Industry • Best Practice
Nail Bonding: How to Build Lasting Relationships Between Techs and Clients
Jun.13.2023By Boulevard Staff
Making a connection takes effort, but clients who make a second appointment will likely return again and again
Of all beauty businesses, nail salons are perhaps the most difficult when it comes to building a steady and loyal customer base. Client retention for nail salons has sat at around 30 to 35% for over two decades, which means technicians are struggling to forge those long-term client connections that will grow their business.
The good news is the technicians who provide the best experience — not just the best nails — are far more likely to see clients return again and again.
Encouraging repeat business
The key to retention is less about offering a good service — although that’s certainly important — and more about helping the client feel something positive when they visit. This might be from a strong connection with a nail tech, receiving a product recommendation, or staff knowing exactly what a regular client needs before they ask. Of course, making this impression can be a little harder for new clients, but there are steps you can take to make your best impression.
Reward your first-time clients
Who doesn’t love a surprise gift? An instant reward for your first appointment can make an excellent first impression, especially one that includes product samples or a promotional discount. In many cases, salons can use these rewards to help their clients feel appreciated and encourage repeat appointments.
For example, when Seattle-based Gene Juarez Salons and Spas welcomes a new client, they don’t just give them a service — they also provide a welcome kit. This kit includes a welcome letter, $25 coupon good toward a second appointment, and a 30% discount on a product during the third visit. As a result, the 30% new client retention rate increases to 50% for returning patrons and 70% after a third visit.
Nail salons may have a service menu, but there are ways to help them feel like a particular treatment is just for them. Perhaps you could provide custom exfoliants or lotions that are produced in-house from retail products. You might have an add-on service menu, which upsells the appointment and provides a more precise type of experience. Even a small nail salon that can’t provide every possible service can be flexible enough to help clients feel special by making an accommodation just for them, building a relationship in the process.
How can techs help?
If retention is about building lasting relationships, the nail technician will play the most vital role. They’re the main point of contact between the client and the salon, and the one who is positioned to tailor the experience to their needs. There’s an art to the process that takes time to learn, but there are a few best practices nail techs with any level of experience should keep in mind.
Give them your full attention
You’d think this would be a given, but let’s be honest — everyone struggles with attention at times. Focus can be especially difficult if you’re simultaneously serving clients, answering the phone, and doing some tidying on the side. But when you give patrons your full attention, you’re able to serve them more effectively and more likely to produce higher-quality results. Most importantly, clients notice when they’re not your focus, and while they’ll usually roll with a certain amount of distraction, too much and they’re likely to leave feeling ignored. People who walk away feeling appreciated are that much more likely to come back for a follow-up appointment.
Offer a consultation
Nail salons don’t just have to be about services, they can also educate clients. After taking a new arrival’s personal information, take some time to evaluate the condition of their hands and discuss any treatments they’ve tried previously. If something hasn’t been working, offer possible reasons why and suggest an alternative solution.
Consultations start out as educational, but they also provide an opportunity to review your service menu, especially when there’s a specific beauty package that covers all of the client’s stated goals. Most importantly, these conversations build trust that encourages a second appointment.
Emphasize quality over quantity
A heated towel is nice, but it can be better. Heated mitts and boots, hot stone treatments, or heating pads take the effect of a warm towel and elevate it into something more special and luxurious. Go over your services and think of ways you can make them more memorable for clients — some massage training and high-quality oils can make even a straightforward appointment stand out.
Leveraging tech solutions
Don’t overlook the role of tech in reaching your retention goals. Online booking makes it a breeze to book an appointment with a favorite nail tech, which helps foster a deeper relationship and encourages repeat appointments. Make those repeat visits truly special by leveraging client profiles with details on everything from nail preferences (rounded vs square, or fav colors and ones that just aren’t it) to the names of pets or kids.
And modern marketing solutions can do the heavy lifting of maintaining communication channels with clients outside the salon so you can focus on those currently in the building. Here’s a sampling of how a salon management platform like Boulevard can help you keep in touch:
Instantly deliver newsletters, email announcements, birthday messages, and promotions to the clients who would appreciate them most.
Rescue lost clients by reminding them of your value, tapping into their positive experience, or any beneficial products they might enjoy.