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Celestehillingblog

“For all of us, the question right now is: How do we take this moment to look at our business and ask, 'What is going to help us thrive?'” – Celeste Hilling, CEO of Skin Authority

In our Facebook Live with Celeste Hilling, she walked us through four ways we can use this time during COVID-19 to re-evaluate our business, engage with our clients in new and exciting ways, and ultimately emerge as more well-rounded salon owners.

1. ​Communication and Transparency are Key

“We tend to be so in the moment that we forget to communicate. Right now, people aren’t looking for coupons or discounts – they’re really looking for honesty and transparency to help navigate what’s next. As their professional, you need to over-communicate.”

  • Embrace all different types of technology – email, social media, Facebook and Instagram Lives, text messages – and communicate to your customers that when you do start seeing them again, things are going to be different.
  • Remember that consumers want to partner with brands that bring value to their lives. Take this time to truly consider what problem(s) you’re solving and communicate this to your clients.
  • Ask yourself, who are your most engaged and committed customers? Consider sending them a survey and asking what their main concerns are with this new landscape or what type of service they’re most excited about once your salon doors reopen. Use their responses to guide how you choose to communicate and make sure you’re alleviating their fears by emphasizing your commitment to safety protocols and sanitation measures.
  • To help with safety measures, send a pre-appointment questionnaire to all clients. Asking simple questions digitally is a great way to ensure your bookings are consistent with safety measures. Key questions might include: Have you been tested for COVID-19? Have you had symptoms? Are you 65 or older?

​​2. Encourage Virtual Connections & Leverage Technology

“Right now, nearly 70% of all products are being purchased through superstores right now. The question is, how do we bring a lot of that business back?”

  • Lean into all types of virtual offerings, including offering a virtual storefront, virtual product tutorials and hosting a virtual grand opening – and allow your virtual presence to highlight your brand, values, and personality.
    • For a virtual grand reopening, have fun with it! Invite your clients to a happy hour Zoom call where you discuss your new sanitation procedures, treatments, and safety protocols.
  • When recommending products, couple it with a how-to tutorial and consider home deliveries. Clients are more likely to purchase retail when they know how to use the product and when they feel good about what they’re getting.
  • Tune into WIFM (What’s In it For Me). Know that this is what your clients are asking themselves when you mention a service or product, and be ready to educate them.
  • Conversations around retail have always been particularly challenging for aesthetics since clients expect a tranquil, stress-free, environment. But now is the time to have these conversations; clients expect it. Use your expertise to be their guide!
  • Prepare for no-contact transactions. Utilize SolaGenius for touchless credit card processing!

3. Try Something Different

“Leverage this time to say, I’m making this experience better for you.’”

  • Take this time to step out of your comfort zone and try something different! Are there treatments you’ve always wanted to add to your service menu?
    • How can you provide mini experiences to EVERY single client who walks through your door? If blow drying is out of the question, consider offering a mask treatment instead (either on hair or skin or both).
    • Under-eye treatments and 60-second brow treatments are very popular.
  • Try collaborating with vendors (guest artists or educators) who can speak about the products for you – bring experts to your consumers. If you don’t love being on camera or creating videos, then lean on the people who do!
  • Get strategic around seasonal specials and promotions, and really try to create fresh content every week. There’s a strong desire to support small businesses and independent brands – use this in your favor.

4. Invest in Yourself

“As scary as it may seem and as desperate as you may feel to make money again, now is the time to ask, ‘What is it I’ve always wanted to master that I haven’t mastered?’”

  • Consider getting certified in a service you’ve always been interested in (extensions is a popular one right now) or have a personal coaching session with an industry expert.
  • Create a game plan, asking yourself where you really want to take your business. Get very clear on your strategy and move forward with intention.

Celeste closed the Live by reiterating that this is a fresh reopening. You can come out of this experience with a fresh menu, fresh pricing and new client experiences. “And remember, if Plan A doesn’t work, there are 25 other letters in the alphabet,” she said, “I think that’s what this time is all about. There’s Plan B, C, D, E, and so on. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. This is the most important time for you.”

Want more from Celeste Hilling? Watch the full Facebook Live recording here.

 
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