Your Guide to Effective Customer Communication as you Reopen your Salon in the New Normal
During the early days of the lockdown easing, the initial response towards salon reopenings made one thing clear: Customers wanted to return to their favorite stylists.
They were tired of their quarantine styles and needed some TLC for their hair and skin.
But here’s something that has changed due to COVID-19:
Even though customers want to come back, they will only visit salons where they feel safe.
The risk of contracting COVID-19 has shifted customer behavior to the point where they are putting superior sanitation and hygiene above every other comparison parameter.
This is where you can have a marketing advantage over your competitors!
A good communication plan is the key to reopening successfully
The best-in-class COVID-19 safety precautions can help you reopen your salon safely – but won’t necessarily bring your customers back to your shop.
For a successful reopening, you need to spread the word in your client community about everything you are doing, and address client concerns effectively.
This will give them the confidence that your salon is a safe destination for all their hair and beauty necessities.
Running your salon amidst the looming pandemic can be challenging. But with effective communication at every stage with your customers – you can handle any unforeseen scenario that you might come across.
Right from telling when you are reopening to explaining why certain services are not available, communication is going to be key to bring customers back to your salon.
As emails, texts, or in-person interaction – conveying safety measures and being well-versed in addressing queries as customers return to your shop is the one thing that can impact your business during these trying times.
And that’s what this guide can help you with!
- It tells you everything about the best ways and channels to communicate with clients both before and after you reopen your salon.
- It also talks about the importance of reviews in the Covid-19 world and how you can get more reviews to drive new business to your salon.
So, let’s get started!
How to effectively communicate with customers in the current situation?
With a host of new safety precautions and countless customer questions regarding visiting your salons, it might be a little overwhelming to chalk out a communication plan.
That’s why we have identified the four most important touchpoints during a customer’s interaction with your business:
- Your reopening announcements
- The booking confirmation notification
- In-shop interactions
- The post-service communication
In the coming sections, we will discuss how to plan communication during each touchpoint and real-life examples of how other salon owners communicated with their clients during COVID-19.
You can also check out our free email templates to communicate with customers at every touchpoint during their interaction with your business.
1. Your reopening announcements
Once you have prepped up your shop and staff for reopening, it’s time to tell your clients that you are back in business.
You can use the following ways to interact with customers online:
Emails & Texts
You should send them out at least a week or 10 days in advance so that your clients have plenty of time to go through your safety measures, plan their schedules, and make up their minds about visiting your salon.
- Keep a celebratory tone about the reopening of your salon. Thanking your customers for their constant support and loyalty can be a good icebreaker. Don’t forget to tell them how much you missed them!
- Personalize the message for each customer by using their first names.
- Tell them about changes you’ve made in your salon and the measures you’re taking for their safety –
- Opening Hours
- Limited Number of Time Slots
- Social Distancing Rules
- Hygiene Practices
- Most importantly: Tell them how they can book an appointment (via your website/booking portal/contact number). This is the one step that is going to bring you business, so make sure you highlight it properly in the email body and explain it clearly. Using a salon scheduling software like Appointy will help you automate this process so that customers can self-schedule just by clicking on the link in your email.
- You will also need to inform them of the changes you’re making and the hygiene practices you are following at your salon. Add a link to your website/social media page or any other page where you’ve collated all the information.
For text messages, craft your message highlighting the following:
- Tell them you’ve missed them (adds a personal touch)
- Day of your reopening
- How to make an appointment
Fire up your Facebook & Instagram game. The news is everywhere that salons are reopening and you’ll have many clients who would reach out using social media for inquiries. Your posts should make your clients feel comfortable with the idea of visiting your salon – make them want to come back!
- Start your promotions and open up slots for taking appointments at least a week before your reopening date. Make a social media post schedule and publish about your reopening consistently.
- Update your Instagram & Facebook business profiles. Let them know if you’re accepting pre-bookings – provide them with a Book Now button on your Instagram and Facebook profiles that link to your booking page.
- Tell them about how pumped up you are to restart your services. Talk about your best days at the salon, and what your salon is known for – Your strong points and your salon’s expertise. Make them miss you!
- Hold a Facebook and Instagram Live with your clients to update them on what you’ve been up to – Talk about your reopening plans, thank them for their support, answer their queries if they have any, and connect with them on a more personal level. It’ll bridge any communication gaps between you and them, making things much clearer on both ends.
- Create Instagram stories and posts showing the various steps you are taking to maintain hygiene at your salon.
- Upload pictures of your salon showing all the safety precautions in your salon. (Eg: sanitizer stations installed, re-shifting your furniture and working stations to show your distancing protocols)
- Put up pictures of you and your employees in PPE to boost customer confidence in you and your staff.
- Be quick to reply to DMs – If your inbox gets flooded with messages, you can set up “Quick Replies” to send out to your clients. These are standardized messages you can set up beforehand that should include – a thank you note for reaching out, a link to your safety guidelines, and your booking page.
- You can put up memes on your Instagram or Facebook to make your posts amusing.
Revamp Your Website
Start doing the back work 1-2 weeks prior to your reopening date by preparing content and graphics that need to go on the page. Your updated website should go live a few days before your reopening.
Make sure you’re focusing on addressing the following areas on your website:
- Reopening announcements with a new booking strategy. Update your new opening hours. Clearly mention that you’re servicing customers with prior appointments only and no walk-ins.
- Make sure you have a “book” button to take bookings from your website. Scheduling software like Appointy can help you integrate your booking page directly on your website or add a ‘Book’ button.
- Your COVID-19 response: Highlighting new hygiene and sanitation policy, how you’re going to ensure social distancing, and your salon’s COVID-19 rules and policies.
- Your updated service menu.
- Salon rules for clients. (wearing a mask, signing a waiver form, etc.)
Update Your Business Listings
- Yelp has rolled out new features to help you communicate better with your clients. You can now set up a Call-to-Action feature, and also highlight your salon’s availability and offerings during these times.
- Google My Business now lets businesses access a new type of post designed for announcements related to Covid-19. Your COVID-19 updates will appear at the top of your salon’s profile in local search gaining the most visibility. You can also add a ‘Book Now’ button to your GMB listing by opting in with your scheduling partner. (Learn more here)
Communicate your COVID-19 beauty salon price increase
In the wake of COVID-19, many salons have added a small fee to their services in order to accommodate the cost of all the additional safety equipment. If you are one of them, it’s important that you communicate this change to your customers and why you did it before they book an appointment.
If you are wondering how to inform customers about the salon price increase, you can tell them you had to do so to sustain while ensuring the utmost hygiene at the place they trust. That with your business suffering a major dip and to continue providing the best service, this is a necessary step.
Explaining the situation to them over the phone or in a detailed announcement on your booking page will help them understand that it is for their own safety and hopefully they wouldn’t mind this temporary surge.
2. The booking confirmation notification
Yay! So, now that you’re getting appointments already, your next step would be informing them about confirmation. You can do it via emails or texts.
This is an important step because besides “Thank you for booking…” and “Time & Date of your appointment”, you should now also include the following in your email:
- Reiterate the fact that you will not be able to adjust the timing of their appointment in case they arrive late/early since it’s crucial for you to follow social distancing.
- In case they are feeling unwell prior to their appointment, ask them to reschedule their appointment for 2 weeks later.
- To avoid crowding, ask your clients to wait for a green signal (you can call or message them) before entering the salon premises.
- Add a link to your salon’s ‘COVID-19 client guidelines’ which clearly states what they need to do when they come to your salon.
- Inform them that they will only be permitted entry in the salon post-screening for COVID-19 symptoms. Mention the next steps on what might happen if they are symptomatic (appointment cancelation, refunds, etc.)
For text messages, you can do the same and add a link at the end where they can find the extended information. (Eg: Hey Avery, thank you for booking an appointment with <Salon Name>. Here’s your booking info – <Date & Time>
Please visit <link> for important information before you come in! See you soon!)
Here’s an example of a customized booking confirmation email in Appointy. The salon owner has added a link to their salon’s safety guidelines in the footer and informed customers about social distancing protocols they need to know before visiting.
3. In-shop interactions
Interacting with customers makes up for a good chunk of their experience at your salon.
Now, we know you can’t receive your clients with open arms, but you can make sure you make up for it by taking care of their safety and salon experience!
- Collate all the relevant information in a pamphlet/booklet. Title it something like “We are ready to touch base with you!” or “Let’s take a peek at what’s new at <Salon Name>?”. You can then go ahead to tell them all the changes and safety measures you have incorporated post-reopening.
- Since, you’ll be receiving your clients after months of being in lockdown, be ready to be your best self! Train your staff to be extra polite and courteous to customers.
- Your clients would be anxious and nervous with the idea of coming in, so a warm greeting with a smile can go a long way.
- Put up a “Welcome Back” sign at the entrance; you can also put up balloons!
- Reassure them that they are in safe hands, show them the cleaners you’re using to sanitize your salon in case you feel they are still hesitant – See it to believe it!
- Be willing to help them with any questions they may have when they’re in your salon. Some common questions can be: “How do I know that the products/equipment you’re using are safe?” “What have you done to ensure safety?”. Keep answers to such questions handy!
The more cautious you are with their safety and satisfaction, the better your reviews will be!
4. Post-service communication
If all goes well, we hope your clients leave your salon with happy faces.
Whether it is good or bad, you’ll have to be quick to get back to them since the first weeks of your salon’s reopening are most crucial.
If they are happy, you should request them to give you positive feedback/reviews across platforms, and if they are not, you should be prompt in fixing whatever went wrong.
What to say in your email/texts, you ask?
- Start by thanking them for choosing your salon and that you hope that they had a great experience with you.
- Follow this by asking them if they have any feedback on how to improve your services.
- Request for a positive review, if they were satisfied with your service & hygiene practices – across Yelp, Google, Facebook, and other platforms.
- If they were unhappy, try to resolve it ASAP. A bad review in the first few weeks of your reopening can plummet all the hard work you put into getting back up! (Here’s what to do if you end up getting one anyway).
- For text messages, you can provide them with a link to whichever platform you want a review/feedback on.
Another way you can take their reviews and feedback is by conducting a poll or a survey –
- You can put up an Instagram poll for your clients taking their feedback on your service.
- You can create a survey using platforms like SurveyMonkey for clients you’ve serviced.
What to include in your survey? Ask them questions about your –
- Hygiene practices – Were precautions adequate? Were they happy with them?
- Social distancing protocols – Were they employed diligently?
- Staff behavior – Were they wary of your safety?
- Changed service menu – Were they comfortable with the services and their prices?
You can also request customers to share photos taken at your salon on their social media, or you can post them from your business page and tag them (with permission, of course!). This will ensure that the rest of your followers and their network can see that customers are happy and safe visiting your salon.
Do you usually forget about taking reviews once the customer leaves your salon?
Don’t worry, you can automate the review-taking process with the help of a salon booking software like Appointy. This ensures that no matter how busy you are, you never miss out on 5-star reviews and candid feedback from your customers.
Email templates for every touchpoint
Getting your business back up running is not something you can do overnight. It’s a process spread across several weeks and you need to know exactly what to do and how to engage with your clients throughout this process.
Whether it’s interacting with your clients in-salon, or taking their feedback during these times, ramping up your communication game can help you reopen with a bang!
Let us know if you have any ideas to add to the list!
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, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
If you have any thoughts on this blog or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below.
We love a good talk!