Sunday, April 23, 2017

Business Basics: Communicating with Clients

This is your new mantra: Clients are not your friends.  They pay you to do a service.  You are a professional.

Acting professionally isn't just about how you carry yourself while at work, nowadays with social media, it is also about how you carry yourself in your online presence.

Social Media

Clients are not your friends.  They pay you to do a service.  You are a professional.



Social media: noun; websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or participate in social networking. See: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tumbler, Snap Chat, Periscope, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, blogs, et cetera, et cetera.

Social media has made it so easy for an average Nail Tech (or any one else) to market themselves quickly, cheaply and effectively.  For a small business, or even an average technician looking for clients, social media is an amazing invention that allows free, instant self promotion. However, it is that "instant" piece that gets people into trouble. Always think before you post! I have seen nail techs post the most unprofessional things on their business pages. From one person who literally posted that they were looking for a surrogate to have a baby, to another who posted a meme that was taken as anti-religious and who lost a lot of religious followers due to that single post. And many, many more who post negative things about other businesses, people, their baby daddy...it goes on and on. Your personal life and professional life should NEVER be intermixed in your social media.

Spelling and Grammar Count!

A professional social media page needs to be proofread. Misspellings and poor grammar bring down your professional image and credibility.  I know typos happen to the best of us - but if you do not know the difference between your and you're or too, two and to, look it up before you post something. It may sound trivial, but it absolutely brings down the image of you as a tech, the image of the industry as a whole and perpetuates the "nail techs are just dumb people who can't hack a real job" myth.  Poor grammar and spelling comes across as unprofessional and gives the impression that you don't take your role seriously.  In the business world, you will never see an advertisement with misspellings or poor grammar because that would present a very poor image of the business.

Similarly, proper punctuation and capitalization show professionalism just as much as proper grammar and spelling.

Social Media is Advertising

As I said above, in the business world, you will never see an advertisement with misspellings or poor grammar because that would present a very poor image of the business.  Social media is your advertising platform, treat it as such. There is an entire profession of people who do nothing but craft advertisements and marketing campaigns. If you are going to compete with corporate salons who use professional marketers and advertisers, you need to act professionally on your business social media pages. Period.

Text Messages

Clients are not your friends.  They pay you to do a service.  You are a professional.
No one is saying you can't text your clients - in this day and age more and more clients prefer to text over calling for an appointment. The main thing is that you set boundaries with your clients.

If your lawyer or doctor or dentist texted you at 11 pm "smh. I SAID I would get you in on sat. you hv to lmk when"  What would you think?  Not very professional, right? Personally I would find a new lawyer/doctor/dentist if that happened.

Ideally you would have a separate phone number for work, but if for some reason you cannot do this, you will need to learn to manage your work texts.
  1. There are many services that you can set up to take online and make text appointment reminders.  Yes they have a service fee but it may be worth it to you to save your sanity. Acuity Scheduling is one and is only $10 a month  and Appointment Tell is a service that reminds clients via text, email or phone message and may also be helpful if you don't need a full scheduling software ( I am not affiliated with them, nor have used them, just pointing out these services exist).
  2. Use Google Voice - you can get a second phone number that forwards to your cell/home/work phone and you can dictate hours in which to receive calls and texts.  Use that phone number for clients.
  3. Make it very clear on your business cards/websites/social media that clients can text your phone during business hours only (of course there will always be clients who don't read or care about what you put out there...)

In Your Chair

Clients are not your friends.  They pay you to do a service.  You are a professional.
Having said that, yes you will sometimes have actual friends in your chair.  And some regular clients become very close with you after years of seeing you.  But in your chair, they are clients.  They are paying you to do a service.  You need to wear your "professional" hat and put the "friend" hat away for later. Yes, you can be friendly but keep in mind that topics of conversation in any workplace should not start a debate or invoke strong emotions.  Politics, religion, your health, your finances, risque jokes, sex and sexuality, problems in your relationships, gossiping about coworkers...all of these are majorly "off limits".  I realize it is hard when the person sitting across from you has know you since grade school, but remember this is your career, not your living room, and if you work in a salon or spa with other people anyone could overhear you.  Keep it neutral.

By keeping your place of work professional, clients will respect you.  Once you start becoming too informal, they start to think you are friends and should give them discounts.


Say it with me now: Clients are not your friends.  They pay you to do a service.  You are a professional.

You can do this!


References and Resources:
http://www.nailsmag.com/article/96401/texting-over-a-landline
http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/maintaining-professionalism-social-media-heres-how/2013-04-12
http://www.thegrindstone.com/2011/06/27/career-management/office-etiquette-inappropriate-workplace-topics-you-should-avoid/
https://gigaom.com/2010/10/08/professionalism-and-social-media/
http://www.mw-creative.co.uk/social-media-tips-beauty-industry-2014/
http://salonnerds.com/social-media-marketing-importance-hair-salons/
http://thehairartistassociation.org/2013/05/5-common-social-media-mistakes-beauty-salons-make-and-how-to-avoid-them/