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Consumers are planning to rush back to the salon, how should salon owners and beauty professionals prepare to open their salons?

Like the sound of a supersonic jet breaking the sound barrier, consumers are going to bolt to the salon for services once the quarantine is lifted.

Buzz Beauté surveyed consumers to understand what they will do, where they will go, how they would spend their money, and what their expectations of their salon will be after the doors are opened. 83% surveyed intended to visit a salon within the first 30-days, this is higher than visiting restaurants or bars (60%), going to the gym (44%), entertainment such as movies, concerts (34%), family activities such as museum or activity centers (22%) or going on a vacation (16%).

Additional good news for the beauty industry is even though 38% of our clients have been impacted financially due to COVID-19, they are still planning to spend money on their beauty services.

The survey also asked what services consumers planned to get within the first 30-days. 81% said hair services, followed by 53% who will get a pedicure. Not to be left out, consumers looking for skincare and massages account for a combined 44%. While #3 was nails, consumers also said nails would be an area they may choose to do at home or reduce their number of services, at least for now.

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When asked if they intended to visit the same salon or a different salon, 97% plan to visit the same salon but noted they expect safety protocols to be put into place. 72% could be incentivized to receive services if there was a discount or incentive so if you are finding that you need more business, consider offering a promotion.

Now that we know consumers are planning to rush back to the salon, how should we prepare to open our salons?

To help you get ready and meet what the consumer will be looking for, follow the OPEN guideline. Getting prepared and keeping yourself, your staff, and your clients safe will be everyone’s focus over the next few months. The below OPEN guide helps you hit all the spoken and unspoken concerns people will have, so once again your salon will be a haven for clients to feel relaxed, pampered, and listened too (pun intended).

O – Outlining a Plan

Before you can know what action steps to take, you should get a plan together. They will most likely want the environment from before but now will want assurance and visible proof the salon is delivering on every aspect to keep them safe and virus-free. This is where you will want to decide how your salon will operate for the next few months.

What will be your new policies and protocols? How will you ask fellow salon professionals and clients to behave in the salon?

Here are the top 8 things you will want to include in your plan:

  1. Will the professionals wear masks or gloves (or have them available) for themselves or clients?
  2. Will you want to reduce the number of people in the salon and/or create more distance between clients?
  3. With a surge of clients booking appointments, how will you handle the demand for your time? How will you prioritize clients?
  4. How will you deal with correction services for clients that did their own color and/or cut?
  5. Do you need to rethink your waiting area and how or if people should be waiting?
  6. Should only the client come to the appointment, so no other family, kids, etc.?
  7. How will you encourage sick clients to stay home or move their appointment?

You may think of other consideration points that will need a decision, and that is great. Remember to be flexible and open to adjusting your plan, as necessary. Once things get underway, you may need to accommodate new rules or laws, what is working and not working and feedback from clients. That is normal and the best way to handle fluid situations you will find yourself and your salon in.

P – Prepare the Salon

Now that you have a plan in place, you will need to get to work. The next step is to physically prepare the salon for re-opening. Walkthrough the salon one day (a great excuse to get out of the house for a few hours) and step through the space from arrival to departure and evaluate the things you need to do to keep everyone safe. You can discuss with your janitorial services, your staff, or whoever is responsible for keeping the salon clean to go through all the areas you will want to deep clean, reorganize or move around to create the space that will make your staff and clients feel as safe as possible.

Before re-opening, accomplish this list:

1. Toss it out! Start by removing things you don’t use, don’t need, or are no longer part of the new normal. Toss those magazines, take home your tabletop books and search for other unnecessary items that get used by multiple people and are difficult to keep clean.

2. Clean and disinfect- Identify a cleaning protocol and process that addresses both the reopening of your salon and how you will maintain the cleanliness once you start receiving clients. Give thought to what needs to be cleaned, who will do the cleaning, how often it will get cleaned. You may want to go through your existing cleaning supplies and make sure to have the proper items on-hand.

3. Update areas of the salon. Considering you’ll want to encourage handwashing, you may want to update your bathroom, including easy to use soap dispensers and disposable towels. Do you need to move stations to make sure you have adequate distance between stations? Do you need to move things around to reduce salon traffic patterns thus keeping distance between customers and staff?

4. Supplies- Determine how you will clean reusable items such as salon smocks and capes. Consider how you will keep those items clean or what disposable options are available. Will you have readily available hand sanitizer, wipes, masks, and gloves for clients and staff?

5. Personal items- Consider how you keep personal items like purses, coats, umbrellas, safe from cross-contamination. Will you have clients take all their items to the station? Will you leave them on racks, but with adequate space between? Will you ask clients to not bring personal items into the salon?

6. Hospitality- Many salons offer beverages in glasses and mugs, so consider switching to single-serving items for each customer.

7. Shoes- Coronavirus can live on shoes up to 5 hours so will you have a way to clean staff shoe soles? Will you ask clients to take off their shoes and provide disposable slippers? Will you provide booties for them to step into with their shoes (like doctors wear) to stop from contaminating the salon?

E – Entering the Salon

Everyone is looking for guidance on how to operate in this new world. What is the norm, or if they are doing it “right”? Helping your staff and clients know how your salon will operate, will make everyone feel more comfortable and at ease. You have planned the logistics and cleanliness of your salon but now is the time to put protocols into place for how your staff and clients will behave at the salon. Everyone will need clear instructions on how to navigate their way through their services.

Prior to arriving- What should clients know before arriving at their salon appointment and how will you communicate the message? Will you ask them to bring in a mask or to be prepared to remove their shoes? Will you ask them to wait in their car before their appointment or come alone? Will you communicate this when their appointment is booked? Will you send them a text or email? How should they expect the beauty professional will behave and will they be wearing a mask, gloves, and or using disposable salon tools and accessories. Let people know what you want of them and what to expect.

Upon arriving- Speak with your staff and team on how you will operate as a salon to greet guests. Will you avoid shaking hands or hugging or ask if it is ok before you do? What is the process for when clients arrive? Should they be asked to remove their shoes and wash their hands? Will they be asked to put their personal items in their car or a designated spot during the appointment? Will you be serving refreshments out of single-use drinkware? Are you asking clients to stay only in certain parts of the salon? This is about keeping the client and the professional safe.

During the service- Will you offer the option for the professional and or client to wear a mask? Will you have hand sanitizer at the station? Will you use disposable capes, gowns, or other salon tools? What do you want the professional to do to help keep the safety and cleanliness standards at the level you are expecting?

After the service- Get feedback from your clients and team, especially in the early days. This will help you modify your protocols and expectations to meet the needs of everyone in the salon. Maybe you are doing great and everyone is thrilled and grateful! Maybe some things are too strict or difficult to sustain or maybe there was something you overlooked and need to consider and adjust.

N – Never Stop Communicating

Seriously. Other than cleaning your salon, this may be the next most important thing you do. Communicate, communicate, communicate to your clients, and staff what the salon is doing to keep everyone safe. 53% of consumers surveyed are looking for visible and communicated measures to how the salon is keeping them safe. Tell them repeatedly so that they see it!

Ways to communicate the cleaning and safety protocols to staff and clients:

  • Update your website with any modifications to hours, salon guidelines, and actions you have implemented to keep clients and staff safe.
  • Email all clients about your protocols and salon rules, what to expect during their salon visit, and what they should bring.
  • Put signage in the window or at the station notifying clients of your cleaning protocol and extra steps you have implemented.
  • Offer online payment so clients can go cashless
  • Update any advertising to include how you maintain your salon to the highest safety standards

The more you can do to prepare for the salon’s eventual reopening, the better you will be able to service your clients and satisfy your staff. Yes, there are a lot of unknowns right now, but being proactive and taking action on the experience you want in your salon now will give you the time to implement the new protocols and changes.

Know that you are not in this alone. If you need help or support you can reach out to fellow salon owners, trade publications, and organizations, as well as us at Buzz Beauté at info@buzzbeaute.com. Getting the professional beauty industry up and operating again is all our collative benefit. Let’s go make the world beautiful again.