There is no denying that over the last two months our industry has been hit hard by the effects of COVID-19. With businesses forced to close due to the immense strength of the virus running through our communities, many small businesses have been feeling the effects of the loss of income and increased financial burdens.
As we move towards re-opening in the coming weeks, Zensa acknowledges the excitement as well as the fears surrounding keeping yourself and your clients safe and healthy during their appointments.
To help you navigate through uncharted waters, we’ve partnered with some of the industry’s brightest minds to give the best advice on how to properly and confidently re-open your business post COVID-19.
Our 1000 Ways Forward Campaign encouraged each of you to share with us and your clients your ideas for how you will return to business for the chance to win a Peloton Bike valued at $3000.
Here are some of the top ideas we discussed:
As we continue to flatten the curve, we are feeling optimistic about soon returning to our passions. Plan your communication around when personal care services in your area will begin to re-open. This will ensure your clients and staff feel confident returning to your business. Introducing an effective reopening plan will set a professional tone for your business. It will also help address questions and quell any potential worries from clients or staff.
Here are 3 key considerations to communicate your restart:
Show staff and clients that you are organized and thinking ahead. Demonstrate your leadership by reaching out to them before they reach out to you.
Determine your key messaging for both your staff and your clients. Stay clear and to the point, succinct statements will deliver strong impacts.
Your clients and staff may feel apprehensive and anxious. Empathize with them and alleviate any concerns through communication. Trust the process and be confident that bookings will happen naturally.
Advice from the industry's brightest minds: Jonathan and Dimitri (@PerfectFrame.mb) of Perfect Frame Microblading in Los Angeles believe that having multiple points of communication is key to delivering a clear message to your clients.
“You want to ensure you’re delivering a clear message, consistently, through all social resources:
PUBLIC communication ie: social media; a wide spread message that shows your entire audience that you're taking action.
DIRECT communication ie: email announcements; an in depth opportunity to show clients the measures you'll be taking to ensure they feel comfortable and in the loop.
PERSONALIZED communication ie: text message/phone call; a final opportunity to make sure your clients are ready and prepared to follow protocol before coming in.”
Kaiju (@Kaiju.ink) of Chronic Ink in Vancouver believes social media is the best way to connect with clients.
“I believe utilizing social media is one of the best ways to stay connected with your clients.
By using our social media and mailing list, we notify our clients whenever we get an update in regards to reopening of our studio.
By using Instagram's Q&A features, we can invite our clients to ask us any questions related to our opening.
I know our clients and staff are just as excited as we are to have our services available again and that's why keeping in touch with them is very important.”
It is important to create a consistently safe experience for each client or employee, no matter where they are on the scale of comfort. Consistency and attention to detail are key.
Consider these 4 pertinent items when preparing to re-opening:
Consider which measures you need to take in order to create a safe haven, while maintaining the experience for all clients. Detail the client journey, starting from your window signage to the final steps of paying and leaving.
Artists and industry professionals have been using personal protective equipment (PPE) for years. Show clients you are an expert by providing them with their own PPE and educate them on how to properly use it. Incorporate new forms of PPE into the client experience: add plexiglass between stations and at your front counter.
Stock up early to avoid facing potential situations of no supply. Consider purchasing extra supplies needed for the next 60 days.
Introduce a strict cleaning protocol and communicate this effectively to all staff. Enforce a clear set of repercussions for those who do not follow protocol. Clients will appreciate seeing and smelling an actively sanitized studio and are more likely to become returning customers if they feel safe in your studio.
Advice from the industry's brightest minds:
Rachel Avery (@Raychillartistry) of RayChill Artistry in Toronto believes that providing your staff and clients with PPE is the best way to make them feel comfortable.
“Have all protective equipment available for clients. Allow them to arrive at their appointments knowing they will be protected no matter what.
I will be gifting each client a personalized face mask upon arrival as well as supplying gloves and plastic bags for personal belongings. This way my clients can feel 100% comfortable and shielded when they enter my studio.”
Nikki Ouimette (@Nikki_outmette) of Crywolf Tattoo in Toronto believes scaling back appointments will help put herself and her clients at ease.
“To ensure everyone’s safety, I will be taking one client per day. This will allow for a complete top to bottom clean before and after each appointment. It will also ensure that every client enjoys a positive and creative experience.”
Nora and Kahli (@Fiction.LA) of Fiction Cosmetic Tattooing in Los Angeles say transforming your waiting area into a ‘Sanitation Station” while maintaining the aesthetic of your studio will help create a great client experience.
“Easy access to PPE is crucial for artist and client safety, but we still want clients to feel comfortable and at home with the Fiction aesthetic they’ve come to know and love. Our waiting area will be revamped into a one stop pickup for PPE and sanitation, with the waiting area decor amped up to maintain our experience.”
Anticipate and plan for clients who may be more apprehensive in how they return for services. Incorporate new measures that nurture relationships with those who may need a little extra care from home.
Consider these two options to help instil trust and comfort in your clients:
Offering a free online consultation to clients will make them feel more comfortable with you. If your client feels at ease during the consultation they will begin to trust the safety of your studio. Clients will choose the first businesses to make them feel comfortable.
Show clients that you are confident in your creative abilities by creating at-home, short term remedies that help your clients get by until they feel comfortable booking with you. Funnel sales through products by keeping them stocked and easily available for purchase to your clients.
Advice from the industry's brightest minds:
Shaughnessy (@shaughnessy) from Studio Sashiko in Langley, Canada says elevating your virtual consults will help clients decide if your services are right for them.
“Aside from implementing the strictest protocols for necessary protective equipment, I have also used my artistry in a fun, visual way to help clients who are still unsure if cosmetic tattooing is for them.
I created 2 different Instagram filters so these clients can see who they might look with fluffy brows or freckles. They can now “try on” the services that I offer before they book their appointment. This is a great tool to use for virtual consultations and to reduce the nerves of any fearful clients. You can check them out and use them on your clients by going to @studiosashiko’s instagram page!”
Amanda Massey from Raw Canvas Skin Bar (@rawcanvasskinbar) in Fort Langley, Canada says using virtual consultations will put more apprehensive clients at ease before coming to the studio.
“Those who may need a little more time before visiting the studio have the option of booking a virtual consultation or follow up appointment with us. We are also continuing to offer free shipping on all orders from our online store.
In-studio, we are addressing safety and sanitation by meeting local health regulations, staggering appointments and providing single use masks and gloves.”
Oftentimes the most difficult moments are what show us what we are truly capable of. The effects of COVID-19 closed the doors of tattoo shops, permanent make-up studios and aesthetician salons around the world and forced many of us into the unknown. Instead of waiting out the storm, we teamed up with some of North America’s most talented artists to bring our clients and followers #1000WaysForward.
As we begin to open our doors, you have the opportunity to show your clients how prepared you are for their return. Remember to manage your client communication, maintain a safe work environment and reassure nervous clients with your education and professionalism.