How to Prepare Your Staff to Return to Your Salon or Spa
By Katherine Wernet
You might not yet know when you’ll be able to reopen, but it’s important to start preparing now. You want to make sure your team is ready. Perhaps you’ve had to furlough or even lay off employees. Maybe they’ve even been hired away from you. You need to think about what your team will look like when you reopen now and how best you can support them.
Bring your team together now
Even if you don’t know when you’re reopening, text or call your team to check in. It’s easy to keep everyone updated in real time with Bowtie, Mindbody’s AI receptionist. Let them know how you’re preparing for your eventual reopening. They’re likely just as anxious as you are about everything. Emphasize how important your team is to your customer base. Your clients can’t wait to see your employees back at your salon or spa!
Confirm your staff’s schedules. You'll likely have employees who’ll be balancing work and taking care of children or other family members. Use your waitlist to coordinate which of your employees should work which hours. Schedule a virtual meeting over FaceTime or Zoom before you open.
Provide time for your team to connect, too. Host a virtual happy hour or a game night to bring everyone “together” once again. You’ll boost morale and get your team excited to be physically together at your business again soon.
Let your employees know how they can help before you even reopen
Giving your staff a bit of homework can calm their nerves and help them ready themselves for your reopening. Are there certifications they could earn while they’re at home? Is there any training they could complete during this time? This could be anything from getting certified in Mindbody software to earning the Barbicide® COVID-19 certification to teaching your team how they can provide top-notch, contactless customer service with Bowtie.
Are there ways your team can support your marketing efforts? Ask your employees to do an Instagram takeover and share their must-have products. Sharing what your team is up to is one of the seven things every salon and spa should communicate to clients during COVID-19.
Pressed Roots is doing just that. We spoke with the owner and founder, Piersten Gaines, who shared, “I’ve been having my stylists keep [our customers] engaged. I've been having them submit different video content to introduce themselves, talk about their experience, give a #presstip to our customers. And so we've been posting that content on our social media to keep our customers engaged with information about how to take care of their hair through this time.” It’s a team effort.
Prepare staff for new policies
Update your staff handbook to reflect any new cleaning processes and new policies on client interaction. While you may have had a strict cancellation policy before, you don’t want to encourage clients to come in when they’re sick. Will you want your clients to book ahead and no longer accept walk-ins (see how that’s a trend we’ll see in the new normal)? Will you require that clients fill out any forms online prior to arriving at the salon or spa (minimizing another point of contact)? Make your staff aware of any of these changes.
Let your staff know the reasoning behind changes and provide any necessary training. Give your staff positive language they can use if clients fail to comply with social distancing guidelines or the other important policies you’ve put in place. If you’ve decided to make masks mandatory for both your team and customers, have a plan for how your staff can uniformly deal with a client who arrives without a mask or refuses to wear one. Having a set way for your entire team to respond can empower everyone and minimize fear and frustration.
Train your team to answer tough questions
The most important thing you can do is ensure your team understands the new processes put in place to keep them and your clients safe. They need to be able to both execute them and speak to them. Your clients will likely have questions, and your team needs to know how to best respond. Giving your employees a list of Frequently Asked Questions will help to prepare them as well. You can also leverage Bowtie to answer your customers’ FAQs, giving your team some extra support.
In our recent webinar, Lisa Starr also recommended making sure employees could easily answer questions about how everything in the business was cleaned and the difference between sanitizing, disinfecting, and sterilizing. Coaching your team to outline how they’re reducing risk during their services can make clients feel increasingly at ease.
Let them have a dry run
There’s no need to open your doors without giving your team a chance to adjust to new practices and processes. It’s been a moment since your team has colored or cut their hair/gotten a mani/pedi or generally had a bit of pampering. Before you welcome your regular customers, let your team try out new social distancing guidelines and cleaning processes and practice providing services for one another. This will help to establish new habits and help your team feel their best once again.
Provide the proper personal protective equipment
You need to have enough masks and gloves for your team when they return. While not all areas will mandate masks, Starr notes that masks inspire confidence in your clients. They might be nervous to return, and seeing their stylist/esthetician/wax specialist/nail technician/massage therapist outfitted in a mask could make a difference.
Support them in upselling
You’re going to have fewer opportunities to bring in clients when you reopen. It’s critical that you and your team have a high average ticket. Retail and add-on services are more important than ever. Give your staff the tools (and incentives) to upsell effectively.
Encourage your team to pull reports on previous product purchases so they’re able to tailor recommendations. Have your team recommend products that can help your clients maintain between appointments (just in case you need to temporarily close again). Worried about germ-y retail sections? Dropship products directly to your clients’ homes.
You can’t make your reopening a success alone. You need your team backing you. Give them the tools and knowledge they need to make your reopening a grand reopening.