Many of you in the hair and beauty industry have been open for a while now and you’re doing your best to adapt to a new way of working as per the official guidelines.
We know that you all have to abide by the government advice on distancing (where possible), hygiene, treatment restrictions and PPE. You’re working so much harder to earn your living and feeling the pressure to maintain the new working methods and standards that have been set.
In this blog, we share how you can adjust your salon operations to remain as efficient as possible in the present times. Many salon owners will have incorporated a number of these tips into their new regime already, but others will still be looking for ways to refine the systems that they have put in place.
“How you gonna love somebody else if you don’t love yourself?”
The pressure is on to see as many clients as possible to catch up with their needs and your lost income from the past few months. And with the new distancing rules, this will mean extended opening hours for many. But please remember to take care of yourselves. Try to allow yourself and your staff a short break between appointments as working in a mask / visor can get quite hot and steamy (but not in a good way!).
Remember to smile – even if there are times when you don’t feel like it! Some clients will be quite anxious about returning to the salon (and to the outside world in general). Your expression can give them the impression that you are confident with your new way of working and so make them feel relaxed, safe, and happy to come again.
Show Your Emotions
Visors are fine for letting your clients see your expression and responses to their conversation, but masks will largely hide these. To overcome this, try to be extra responsive verbally, nod in agreement whenever possible and make more use of body language to convey your feelings and so keep your client relationships warm.
Client communication in the ‘new normal’ is key
Communicating with clients
Although all your clients will probably be desperate for their usual services, some will be quite relaxed about coming back to the salon but others will be very nervous and may be anxious to keep their in-salon time as short as possible.
You could offer clients a virtual consultation using for example FaceTime or WhatsApp. This would mean less time in the salon for the client and would save valuable staff time between appointments. It would be an ideal opportunity to let clients know what changes to expect when they come into the salon. Also, for clients who are eager to minimise their stay, you could suggest splitting their salon visits to keep each one short, eg. a cut on one day and a colour on a different day. The same principle could be applied for lengthy treatments in beauty salons.
Communicate any changes to your opening hours and any priority hours via your website and on Google My Business if you have a listing. Use all the channels of communication you have to your advantage including email, text messaging, and your social media to give your clients useful information. These are all useful channels to explain and show them their new salon experience and to emphasise that all the changes that you have introduced are with their protection in mind. We’ve seen some really good posts and videos from hair and beauty businesses on social media that look very professional, yet friendly and reassuring. You might also want to let clients know in advance that you will be keeping a record of clients who visit the salon, in line with official guidance.
In general, the main challenge now is to keep yourself and your staff on your toes in respect of all the new regulations, keeping up to scratch and not becoming familiar or making exceptions for regulars, even if they don’t take it that seriously. Whether they’re catwalk models, Lidl employees or your mum – rules is rules!
You are all the priority in this scenario and in a time of high anxiety and online ratings, you need everyone to know that you’re on top of your game. After all, you are on the frontline – same as a nurse or carer – so infection control is going to be key for some time. If in any doubt, check the government close contact services guidelines here.
Vulnerable people and key workers
You could consider offering vulnerable clients a service in their homes, especially if they are reluctant to venture out to the salon. Or perhaps you could set aside the first hour of the day for them and reassure them that there will have been very few people in the salon after it was sanitised the night before.
And could you prioritise appointments for key workers who might find it difficult to fit in much needed appointments around their shifts?
SELL, SELL, SELL!
Until our beauty therapists can once again offer facial treatments, a free FaceTime or WhatsApp consultation could be a great way to keep in touch with clients and recommend professional products they can use on themselves to help them to both look and feel better. This would show them that you’re thinking of them even though you’re not yet able to give them their regular hands-on care.
There’s also a potential to increase sales in hairdressing. If you offer it, clients will probably be extra-receptive to advice on products that their hair could really benefit from after missing out on months of professional care.
And, face masks can still be troublesome to buy, so you could offer disposable or fabric ones to purchase. Even better if some hand-made ones can be sourced from a local person; so many people are dusting off their sewing machines and turning their hand to creating beautiful masks and helping a local seller is always a plus point.
Management of staff is crucial during Covid
Protecting your team and your business
Divide up your staff and depending how many you have, arrange them into 2 or more teams. Then, if someone in one team is affected by Covid-19 and has to self-isolate, the other team(s) can still continue to work. (The keyword for this at the moment is cohorting). Clients should be booked in with the same team.
Stagger staff breaks that are spent in the staffroom in order to space people apart as much as possible and observe distancing rules.
Communicating with staff
Ensure that staff understand your new protocols and procedures and that they’re comfortable with them. Make them feel welcome to discuss any areas of concern – good staff morale feeds through to clients. If you have HR issues that you need help with, you may have legal advice with your Salon Gold insurance policy. If not, you can contact acas who advise on workplace conflicts and employment rights.
Appoint a Covid manager
You could make one member of your staff responsible for Covid-19 matters. They could take on the responsibility of making sure that you’re always stocked up with sufficient levels of cleaning products and materials and PPE. They would keep up to speed with coronavirus-related government guidelines and any changes to them. If anyone should develop Covid-19 symptoms, they would be responsible for contacting all staff and clients who might have come into contact with that person so that they can self-isolate. They would also report any possible cases to the local authority.
Opening hours and shifts
In order to work within the guidelines and to make up for lost income during the lockdown, you might well have extended your opening hours. If you have 2 teams, one team could work the first half of the day and the other team could do the second shift. A half hour break between shifts would allow for a deep clean of equipment and surfaces and would minimise possible cross-contamination between the teams. Allocating half an hour for a final hygiene routine at the end of the day would mean that you’re ready to open up the next morning with everything squeaky clean and disinfected.
Keep those masks on!
So make sure your staff keep their masks in place and that they put them on and take them off in the correct way (YouTube has lots of videos on how to do this). You could introduce a clipboard checklist for your cleaning routines – just like McDonalds! It reassures your clients that you are being strict with your hygiene regime and makes sure that your staff are in no doubt as to their responsibilities too.
Other than that we wish you all the very best of luck and lots of repeat appointments!
And here’s hoping that the government will soon feel confident to let facial treatments start up again – fingers crossed!
If there are any topics that you’d like us to cover for you – please tell us and we’ll do our best to include them in our next updates.