10 Tips for Salons, Spas, and Wellness Businesses about COVID-19
By Meredith Simmons
Personal interaction is critical to the beauty and wellness industry—you can’t provide beauty services, spinal adjustments, or massages without physically touching your clients. Because of this, you may be worried about the impact that COVID-19 (aka the coronavirus) could have on your business and looking to create a crisis plan.
If that’s you—know that you’re not alone. Salons, spas, massage studios, and wellness clinics everywhere are making hard decisions on what to do considering the coronavirus. Here are 10 ways you can keep your business going during this COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Eliminate unnecessary contact
You want your business to be a safe space for your clients. While your services may require people to be closer than six feet apart, you can still minimize risk for your clients (and team). How? Eliminate the waiting room and implement virtual check-in and send waivers and forms to clients to fill out before they arrive so there's no need for them to use a shared tablet or clipboard.
You can also empower your staff to use personal devices to handle add retail and extra services to the ticket and have them check out clients from anywhere, letting your clients skip front desk and enjoy a contactless checkout. Your team can even clock in and out on their phones when they're at your business.
2. Retail to the rescue
If your salon or spa sells retail products, keep your online store open during COVID-19! As long as you’ve got supply, your customers will bring the demand—after all, if they are used to your massage oil, shampoo, or essential oils, they’ll want those familiar products for at-home even when they can’t visit you in person. Tenoverten, a nail salon based in New York saw online sales double in the last few days. (Need more retail ideas? We created a resource for salons and spas.)
3. Lean into pre-booking
If your salon, spa, or wellness facility needs to close due to coronavirus, take the opportunity to encourage your loyal customers to prebook their next appointment for when you plan to be open again. Here's why your business needs a reopening waitlist ASAP.
4. Reduce services and streamline your operations
Just as you'll want to streamline your clients' experience and minimize contact wherever you can, you need to streamline your operations generally.
With online booking, it's easy to ensure you'll have time to clean between appointments. You can also readily schedule clients to arrive at staggered times.
Perhaps it doesn't make sense to offer your full-service menu at the moment. Some salons are asking clients to come in with wet, clean hair to optimize the service cycle time.
Consider what makes sense for your business. How can you give clients a great experience—while still keeping everyone safe?
5. Reconsider cancellation fees
A cancellation fee is an industry best practice during typical business operations, but it may encourage clients who aren’t feeling 100% or who have COVID-19 to power through and make it to their service now. Make sure your clients know that they can cancel without penalty if they’re not feeling well.
6. Empower staff to stay home
It won’t help anyone if your team shows up sick. Make it very clear to your employees that you expect them to take care of themselves and not come into work if they’re feeling under the weather. They’ll be setting a great example for other consumers and the industry. Wondering how you can support your staff as you navigate this new normal? Here's how to prepare your team to return to your salon or spa. Spa owners and managers can learn how to physically prepare and mentally prepare staff in our Spa Reopening video series as well.
7. Keep it clean
You may already be cleaning your salon or spa regularly but think about what spaces you’re missing or opportunities to put your clientele at ease. Mylkbar, a nail salon with two locations in Charleston, SC, and Nashville, TN, is putting cleanliness front and center for their clients. The salon uses autoclaves to sterilize tools, offers hand sanitizer to customers, and provides transparency into its cleaning schedule via social media. (They clean each day at open and close, as well as a professional deep clean once a week.)
8. Automate what you can
Consider how your customers are communicating with you, and how you are keeping in touch with them. Think about automating content updates to your customers via email if you need to enact any of the strategies above. For example, if you’re reducing your availability, you can target your customers who are most likely to be affected with Marketing Suite.
Another idea is to leverage artificial intelligence to allow customers to text to cancel or reschedule their appointments. Whip Salon in Connecticut is using Bowtie to empower clients to reschedule appointments due to COVID-19, regardless of when clients reach out. Bowtie can help you to eliminate unnecessary points of physical contact at your business, too.
9. Go virtual
It may seem strange to offer beauty, spa, and health services online but think critically about what your clientele needs while they can't see you. If you're temporarily closed, can you guide them through a bang trim or a men's hair cut? Advise them on the right products to use between facials? For example, Bodyworks DW in New York, NY, realized massage therapists had an opportunity to talk to their customers about self-care and began setting up video consultations with their regular clients.
Those businesses that are reopened are using virtual consultations to maximize productivity. With so few clients allowed into businesses at once, virtual consultations are a great way to increase revenue.
10. Stay connected
Stay in touch with your customers. Here are the seven things you need to be communicating right now. Keep boosting morale on social media, build out a newsletter with resources, and consider using video to offer 1:1 appointments or consultations. Offer the advice you’d give in-person, online.
You’ll also want to stay connected to your peers—you're not alone. Other business owners are sharing their content and strategies and offering advice in the online Mindbody One community. Join the conversation and keep what’s working for other industry businesses at your fingertips.