you risk a fine, but you are really showing a lack of professionalism.  We need to show that, as an industry, we can be trusted.  We need to show that we are putting the health and safety of our clients above everything else.  Sneaking in the odd brow wax (behind the scenes) is not going to do your business any good if it is breaking the government guidelines.  Remember, gossip spreads very quickly and you do not want to be seen as that sort of therapist.  We have to think of our reputation. 

COVID-19 Forms

Inform your clients that you will be asking everyone to fill in and sign a COVID-19 form to make sure that everyone who attends your premises (or if you are attending theirs on a mobile basis) has no symptoms of COVID-19, has not been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 etc.

Risk Assessments

Explain to your clients about your Risk Assessment that you have carried out to ensure everything is in place and fully compliant with government guidelines.

Show that you have done some enhanced hygiene courses

Reassuring your clients that you have prepared to take extra precautions and taken extra courses to understand how to work safely in these times.  There are some great free courses you can do which have certificates you can display in your salon.

Barbicide Course –Click Here

Gateway Workshop Return to work – Click Here

City and Guilds Return to Work – Click Here

Appointment only

Explain to your client that when they visit you, they will not be left waiting around as you will be scheduling your appointments to limit exposure to others.  Tell your client about your spaced out appointments to allow you to deeply clean your working space between clients to ensure that when they come for their treatment, everything is perfectly hygienic. 

Enhanced PPE

I know many of us were already wearing some of the regulatory PPE, but make sure you tell your client how you are going to be working. 

As in wearing gloves, masks, visors and aprons.  How these will be changed between clients.

Perhaps you have a sneeze screen?  These are not requirements for desks and salons, but if you do have one, show that you do!

Enhanced Cleaning Procedures

Explanations about how you will be cleaning your towels – if you are using them. 

How you santitise your tools. 

Perhaps you are using single use files?

Plastic bed covers that will be sanitised between every client

I know that most of the above is a routine part of our day prior to COVID-19. But we can’t presume clients know that we have all these measures in place.

All of these things will hopefully put any nervous clients, more at ease.

Once people start to see other people having treatments done, they tend to be happier to follow suit.  If you can get your loyal regulars in, it could well open the gates to the rest.

Action Plan

Why not set up a VIP Club for your regulars?

Give your regulars a personal call explaining your new VIP Club and how that would benefit them.  Calling your clients will make them feel special.  Depending on the service you are offering, they could be given a complimentary cuticle oil or lash aftercare pack exclusive to your VIP members on their first appointment back with you.  You could give out a skincare sample to your first facial clients post lockdown.

Perhaps as a VIP member they get a complimentary voucher for their birthday, or birthday discount off one of your treatment packages etc.  VIP members could get priority booking at busy times of the year like Christmas?  Just a few ideas.

Introduce loyalty cards (if you don’t already)

Now is a great time to introduce a loyalty scheme – this could be added as a bonus to your VIP Club, or as a stand alone offer.

Ask for Reviews

Now, more than ever, a review could have a massive impact on your business.

When you have had your first few clients in, ask them to please leave you a review.  It would be so beneficial if they could write you a review telling everyone how safe they felt having a treatment with you and how clean and hygienic the treatment was.

Your clients have got used to going without treatments?

4 months is a long time to learn to go without treatments.  Clients may need a little encouragement to remind them how much they enjoyed having their nails/lashes/waxing/facials done etc.

I have seen a few posts about how people have grown their natural nails after years of wearing acrylics.  This could be the perfect opportunity to resurrect your natural nail manicure services? Perhaps doing a social media post on the benefits of natural nail care and how a spa manicure could be the perfect service for them.

Action Plan

If they have grown their natural nails after wearing extensions, what about a gel overlay or a gel polish service? 

Pedicures can be a great treatment for this time of year.  Lots of clients find their feet harder to deal with than their hands.  Perhaps an offer on a luxury pedicure and gel polish package would be appealing to them.

What if they have got used to going without lash extensions? Introduce them to natural lash treatments such as a lash lift and tint to enhance their natural lashes to look their best.

How about offering a stress relieving body massage or indian head massage!  There is no doubt that nearly every person on the planet could benefit from a stress relieving treatment.

Sometimes you have to sell a treatment!  Explain what it is and how it will benefit your client.  You need to plant the seed and watch it grow.

Clients not being able to afford to have treatments done?

This is a difficult one, and one that we can probably all relate to.  We have been through a very difficult few months.  A lot of people have lost their jobs, managing on lower incomes. 

I think this is a situation that we really can’t have an action plan to deal with.  We only hope that the situation improves for everyone.

Social life all on hold!

With life as it currently is, many of us are not going out.  Weddings etc have been postponed, holidays have been cancelled, social gatherings are few and far between.  These events are often the reason that clients come to us for beauty treatments.  The uptake may be slow but as things slowly start to return to more normality, hopefully our clientele will start to increase.

Final thoughts…

I have been working in this industry since 1989 (yes I know many of you weren’t even born then lol).  Beauty has had many ups and downs but we are so much more to many of our clients that just set of nails, or a set of lashes.  Many of our clients have been with us for years.  We have been through marriages, divorces, deaths etc with our clients.  We offer a huge support network to our clients. We offer a lot of value to a lot of people

Give it time.  We will get back to where we want to be.  We just may need a little patience.

Claire xx