With the reopening of hair, beauty business just a few weeks away, it’s time to really start thinking about what reopening will look like. Since we first shared our thoughts on the subject of reopening before the end of the first lock down last Summer we have all experienced a roller coaster of facing opening, closing and reopening. So, whether you’re refining previous reopening experiences or reopening for the first time after a long period away from your customers, here’s six suggestions to help make the start of the long road to recovery the very best it can be.
1. It’s time to review your pricing
Let’s get the elephant in the room out in the open. You’re going to need to be on top of your revenue and overheads more than ever. Social distancing protocols and test and trace events in your staff may mean you will perform fewer client treatments at any one time than expected, so you will need to consider the trade-off between taking fewer bookings and extending your hours each day, particularly as a thorough cleaning regime of tools, equipment and replacing consumables such as couch cover will be required between each appointment. The question of treatment pricing has been a hot topic at the recent The World Spa and Wellness Convention with strong quantitative evidence being presented that operators who put their prices up after the first lockdown didn’t see a drop off in business. After all these months of being starved of treatments, now more than ever your client’s will value the services you provide.
2. Make sure you and your staff are prepared
You should consider using work bubbles and splitting shifts as a priority as the latest test and trace rules could rip holes in your staff availability.
Your biggest risk after reopening is that you could lose valuable staff to Test and Trace. The definition of a close contact who has tested positive for COVID-19 has changed since the first lockdown and any of your team who are within 2 metres of each other for more than 15 minutes in a total shift (rather than just one event previously) or within 1 metre for more than 1 minute will be deemed a close contact under Test and Trace rules and may have to self-isolate for 10 days immediately.
If any of your workers test positive, as the employer you should call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 as soon as you are made aware that any of your workers have tested positive.
Employers will need to provide the 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes referred to as a CTAS number) of the person who tested positive, alongside the names of co-workers identified as close contacts. This will ensure that all workplace contacts are registered with NHS Test and Trace and can receive the necessary public health advice, including the support available to help people to self-isolate.
3. Review Your booking process and reduce the no-shows
How will you book and communicate with customers? If you rely on drop in appointments, sit and wait for your turn will be a challenge you’ll need overcome until all social distancing rules are removed. If you don’t have booking software think about apps such as Treatwell and Booksey. These apps allow customers to prebook online, and offer other useful features including reviews and different charging options for no shows.
Looking beyond the immediate rush of bookings, putting a strategy in place for reducing no show appointments is important. As well as reducing your turnover, no-shows can also demotivate your staff
Putting a strategy in place for reducing no show appointments is important. One tactic you can implement to stop customers from cancelling at the last minute or not showing up at all is to implement a no-show protection policy.
Using client booking software clients will share their credit card information when they make an appointment. It will not charge a client’s card immediately, but will allow you to charge a penalty fee for people who miss appointments without sufficient notice. Research has demonstrated this is an effective way of deterring clients from cancelling appointments at short notice
Setting boundaries is key to reducing no shows. It’s important to make sure your clients value the services you offer and appreciate the cost to you if they don’t keep their booking. If you don't feel comfortable taking money directly from a client’s credit card, then at least consider implementing a three-strike policy.
Implement client reminder methods
Appointment reminders can be beneficial for various reasons. As mentioned previously, it can decrease missed appointments. It gives clients the opportunity to rearrange an appointment rather than cancelling.
Reminders can be sent by text, email or by phone. Communicating before an appointment also helps to build rapport and to discuss any personal matters.
Keep your client’s information up to date
Keeping your records up to date and GDPR compliant records is a legal requirement. It will also make it easier for you to contact them with appointments reminders.
Make use of a customer directory system or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to keep client records. This will allow you to create client profiles with contact information and notes.
There are also CRM systems that can store payment information for regular clients. This will make the checkout process more efficient.
4. Assess your physical environment
The current roadmap out of lock down indicates there won’t be an end to social distancing until at least 21 June. Until then you can minimise the chances of cross contamination by removing magazines are removed and not offering complimentary drinks to clients. Take a look around your salon to look for other shared points of contact between people, objects and clothing.
Consider how you are going to manage social distancing in salon. If you operate individual treatment rooms it maybe less of a problem. For busy hair and nail salons you will need to think about operating with a reduced number of work stations and a limit on how many clients you will safely allow on the premises at any time.
Since the first lock down the wearing of masks is now mandatory, Type 2R masks which are droplet repellent are now more widely available Face covering are not classified as PPE as they are largely intended to protect others not the wearer against the spread of infection.
Under current regulations masks (preferably at least Type 2) must be worn on entering the premises providing personal care and beauty treatments. Mask should be worn at all times unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it. Do make sure you change disposable masks in line with government guidance and have a safe and environmentally friendly method of disposal.
Personal Protection Equipment
It has always been best practice to keep your salon wear only for use in the salon and not travel to and from work in it; it’s important to do this to help reduce the risk of cross infection. At the end of the day change back into your home wear and wash your salon wear on a hot wash (60°C). Introducing different coloured salon wear will help you keep track of any salon wear regime you introduce.
What personal protection equipment will you use in salon? Vinyl gloves, plastic aprons, for client and therapist/hairdresser all help to prevent the transmission of any infection.
5. What treatments and services are you going to offer?
We recommend that you start by offering your range of express services exclusively for the first few weeks from when you re-open. In this way you will help as many clients as possible to start feel and look fabulous and at the same time minimise the amount of time you are in contact with each client. You will be able to gauge yourself which additional treatments you are able and wish to offer.
6. Don’t forget about your suppliers
Don’t leave it to the last minute to restock before opening. If you normally use a local cash and carry, find out when they plan to reopen and any change to opening hours and social distancing policy. If you don’t already order online now is a great time to try it. Ellisons online gives you instant visibility of what’s in stock, allows you to build your order during the day and once we are fully reopen will return to 6pm for receiving orders for next working day delivery.
The hair and beauty industry is set bounce back, the changing landscape will require an agile approach over the coming months, so let’s work together to rebuild clients’ self-confidence and help them look and feel their best this summer.