Overcoming hair and beauty salon challenges in a post-lockdown reality
Being able to reopen your salon was probably the best news you’ve heard in all of 2020 and you’ve been in eager anticipation to get back to work for what seemed like ages. Of course, it wasn’t as easy as jumping behind your workstation and treating clients as usual – after all, new protocols have been enforced. But those wouldn’t stop you, as you have a burning passion that even Guy Tang would consider praiseworthy. However, there are a few challenges that even the most clairvoyant stylist or beautician couldn’t predict when getting back in the hair and beauty game.
More unruly clients
Difficult clients are not a foreign concept in the hair and beauty industry – chances are you’ve had your fair share of customers who were untruthful about their hair history, or those who loved their experience at your salon, but went on a full-scale rant on your business when they got home. However, a new breed of difficult clients has been born from the lockdown – those who choose not to abide by safety protocols enforced by the government and introduced by you. The obvious, knee-jerk reaction to customers who don’t follow government regulations is to deny them service. But what about those who choose not to follow your own rules?
Tip: we have an entire article covering the topic of clients who refuse to abide by your safety rules, which you can find here.
By law, you can refuse to treat such clients. If the majority of your clientele is in the at-risk group (elderly or have serious health conditions), then enforcing additional safety protocols would be a good idea. By informing your clients that you’ve taken additional safety precautions when treating them, you’ll see an increase in bookings. Make sure to share this information on your social media fan pages and message your customers directly. If, however, this strategy backfires and the majority of your clients feel that your additional safety measures aren’t required, consider reserving a day during the week for treating at-risk clients who prefer the additional measures. And don’t forget to get the word out about this by posting on your social media fan pages and writing directly to clients, using your salon software.
Having to go digital
It’s time to be honest here – paper solutions have been outdated even before the lockdown. Although many of you regularly use sticky notes, notebooks, and pen and paper, the latest government regulations have made paper solutions even more impractical. In the post-lockdown reality, you are required to work in an appointment-only system – which means no walk-ins. With that being said, all of your bookings need to be made by phone or through an online booking system, and clients need to arrive on time, in order to avoid having a buildup. Oh, and you also need to reserve time before and after each visit in order to prepare the workstation for the next client – not to mention sending appointment reminders to each customer. Although a paper notebook is handy for jotting down quick bits of information, it would only get in the way of your new routine.
Another safety protocol enforced by the government requires salons to issue screening questionnaires to each client prior to their visit. This is one of the latest hair and beauty salon challenges for those who still utilise paper solutions for running and managing their business. It’s another day back at the salon and your client arrives for their 10 o’clock visit. You’ve cleaned up your station, disinfected your visor and shears and handed the client your paper screening questionnaire and a pen. They answer the questions and you’re left in shock, as they’ve marked that they’ve had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. This is one of the most common hair and beauty salon issues after reopening, which can result in a quarantine for the salon.
Although many salons still utilise paper solutions for running and managing their businesses, in a post-lockdown reality, they’re simply obsolete. The natural course of action is to seek salon software that aids in managing the salon and has all the tools to keep your salon safe and in compliance with the latest government guidance. Use Versum to send a screening questionnaire (COVID-19 consultation form), required by law, to each client prior to their visit. The screening questionnaire must ask whether or not the client has been ill, had contact with someone or they themselves have been infected with COVID-19. If they pass the questionnaire, Versum’s Screening Questionnaire feature will notify them if they can come in for their appointment and inform the client of the protocols that need to be upheld in the salon. If they fail the survey, they will be asked to cancel their visit and you will be informed of this as well. You can also add an extra layer of security in the form of your own consultation form.
More empty slots
The most recent challenges facing the hair and beauty industry involve the loss of clients and getting them back into your salon. Prior to your reopening, customers were practically breaking down your doors and begging you to treat their months worth of regrowth – but suddenly, things got a whole lot quieter. This slow period can be due to a number of factors, ranging from a fear of being infected, to salons raising their prices and clients not being able to afford treatments as often. In this situation, it is vital that you figure out just what exactly might be causing this drop. First off, speak with your team – they’re on the front lines with your clients and might know what’s causing this.
- A fear of infection – even if you’re following government guidelines for ensuring the safety of your clients, they still might be afraid of coming into your salon. If that’s the case, enforce additional salon policies and procedures that will help them feel safer in your salon.
- Not being able to afford your treatments – almost everyone was hit hard by the lockdown, and chances are that most of your clients won’t be getting treatments as often as before. If that’s the case, you may want to introduce a loyalty scheme, which rewards clients for inviting their friends and family to your business, or purchasing treatments and products. Offering rewards such as a discount coupon might get them back in the salon in no time!
A lack of time has always been an issue in the hair and beauty industry – no time for a proper meal, generating monthly sales reports, creating marketing campaigns and so on. And as you’re now well-aware, you’ve got less time on your hands with the latest government regulations as well. Gone are the days of light chit-chat with clients, treating them with wine and hosting salon events. Now, you need to focus on following cleaning and disinfecting measures, managing staff shift groups, servicing clients on time and running your salon like clockwork, in order to avoid an outbreak. Unfortunately, a lack of time can constitute a lesser-quality customer experience, however, you can win back a significant amount of time with Versum salon software. As mentioned previously, the system offers a variety of tools to help you stay safe and legally operate in a post-lockdown reality – make use of Online Booking, Screening Questionnaire, Online Store, bulk messaging and so much more! Sign up for your free account today – no online booking commissions, no credit card required, and free support forever.