Salon queues – how they can improve your clients’ experience

Queue

Oh, how we used to take things for granted in the salon. Being able to swig a gargantuan cappuccino at the workstation, while casually chit-chatting away with a favourite patron and filling last-minute cancellations with walk-in clients – these luxuries are all behind us now. Many stylists and beauticians agree that salon regulations are the worst. However, it’s important to remember that the government has imposed them for the common good of all hair and beauty specialists, allowing them to operate with a reduced risk of infection.

Sure, most salons in the UK might look pretty vacant inside, aside from one or two clients being treated and your staff. But there’s hidden potential, even in this situation – all you have to do is think outside of the box, and we mean quite literally. That’s right, the queue outside of your salon can be a potential golden goose for your business – that is, if you play your cards right. Here’s just how you can flip the customer queuing system to work to your advantage.

 A sense of nostalgia with a queue cafe

A queue cafe – sounds silly, doesn’t it? Customers waiting in line outside of your salon are treated to tea or coffee in disposable cups, reminiscent of the times before COVID-19, when they joyfully sipped on their favourite drink while being pampered in your salon. Acute nostalgia floods their senses as they try to hold back their tears, knowing that things won’t go back to the way they were. Casting the melodrama aside, serving drinks and biscuits to clients waiting in line to get treated can significantly bolster their experience at your salon, thus substantially increasing your rebooking rates.

Government regulations state that only water may be served in the salon, and in disposable cups or bottles, however, such restrictions are not enforced on customers waiting in line outside of your business. But before you set up your stand and start brewing a tub of coffee, you ought to:

Update: As of 11 September, salons may provide hot or cold beverages to clients in the salon

  • Decide on menu items – do you plan to keep things simple by going with just tea or coffee, or do you plan to go all the way with drinks and snacks for clients?
  • Acquire your permits – can you have a stand and seating options for clients in front of your business? Are you allowed to serve drinks and snacks? Visit your government council to learn which licenses you’re required to have in order to provide these options.
  • Purchase supplies – if you’ve been given the green light by your council, make sure to purchase coffee and tea dispensers, a stand, single-use cups and plates, beverages and snacks and an extra bin for waste.
  • Plan smart queue management – having clients bum-rush your coffee dispenser is a sure way of increasing the risk of an outbreak. Instead, create a customer queuing system where clients may come up to the stand only one at a time, and have them disinfect their hands prior to grabbing a cup. Make sure that they DO NOT bring food or drinks into the salon.

When it comes to a queue cafe, it’s all about giving clients a tad bit of luxury that was once the norm in most salons. Your customers don’t want to feel like just a number in your booking calendar – they still desire the pampering they received prior to COVID-19, and salons that are able to provide it will come out on top. Sure, you might offer excellent hair and beauty services, but if you’re working in an in-and-out system, you’re not giving clients the entirety of the treatment they expect to get.

If your request to provide food and or drinks to clients has been denied by your local council, that doesn’t signify the end of that – you can still make a lasting impact on clients who are patiently waiting in your queue. If you’ve got a knack for arts and crafts, why not get creative and make something for customers during special occasions or when you feel like rewarding them for their loyalty? Whether it’s a simple goodie bag with ornately packed samples of your retail products, handmade soaps or trinkets with your salon’s logo, your clients are going to instantly fall in love with these heartfelt gifts. Handmade crafts and knick-knacks with your business logo will remind them of their experience at your salon every time they see it, making it more likely that they’ll remain loyal to your business, that is, if the experience was a positive one.

Time to get personal

Whether you’ve assigned a receptionist or you yourself are managing the salon queue, now is the perfect opportunity to get to know some of the clients waiting to get treated. Prior to letting them into the salon, make sure everyone has filled out a health screening questionnaire – if you use Versum, clients are sent a digital version that is stored in the system.

Once that is out of the way, it is vital that you approach clients in a friendly manner and start with some small talk. Ask how their day is going, what treatments they’re getting, but also, you have the perfect opportunity to cross-sell, upsell and get clients to rebook another visit – though this may not be recommended with new clients, as they may see this as an act of desperation. Instead, stick to the small talk when dealing with first-time customers, recommend any deals you have going on and genuinely get to know them. If they’re interested in rebooking a treatment or purchasing one of your retail products, then you’ve got the green light to talk all about them, but try not to force such topics.

Getting personal usually takes time when dealing with new clients. But by showing a real interest in them, you’re a lot more likely to quickly create lasting bonds, which leads up to improved customer loyalty. With Versum’s help, you can instantly pull out information on each client, allowing you to prepare accordingly for their arrival. By recalling their favourite television shows, treatments or interests, they feel more like patrons than just bookings in your calendar and are more likely to make your salon their go-to beauty business.

A selfie station to wow clients

Think of your queue as simply an extension of your salon’s waiting area, and since you’re required to operate in an appointment-only system, only booked clients can be there and only they are worthy of being treated to a tea and Jaffa Cakes. However, If you’re feeling unsatisfied with Jaffa Cakes being the limits to your creativity when it comes to customer experience, then you may want to take it a step further with a selfie station.

Although you’re probably imagining an extensive setup that includes photography lamps, large screens and an ornate mirror, all you really need is a light background – even the side of your salon will do just fine! If you’re all for it, then you may want to consider getting an outdoor ring light with a phone holder, so that customers waiting in the queue can take pictures of their hair prior to being treated. Additionally, your receptionist may want to ask to take the clients’ pictures for the salon’s social media fan pages – just remember that they ought to abide by social distancing regulations when doing so. Once the customer steps out of the salon, their luscious golden locks flowing in the wind, it’s time to catch them again for another photoshoot encore – thus completing the before and after shoot.

Sharing customer before and after transformations (of course, with their consent) on your social media pages will truly make them feel like Hollywood stars, thus effectively bolstering their experience at your business. Those who make it onto your fan pages feel more privileged and are considerably more likely to return for another pampering.

How this benefits you

Obviously, the latest salon regulations have taken a substantial chunk out of the customers’ experience – however, your salon queue can still be a shining ray of hope for your business. But by treating it as a regular queue, it becomes as exciting as the waiting line to the local butcher shop.

A queue cafe, goodie bags, a selfie station and time spent getting to know your clients who are queued all have one thing in common – they’re examples of going beyond the call of duty for customers. It’s true, having to constantly disinfect work stations, equipment, face visors, as well as collecting and storing screening questionnaires and managing appointments can be time-consuming, but making time to enforce at least one of these elements can be a game-changer.

Customers who associate your salon with marvellous treatments and exceptional customer service are definitely going to get the word out about your business, thus improving sales and helping you gain new clients. And with reliable salon software, managing them all will be a piece of cake. What are you waiting for, your Versum account is just a click away! Sign up today and get your free, 14-day trial.

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