Reopening salon business post COVID-19: Your guide to adapt to the new normal
COVID-19 has made working in a high-touch industry both scary and confusing.
The uncertainty around reopening is, even more, pressing for salon owners and beauty professionals with their own practices who have to deal with state/ CDC social distancing guidelines, guest anxiety, and staff safety all at once.
In this blog, we will cover a few things you must know before reopening your salon in the ‘new normal’ and 6 ways in which salon owners can adapt to the post COVID-19 world using appointment scheduling.
- Things to know before your reopen your salon business
- How online scheduling can help you reopen your salon post-COVID 19?
- How to communicate reopening to your customers?
Things to know before you reopen your salon business
1) Social distancing is going to be a way of life – for some time or maybe indefinitely
Social distancing limits the number of people in an area at a time, thus reducing the risk of COVID-19 infections. As the phase 1 of ‘Opening America Again’ kicks off, state governments across the country have launched their own social distancing guidelines for businesses that are allowed to resume operations.
As salon owners, you have to invest time in understanding and implementing these safety measures in your shop or workplace to ensure that your salon abides by the updated state/ CDC guidelines.
2) You can expect a concentrated inflow of customers in the first few days after your reopen
Blush Beauty Bar, a hair salon in Loveland, Colorado opened its doors to customers for the first time in 48 days and the stylists were booked solid. After the 60-day lockdown, it’s not surprising if people with unruly eyebrows, fading Botoxes, and ragged cuticles flood your calendars with appointment requests.
It’s important that you prepare yourself and your staff to cater to these customers so that you can not only prevent the risk of infection but also leverage this opportunity to give your reopened salon an initial boost after reopening.
3) Top-notch safety standards can become a distinguishing factor for salons
As Coronavirus continues to sweep throughout the country, people everywhere will be skeptical about visiting their favorite hairdresser and salon due to the risk of infection. Clients are now more careful of the places they visit, the people that they interact with and the surface they touch.
In times like these, customers will need to be repeatedly assured about the safety measures being employed at your business. It’s even possible that businesses that are able to maintain a superior sanitation level at their salons and are able to communicate these efforts effectively to their customers can have an edge over their competitors due to the shift in consumer preferences.
Keeping in mind all the above shifts in consumer behavior, the ultimate goal for any business today should be to provide a safe environment for its customers and employees.
One of the most important safety precautions suggested by various state governments is to avoid crowding within premises by limiting occupancy levels and walk-in customers.
In fact, they recommend shifting to an appointment-only model of accepting customers to be in complete check of the people that come into your salon at any time.
Following this advice, now is the time to go for an option that people, up until recently, have been thinking of as an afterthought: online appointment scheduling.
Here are 6 ways how an appointment scheduling software, like Appointy, can become your salon’s social-distancing tool in the post COVID-19 world.
How online scheduling can help you reopen your salon in the post-COVID-19 world?
1. Control the occupancy of your salon
Using online scheduling software, you can set up the operating hours of the salon, define appointment slots throughout the day, and control the maximum number of people who can enter the premises. This way you are following the government-mandated guidelines while also doing your part in reviving the economy.
Many salons are shifting to appointment only methods and avoiding walk-ins as a safety measure. Let customers book a suitable time slot to visit through your custom branded 24×7 online booking portal.
By reducing the customer-staff interaction to a bare minimum, you can avoid a lot of chances for risk.
2. Minimize physical contact
When customers arrive for their appointments, having them linger in the common area together while they wait for checking in can be unsafe. You can remedy this with the virtual check-ins using an appointment scheduling software.
The front desk staff can easily search for a customer’s name or contact in their systems and verify them quickly from a safe distance.
On the off chance that a customer arrives before their appointment, you can ask them to maintain queues from within their cars, and not from the waiting lounge of the salon.
To ensure a contactless check-out, you should also encourage customers to make online prepayments while booking their appointments. In high-risk areas, you can also make prepayments mandatory for booking with your business and ensure safe checkouts.
Appointy integrates with popular payment gateways like Square, Stripe, Paypal, etc. so that your customers never face an issue during prepayments.
3. Conduct thorough client screening
Screening every client before they enter your salon is an important measure to ensure a safe environment at your salon. In the initial few days of reopening your business, you can also pre-approve all appointments before they are confirmed so that you can conduct customer screening before they visit your salon,
With Appointy, managers and owners can request customers to fill out forms at the time of booking an appointment to collect health-related client information (such as age, medical history, etc.) before approving the appointment to avoid the risk of potentially contaminating the salon.
To ensure the utmost safety, you can also perform mandatory temperature checks before a customer or staff member enters the salon. Note down everyone’s temperature and exactly how many people are inside the salon at a time.
Using an online scheduling tool to manage your customer database will also help you store personal details, appointment history, intake form answers, and preferences in one place. If things go south and a customer is found to be positive, this information will help you track and trace other customers and staff that were also present on the same day the now COVID-19 positive customer was present.
4. Maintain a safe work environment for your staff
As you reopen your salon post COVID-19, ensuring a safe work environment for your staff is important to resume smooth business operations.
A smart way to implement social distancing among your staff is dividing your staff into two teams and starting your salon with alternating shifts. This way neither of the two teams will have contact with the other team and there is no cross-contamination between teams.
Adding staggered shifts depending on your state’s guidelines can also be implemented as a safety measure. You can do this easily by adding regular and irregular schedules for your staff members in Appointy and changing your salon’s hours as required.
This will also optimize your staff schedule and open hours so that there are no unfilled slots and idle stylists during the day.
5. Deliver safe customer experiences
Maintaining workplace hygiene according to the government guidelines is a must to avoid any interruption in your salon operations. While being in the beauty business, you would be no stranger to the highest standards of workplace hygiene and sanitation. But with hairstylists touching people’s hair and faces during most services, it’s imperative that you take diligent steps to ensure the safety of everyone around you.
The client and technician must wash their hands with liquid soap and water before commencing every single service. Handwashing with soap and hot water is by far the most effective method of sanitation. However, when this is not possible, hand sanitizer gel can be used. Although, it is not at all considered to be a replacement, but to be used in-between hand washing.
Make sure that your staff members are regularly cleaning and sanitizing their workstation, tools, and anything else that is frequently used. Using Appointy’s buffer time feature, you can also add designated 15-min slots after every appointment for disinfection.
As a business owner, you can also take the time to employ smart changes to reimagine your salon space.
Re-imagining your salon can be something as small as keeping sanitizers at the entry of your salon to a big revamp such as spreading out each workstation at least 6-8 feet from each other. What is important is that you’re taking an important step towards making your salon safe for your customers, your staff members, and any visitor that you may have.
6. Go digital! Opt for virtual consultations and sessions
Try to shift certain services like consultations, after-care instruction sessions, etc. online. Using Appointy’s Zoom integration, you will be able to host 1:1 and group sessions online for your customers with just a click. This will not only ensure crowd management at your salon but also prepare you in case the lockdown is enforced again.
You can also start delivery/takeaway of things like retail items, color formula kits, or add-ons and reduce the crowd and unnecessary travel of your clients.
How to communicate reopening?
1) Communication with customers
Just a few days before you reopen, inform your clients using channels such as your website, online profiles (like Google My Business), emails, and plan social media posts.
If you’ve got a salon website, dedicate an entire page informing your customers of the major steps you’ve taken to ensure a comfortable visit for them at your salon.
Using the existing customer database, send a booking link to your customers, inviting them to book appointments with you and your staff members.
Take advantage of the variety of social media posts at hand. You can make a video giving a tour of the revamped salon, add photos of a clean workplace, staff working in masks, your redesigned salon space to build trust, live stream to answer FAQs of clients, post promotional offers, etc.
Using these channels you can make sure that clients that are on the fence are rest assured of the steps you’re taking to provide high standards of cleanliness and appropriate social distancing guidelines. The customer should feel that their health and safety is your first priority. This will reflect in the reviews that they leave for your salon post their service.
Along with this, communicate all the guidelines and preventive measures to your clients including what they need to do before coming to your salon and/or after reaching there.
2) Communication with staff
Not only do you need to communicate with your customers beforehand, but it is important that you also communicate with an integral part of your salon – your staff members.
Your staff members must also be informed of the steps you will be implementing within your salon that not only ensures the safety of your customers but also the safety of your staff. This will boost morale within the team, increase productivity, and ensure that the staff members feel cared for.
Bring your staff members with you in your initiative to successfully reopen your salon. Inform them of all the guidelines that they need to abide by, and the measures they must undertake so that the clients that they interact with can have a pleasant experience within the salon.
Ready to implement social distancing with online appointment scheduling for your salon?
Using online appointment scheduling amidst the lockdown can do wonders for your salon.
A salon scheduling software, like Appointy, is the new-age social distancing tool for businesses and can be used by businesses of all shapes and sizes. In such uncertain times, you never know what the future holds for you, your business, and your family of customers. It is always better to be one step ahead and lead the race, instead of being two steps behind and playing catch-up.
That is what Appointy does for you and your salon: keep you and your team ahead in the game.
Let’s explore Appointy together, it’ll just take you 2 minutes. Book a demo with us.
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We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
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