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Ask the experts

Our beauty experts answer your questions about every aspect of running a salon or spa business

How can I incorporate collagen into my existing treatments?

First things first, why is collagen such big news? Well, it’s one of the most important proteins in our body and plays a crucial role in keeping skin looking youthful, firm and, above all, healthy. We naturally produce collagen – it is what gives our skin its structure and firmness. As we age, the levels we produce drop — so much so that as we reach our 50s it’s estimated that we have already lost up to a third. This causes cell structures to weaken and skin to lose that youthful elasticity.

Luckily, there are ways to help your clients discover their glow by introducing collagen into your facial treatments in order to:

Reduce wrinkles and fine lines – collagen provides the necessary structure and support to the skin and targets those tell-tale signs of ageing.

Improve hydration – collagen plays a vital role in retaining moisture levels to keep skin plump and hydrated. This can help to reduce dryness, flakiness and dullness.

Promote elasticity – collagen is responsible for the skin’s elasticity, which allows it to stretch and bounce back.

How to work collagen into your treatments:

Use collagen-based skincare products – incorporate products that contain collagen, such as serums, creams and mists, into your facials. Use with skincare containing vitamin C to boost collagen synthesis.

Consider stocking Heaven’s Collagen Drops – these contain a concentrated dose of marine collagen. They can be applied directly to skin or blended with other products to supercharge them.

Use facial massage techniques – Ihave created a range of techniques to use during my facials that stimulate collagen production in the skin. A simple one is to gently massage your client’s face using circular motions, focusing on areas where you notice signs of ageing.

Learn more about collagen – consider a training course that includes in-depth education on the different types of collagen and which ingredients it works alongside. At the new Heaven Training Academy we can tailor-make training programmes. For example, you can learn how to perform my Collagen Facial, created to leave skin looking refreshed, more youthful and radiant.

Deborah Mitchell is the founder of Heaven, which manufactures skincare, body care, supplements and scent products.

What are the best ways to deal with difficult customers and customer complaints?

Having owned a number of nail salons, helped launch many more as a consultant, and eventually launching my own tools brand, Tribe, it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about how to handle a tricky customer.

Maintain a calm and empathetic demeanour

When confronted with a difficult customer, it’s essential to remain calm and composed. Remember that their frustration may stem from a legitimate concern or misunderstanding. Show empathy by actively listening to their grievances and acknowledging their feelings. By adopting a respectful and empathetic approach, you can de-escalate tense situations and establish a foundation for effective communication.

Practise active listening

Listening attentively is a powerful tool for diffusing difficult customer interactions. Allow the customer to express their concerns fully without interrupting. Repeat or paraphrase their concerns to demonstrate your understanding and ensure that you have correctly captured their point of view. This approach helps customers feel heard and valued, paving the way for a productive resolution.

Avoid taking it personally

When faced with a difficult customer, it’s important not to internalise their frustration or criticism. Remind yourself that their dissatisfaction is directed at the situation, not you personally. By maintaining a professional perspective, you can better focus on finding a solution rather than being emotionally affected by their negativity.

Offer solutions, not arguments

Rather than engaging in arguments or trying to prove who is right, shift the focus towards finding a solution. Collaborate with the customer to identify their needs and expectations, and work towards addressing them. Offer alternatives or compromises that align with your business’s capabilities while aiming for a win-win situation. By demonstrating a genuine willingness to resolve the issue, you can foster customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Seek assistance when necessary

There may be instances where the complexity of a difficult customer’s request or their persistent dissatisfaction warrants the involvement of a manager or other team member. Don’t hesitate to seek assistance if you feel overwhelmed or if additional expertise is required to provide a satisfactory resolution. Coordinating with colleagues can help ensure a swift and efficient resolution to the customer’s concerns.

Learn from each interaction

Difficult customer interactions provide valuable learning opportunities. After resolving the issue, take a moment to reflect on the encounter. Identify any patterns or recurring issues that can be addressed proactively. Share insights and feedback with your team to enhance overall customer service strategies. Continuous improvement is key to building a resilient and customer-centric business.

Lola Ricketts is a nail tech and the founder of the Tribe professional beauty tools brand.

How do I build and protect a strong brand reputation online?

I recently stumbled across a brilliant quote by beauty industry pioneer Elizabeth Arden: “Repetition makes reputation, and reputation makes customers.”

So, there we have it – the answer to the question, “Why should I invest in building and maintaining my business reputation?” Because the consistent actions you take to build and maintain your reputation are critical to a healthy bottom line and robust customer base.

PR is intrinsically linked with reputation management – the central tenet of PR is to control and influence third-party perceptions – to positively impact what others have to say about you, not necessarily what you just say about yourself.

In the beauty industry, taking a proactive approach to your reputation has never been more critical – especially in today’s environment of instantaneous (and permanent) commentary and feedback online.

In our world of instant internet and social media access, brands are even more connected to their customers. Customers now expect a level of genuine engagement and interaction with businesses. Many of these are positive interactions but, of course, there can also be an element of managing negativity online – dealing promptly and effectively with issues and managing expectations so that any difficulties are nipped in the bud. It is vital to ensure that you have time and resources dedicated to managing your online brand reputation or entrusting this task to a dedicated supplier.

How to handle negativity online

Negative online comments and reviews can present tough challenges for your business. Knowing how and when to respond is critical, as you may cause more damage with a heavy-handed or defensive approach. Similarly, you should know your rights when it comes to defending your business from defamation and false claims.

Rule number one is never, ever ignore the problem; it won’t go away, and others are watching to see how you handle the issue.

Here are some effective tips to help you manage negativity online:

• Always take the high road. No matter the injustice or the inaccuracies, don’t get drawn into a public spat, especially on social media where it’s there for all to see. Acknowledge the comment or issue on the same platform on which it was made and offer to get in touch directly to discuss and resolve the matter.

• Don’t fight fire with fire. Leave the response video rants to the celebrities. Don’t respond in kind, no matter how tempting it may be. Make sure you’ve had time to calm down and collect yourself before issuing any kind of response. Gather the facts and bear in mind that the internet is forever, there’s no such thing as off the record and thanks to screenshots even seemingly private correspondence could be shared publicly, so whatever is said must be above board!

• Acknowledge and take action. The quickest way to diffuse the situation is to acknowledge it and push it straight to a resolution opportunity. You are not agreeing with what was said, you are merely acknowledging the dissatisfaction and publicly stating your desire to find a resolution.

If step three fails and vitriol is still flying, issue a statement on your channels and website to state the facts of the situation, what you have done to try to resolve it and that you remain open to a professional resolution. Protecting your brand reputation from this kind of damage is a vital part of your business management. If in doubt, engage the services of a PR professional who can support you with issues management.

Julia Kendrick is a business strategy and communications expert with 20 years’ experience, and the founder of Kendrick PR – aB2B and B2C PR agency, working with aesthetic and beauty clients.

How can I grow my lash business and increase my profits?

With some lash courses barely covering the basics, it’s no wonder most lash techs get no business training, leaving them to start a lash business blind. Without good business training, some are charging £30 or less for a full set of extensions, meaning that by the time product cost, rent and other overheads are deducted, there is nothing left. Without profit, techs can’t reinvest in education and attending events.

It’s all very well to say things like “charge your worth”, but what does that mean to someone who has done a quick course and has no idea how to start a business? You might only know how to discount and run deals, and when your prices are already low and cost of overheads is high, it doesn’t leave much room for profit.

If you are someone who does deals all the time, clients will come to expect this. You will only attract clients who want cheap treatments, and when another tech can do it £5 cheaper, the client will be off, meaning you will always be chasing clients and never earning good money. You might see an empty diary and panic because you have bills to pay and it seems like doing deals is the only way to get clients, but unless this is really your preferred method then it will only be a quick fix at best.

You need to take some time out of your business and refocus, even if that’s just an hour or two every month. If you want to make more money, you are going to have to add value to your treatments – but what is value? Well, think about that client who you would love to treat in your salon; what would they value? Do you have an online booking system so they can book 24/7? What does your treatment space look like? Are your lash skills up to date? Can you create different looks or does every client come out looking the same?

Think about how you can invest in the client’s experience – what is their first impression? This will either entice a client to book or make them look elsewhere. A first impression is not when they walk into your lash space. If the person came across your page on Instagram, that is their first impression. Is your page up to date, does it represent your image and brand, does it have clear lash images, and does it clearly state your booking details?

Next, consider what your booking process is like. When clients message you, do you have auto-messages set up or do clients wait days for a reply? Is it clear what they need to do to book? If not, they will soon scroll to another lash tech.

Write down the entire process step by step, from first impression to treatment aftercare, and see where you can add value. Research client experience and journey, get inspiration from others and see what fits your brand. The key to growing your lash business is consistently prioritising the client’s experience.

Kristina Shepherd is a business owner with over 15 years’ experience in the industry. She owns the 27 Two 6 Beauty salon in Kent, as well as KSLA Professional – alash product line and academy.


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This article appears in July 2023

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July 2023
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