By Meredith Simmons
Personal interaction is critical to your business—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 pandemic. We’ve gathered up a few tips on what you may want to consider over the next few days and weeks.
1. 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.
2. Retail to the rescue
If your business sells retail products, keep your online store open! 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 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.
3. Make the most of what you’ve got
Just because your business needs to close, doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Now’s a good time to learn more about what your software can do and build a post-virus launch plan. Need an idea? We’ve seen salons set up review campaigns to get testimonials to use when they can open again. (Pro tip: use Marketing Suite to get the ball rolling.)
4. Reduce services and availability
If your business remains open, you may need to reconsider how or where you’re touching your customers. (Be sure to check with your local government—some states are even restricting which services can be offered right now.) If no limitations are in place, you may still want to reduce services that require contact.
If your business is hyper-specialized or offers a limited amount of services to start with, consider reducing availability to only have one or two customers at your business at a time and adding more time between appointments to allow for in-depth cleaning (and more physical space between clients).
5. Reconsider cancellation fees
A cancellation fee is a great practice during typical business operations, but it may encourage clients who aren’t feeling 100% 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 your customers.
7. Keep it clean
You may already be cleaning your business 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 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 an email through the 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, regardless of when clients reach out.
9. Go virtual
It may seem strange to offer services online but think critically about what your clientele needs while they can’t see you. 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 they had an opportunity to talk to their customers about self-care and began setting up video consultations with their regular clients.
10. Stay connected
Stay in touch with your customers. Keep posting on social media, build out a newsletter, 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 strategies and offering advice in the online Mindbody One community. Join the conversation and see what’s working for other businesses.
View original article here.