Your Clients Aren't Lucky To Have You
Transcript of The Nail Hub Podcast Episode 84:
Welcome to the Nail Hub Podcast, powered by NAILS Magazine, where you’ll find all the business advice, motivation, and nail industry information you need to be a successful nail professional. I’m Elizabeth Morris, and thank you for joining me today.
I wanted to chat about a tutorial I just posted on YouTube last week. I posted a tutorial on how to make pre-made Swarovski crystal clusters, and I did this as kind of a time-saver. The reason why I got the idea for the topic, and why I’m talking about it today on my podcast (which I’ll get into in just a second) is because I understand firsthand how difficult it can be when you’ve got limited time left with your client, and usually clients decide to get something like Swarovski crystals at the end of their appointment. You spend the whole appointment trying to convince them, and they say “No, no, no,” and then at the end they’re like “Oh, yeah, you know what? I think I will do that.” And at the end, you have no time, your next client is probably there already or is going to be within the next five minutes, and you’ve got five to ten minutes to wrap up this appointment and get on with your next appointment.
It’s one of those things where it’s frustrating because you don’t have the time, but you want to make the money, and a lot of the time when we do these types of things and we do squeeze it in, and we say “Yes, okay, fine, I’ll do the nail art,” we end up ticking off the next client because we go over our appointment time, and we also don’t end up making the money we thought we were going to make from this nail art add-on, because it ends up taking us a really long time—much longer than we anticipated. I would argue that especially the 3D style of Swarovski crystals, when you do that kind of nail art, especially if you’re not used to it or you’re not prepared to do it, and you’re doing it on the fly, it tends to go very south on you. You’re fumbling around, you’re dropping the crystals, the gel is going wrong or the glue you’re using isn’t working, or whatever the case may be, so it’s always those minutes in the last bit of our appointments that we’re trying to squeeze in all of this money-making nail art, and half the time it’s just more frustration than it is worth.
So, I had posted this tutorial on YouTube, if you want to check it out you can head over to the Nail Hub YouTube channel, check out my tutorial on how to pre-make Swarovski crystals. But what was interesting about this whole experience of me posting this was after I posted the tutorial, people started to comment on it of course, and I posted all over Facebook and different groups and stuff. And so, one of the things it came up with was, some nail techs, and also some people that are clients, started talking about what happens when their nail tech does run over, or they run over, and so it was really interesting. So anyway, this woman who is a cosmetologist but she goes and gets her nails done, she posted on there. She goes, “You know, I have left nail techs for this reason. I have left nail techs because they go over their appointment times because they’re trying to squeeze in all of this stuff, and they eat into my time, and I just have to go somewhere else. I’ve got my day on schedule and if I can’t get in on my scheduled appointment time, even if they’re the best nail tech in the world, I’m going to have to find someone else because I need to be able to rely on the fact that my scheduled time is my scheduled time, and I’m able to get in and out of there on time.
What was interesting about this is that there was a nail tech on this chat that actually commented that she was really frustrated about this woman having left nail techs in the past because of the fact that the nail tech went over time, and weren’t able to start the appointment on time or ate into the appointment time with someone else, whatever the case might be. And I have to talk about this topic in general because one of the biggest issues I have with my fellow nail technicians, and hopefully, if you have this problem, you’re self-aware enough to realize that you’re doing it and to make adjustments, or maybe you know someone who’s like this and you could be their light to show them, “Hey, you’re doing this and this isn’t professional,” but clients have every right to leave you as their nail technician for whatever reason they deem is right. One of the things I see that is very wrong with the attitude that nail technicians have is, and again, I might be preaching to the choir right now, and if you’re on board with me, then fantastic. But if you do this, I’m going to highly recommend that you change your attitude because having this attitude that clients are somehow lucky to have you do their nails is the wrong attitude to have. Your client is not lucky to have you do their nails. Your client is paying you to do their nails. There’s no luck involved whatsoever. It is a business transaction, and if you cannot fulfill that business transaction, per the obligations or the expectations that are involved, then the person is going to go elsewhere. No different than any other type of business transaction. If you par for something and you don’t get what you want at the store, you might not shop there again, and that’s just the way things go. I mean, if you have a bad experience at a restaurant and the food isn’t what you thought it was going to be, or the service was really bad, or whatever; might be the nicest server helping you at your table on the planet, but if the food isn’t great, or the service is lackluster, or water gets spilled on you or whatever the case might be, you have every right to refuse to go to that business again. And that restaurant shouldn’t be ticked off at you because you left and went to a different restaurant down the street. It’s their fault for not giving you the experience and the service and the product that was promised to you or that met your expectation levels.
Now, there are things we can do as nail technicians to manage expectations and to communicate to our clients so that we alleviate a lot of these preconceived notions or misunderstandings. But at the end of the day, every person that comes through your door to get their nails done has every right to choose to have you as their nail tech or to choose not to have you as their nail tech. And you definitely need to lose the chip on your shoulder about how lucky your clients are to have you, or how they should somehow revere you as their nail technician or how dare they leave you because you went over on an appointment. And the reason why I bring this up is because I often see nail technicians using statements like, “If you only knew what it takes to do what we do,” right? The client’s responsibility is not to know what we do or how we do it. When you go to a clothing store, do you care how they get the clothes there? Do you care why they don’t have your size in stock? Do you care how they operate their business? No. You only want that shirt off the mannequin for X dollars per the tag. You don’t care how they operate their business. And it’s not your responsibility as the customer to care. It’s your responsibility as a customer to get what you’re wanting to pay for, and for the store to be able to provide it. And nail technicians are no different: we are businesses. And I really encourage you guys to just get rid of these chips on your shoulder.
One of the other things I want to talk about that kind of goes along with this is, for example, this person said, “If you only knew what we do and try and stay on beat for every appointment.” Okay, fine, I mean yes, what we do is difficult, no one’s saying it’s not, and it is difficult to operate a smooth, well-run business. But, at the end of the day, it’s not the client’s responsibility to deal with that. It’s not their problem that you ran late, and you need to realize that if you are running late, you need to change the way you operate your business so that you stop running late. So if you realize, hey, I always run ten minutes over my appointment times and I’m always running ten minutes behind, add ten minutes to your appointment time for every single client so you don’t run over any more. You should have plenty of time to check out the current client that’s in your chair, have time for things to go wrong, and also greet and say goodbye to every single client that comes in your door. I mean, if you’re just literally sitting in your nail technician chair, not getting up to greet anyone, and you’re just kind of waving people in and out, and you’re saying, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, come over, come over!” and you haven’t even cleaned your table off, you haven’t reset, you haven’t adjusted your attitude to the client that’s coming in versus the client that’s going out… I mean, it’s not like you have to change your personality, but there are some adjustments we need to make for every single client that visits us. Maybe your client that was just in your chair is your kind of more punk-rocky, wild child type of client, well you’re not going to have that mentality when you’re doing your next client who’s very conservative. You need to adjust yourself accordingly to meet the expectations of every single client, and you can’t do that if you’re rushing between appointments.
If you’re just sitting there, waving people in and out, or if you don’t even have time to greet them or you don’t even have time to get up and hug them or say goodbye, or walk them to the door, you’re making a huge mistake. And so I recommend that you back up for a second, adjust so that you’re able to give each client an amazing experience, you’re not rushing in between, and if you’re really going over time because your skills aren’t up to par or whatever it is, maybe you’re checking text messages during the appointment, maybe you’re stopping working and you’re looking up too much or you’re talking too much or you’re getting distracted by things, you need to remember that the client is paying for you to do their nails within a certain amount of time. And if you can’t commit to that, and the appointment that you said was going to take an hour takes an hour and a half, that eats into not only your day with other people, but also eats into your client’s day for the other errands and things that they need to do. They might need to get home to cook dinner for their family, they might need to get back to work, they might need to get to yoga because it’s the only time they’re able to exercise and their class starts at five pm. So if you’re running over, you’re not only hurting yourself and your business, you’re hurting your client and you’re not respecting their time. And I feel like a lot of nail techs don’t think about that. They only think about, “well, you’re in my chair and I’m doing your nails so you should be happy that I’m doing them.” Forget that! The person is paying you. They’re paying you for a specific service given during a certain amount of time, and you need to abide by that. And you need to give every single client world-class service, and if you’re not, then don’t be surprised if people start to leave you because they’re going to find it somewhere else. There is a lot of competition out there, and the way you keep your clients is you are always on point, you are always on time, you’re consistent, you give world-class customer service and experiences in your salon. Yes, mistakes happen, things go wrong, nails don’t cure, stuff pops off, it happens to everyone. But, it’s how you handle those situations that makes the difference between an immature, chip-on-their-shoulder nail tech and a true professional.
I wanted to also, like I said, talk about something that is related to this which is I also see a lot of nail techs posting memes about clients showing up with Starbucks in their hand, and they’re like, “Where’s my Starbucks? How dare my clients show up to my salon with coffee in their hand without getting me any?” Especially if their client is like five minutes late to their appointment, and they show up with coffee in their hand, and the nail techs are going off about how dare my client show up five minutes late and they had time to get coffee? They go off, and I’m like, “Guys, remember, the client is the customer!” They aren’t your servant, they aren’t your bitch, they don’t have to go get you coffee! I mean, how would you feel if you walked into any business, okay, I want you to put yourself in their shoes. You walk into any business—how about the dentist’s office—you walk into the dentist, you’ve got coffee in your hand, well… your dentist probably would get mad at you because you’re not supposed to be drinking coffee before you get your teeth cleaned. Okay, let’s back up. Let’s switch it to your… maybe your regular doctor, maybe your general practitioner doctor, okay? So you show up for your annual checkup, you’ve got coffee in your hand because it’s morning or afternoon and you need a pick-me-up, and first thing, your doctor turns to you and goes, “Oh, what, you’re five minutes late and you didn’t have time to get me coffee?” I mean, how would you feel? I mean, you’d be like, “Are you kidding me? What kind of doctor are you? You’re so unprofessional, calling me out, the client, the customer who pays for these services, and you’re calling me out because I want to drink coffee? Give me a freakin’ break.”
So, you guys need to seriously think about how you are coming across to your customers. Because that line between customer and that whole chip-on-your-shoulder entitlement issue that might be eating away at you—you really need to be self-aware, you really need to understand that that could be something that costs you that client. And I don’t know about you, but we are in the business of having clients. And there’s only so many that you can afford to lose during a given timeframe, so I think that this is a huge problem. I see this attitude thing, and it drives me nuts when I see nail techs posting stuff like this. Because I’m thinking, “How dare you say that? I mean, if I was your client, I would be so ticked, people posting stuff like that, talking about ‘how dare I bring coffee’ or ‘how dare I do this, that, or the other thing.’ I mean, you have every right as a nail technician to fire bad clients, and we all know what bad clients are. Bad clients are the clients that show up 20, 30 minutes late, they don’t care, they don’t tip, they’re rude, they’re dismissive, they’re disrespectful, they treat you like garbage. Okay, yes. There are those bad clients. But someone who wants to leave you as their nail technician because you constantly run over appointment times and eat into their day? They have every right to do that, and they are not a bad client for wanting to. That is something that I think is just the cost of doing business, and if you can’t provide the service that they are looking for, then they’re going to go somewhere else and get it from somebody.
So that’s something you seriously need to consider: how you are operating your business. And I think that is a big issue that I see in this industry, the attitude issue with people just thinking like, “I’m God’s gift to the world and my clients should think so as well.” It’s just not right to do that, and if you think you’re going to get away with paying clients and treating them like that and still being able to keep everybody, you might have gotten lucky up until this point, but I’ll tell you for a fact what you’re doing is not professional, and it doesn’t bode well for how we represent ourselves to the world. I mean, nail technicians, if you want to be seen as professional, as something to be taken seriously like we all talk about, we all talk about, “how come we’re not taken as seriously as hair or makeup?” When fashion shows happen, nails are third class citizens, and when trade shows happen, the nail section is small. And clients don’t see nail technicians the same way they see hair stylists. We sometimes do get viewed as the lowest on the totem pole. But doing these kinds of things, these unprofessional things, is part of why we’re seen that way. I know some of you are thinking, “There’s no way, it’s not that big of a deal, my clients understand me, I’m friends with my clients.” But, like I’ve said once and I’ll say again, friends do not pay friends for services. So, your clients are not your friends. I know you may think they are, and I know it may feel that way, but your clients are definitely not your friends. And at the end of the day, they will make their final decision on whether or not they go to you not because they’re friends with you, but whether or not you can actually provide the service that they’re asking for, and whether or not you do it consistently, professionally, and whether or not you provide a service that they can’t get anywhere else.
So I really encourage you guys to think about that. It’s funny that this YouTube tutorial turned into something that became a podcast episode for me. I did not intend to talk about this, but after I posted it, I was like, “Wow, I cannot believe people are getting pissed off at this lady for saying, “Hey, I’ve left nail techs before because they couldn’t do the services on time. They couldn’t abide by the schedule that eats into my day. I gotta go somewhere else.” And I could not believe that people were actually getting irritated with her about that, for leaving their nail tech for something of that nature. And I just really think that you guys need to get in check. You guys really need a reality check with that, and remember what you’re doing. And it’s not that we’re subservient, and it’s not that we’re supposed to bend over backwards for everybody, it’s just that you need to understand that you definitely are an amazing artist, and you are definitely an amazing nail tech, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is going to put up with every single thing that you do, and clients shouldn’t have to. They can go wherever they want. They can go wherever someone is willing to take their money, and wherever they make that purchasing decision to go, they have every right to make that choice, just like you have every right to choose where you get your coffee, your gas, your clothes, your groceries… You have every right to choose where you spend your money. And if someone doesn’t provide you the most excellent service, or the bang for your buck, or if you don’t feel like you like the place that you’ve been to and you want to go somewhere else, you as a customer, just like your clients, have every right to make that choice. You should not be ticked off at them, because how would you feel if your grocery store posted memes about, “How dare our customers go to Ralphs when we’re Vons?” When you start thinking about it in terms of other businesses, and you start putting yourself in the shoes of your clientele, you will be able to understand where they’re coming from, you will be able to make smarter business decisions, and you need to stop looking only within nail tech memes for your motivation. You need to really start thinking like a business owner, stop getting into the whole emotional drama, entitlement, chip-on-your-shoulder attitude. You’ve really got to get your head on straight and make sure that you are providing your clients with that amazing, professional experience because they have every right to choose to go to someone else.
So that’s food for thought for the day, hope everything is going well. As always, I love seeing your feedback, so hit me up on social media, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or, I am going to be uploading this podcast on YouTube as an audiofile, so if you want to listen on YouTube or if you want to head over to YouTube and comment below this video up there, that would be great. I would love to hear your feedback on this because this is one of those more… not necessarily controversial topics, but it definitely is something that I think a lot of us see, a lot of us take for granted, and you might be doing this without even realizing it, and I think these kinds of reality checks are really important. If you have feedback for me on this topic I would love to hear it, so hit me up below the YouTube video. I want to give a big shout-out again to my newest partnership, NAILS Magazine. As I had mentioned in my last episode, NAILS Magazine is now partnered with me on my podcast, so The Nail Hub podcast is now powered by NAILS Magazine. I’m so excited about it, so you can expect amazing things to come from us and our collaboration, and I will continue to give you amazing, unbiased information as we go forward. Hit me up on social media, and I will be in touch soon with another episode. Bye guys!
This is Elizabeth Morris, signing off from The Nail Hub. This podcast is powered by NAILS Magazine, the professional nail industry’s leading publication. Have a suggestion, question, or concern? Send me an email at email@example.com. And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, @thenailhub, and check out The Nail Hub YouTube channel for more episodes and tutorials. Want customized business consulting, access to classes, amazing products, and more? Visit TheNailHub.com and check out all the wonderful things we provide. Our goal is to help you reach your ultimate potential. Thanks for listening, and I’ll catch you in the next episode.