We’ve put together the following guidance based on the questions everyone is asking after reopening their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Far from business as usual, salon owners and stylists across the country have a litany of questions as they reopen on easing COVID-19 restrictions. Though the pandemic has turned even the most fundamental aspects of day-to-day business upside down, we’re all working through these new challenges together.
The recommendations below apply to salons in general but remember that state and local guidelines differ and salon owners and stylists must follow the specific requirements for their city, county, and state.
Step One: Communicate Clearly and Often
Against the backdrop of differing opinions and constantly-changing regulations, it seems no one knows quite what to expect when they venture out of their homes these days. More than ever, people are looking for guidance on what’s expected of them, as well as assurances that the places they visit are doing their best to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus, so clear communication is key in two aspects:
Client Expectations After Reopening the Salon
Be clear on client expectations at every touchpoint, from the entryway to stylist stations, with signage that guides clients through their visit to limit risk to both clients and stylists.
Are masks required? What about when getting their hair done? Do clients need to sanitize their hands when they enter the salon or move between stations? All of these questions and many more will be on the mind of clients.
Post reminders on social media and inform clients what they can expect when they make their appointment, so they aren’t left feeling unsure.
Letting Clients Know What They Can Expect From the SalonEqually important is communicating with clients what actions the salon is taking to minimize risk to clients.
Be prepared to field extra questions from clients when booking appointments: Are stylists wearing masks? How often is the salon sanitized? Is social distancing in place? Clients want to know that they are not putting themselves at risk.
Post a sign on the door laying out the actions the salon is taking to ensure client and stylist safety. Put up signs letting clients know what services are currently unavailable out of precaution. Use social media to let clients know how the salon is handling business during the pandemic.
Communicate clearly and often.
Step Two: Be PreparedPrepare, prepare, and prepare some more. Consider all possible scenarios and questions:
• What happens if a client has COVID-19?
• What if a stylist gets COVID-19? What state and local regulations is the salon required to take when a positive case appears in the salon?
• What if someone is unhappy with how the salon is handling the situation?
• What will we do if another wave of cases hits the area?
In addition to these salon-specific considerations, be sure to stock supplies for continuing and potentially even increasing the salon’s level of sanitation activities. Implement a rigorous cleaning schedule and stock up on sanitizer and cleaning supplies. Work with a distributor to ensure a reliable stock of PPE for the salon.
Step Three: Make the Most of the Situation
Let’s be honest: This isn’t easy. But there is always a silver lining to every dark cloud. Consider different ways to take advantage of the situation.
What about giving a discount to essential workers or those battling the virus in the healthcare industry? Use this challenge to let the surrounding community know that the salon wants to invest in the community.
Look for ways to improve the client experience during this time. Are there any services we could offer curbside to limit exposure? How can we make our clients’ lives just a little easier?
Get to those projects that have been put off; is it finally time to get salon retail products up on the website for sale?
Lastly, take the opportunity to learn. Search for free online courses; many brands are going digital and cutting stylists a break with free online educational sessions.
Step Four: Remember That Everyone Is Experiencing the Virus in a Different Way
Controversy has surrounded the virus, with people on both sides of the spectrum and everywhere in between. Regardless of anyone’s stance on the situation, the pandemic’s effects are real; the pandemic has put people out of work, prevented them from seeing loved ones, and even taken the lives of friends and family. Set aside personal opinions and beliefs to keep any virtual-related conversation neutral, empathizing with each client’s experience.
While we’re all happy to be getting back to the work and clients we love, the “new normal” is presenting challenges for all of us. Make it through by remembering to communicate clearly with clients, preparing for all scenarios, trying to make the most of the situation, and empathizing with clients.
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