By Liz Kline
Face-to-face communication has inevitably declined due to the advancement of new devices and ease of connectivity. In our world as we know it today, we can do just about anything online through messaging and email. We don’t even need to pick up the phone to talk to anyone. Our clients can book an appointment from their phone and make a payment through an app; estheticians and spas can send out text alerts to remind clients of their appointments. You get the idea. This has, in turn, led to social awkwardness. The ease of connecting with someone without even speaking has surpassed what we could have ever imagined. We have adapted to a world of exchanging information via text messages, emails, and social media and the art of in-person communication has come to a screeching halt. No matter how you want to look at it, communication is vital to our success as skin care professionals. It is used to consult, determine client outcomes, and build rapport to form loyal clients. Their appointments are their time to relax, get away from work emails, and escape the busy shuffle of life—but it is still a paramount time for successful conversation as an esthetician. Here are ways we can increase our conversation skills.
A fellow esty and lash tech recently asked me for advice. She was telling me about her job at a lash studio where she took a client for a full lash set. The service took about 2 hours and very few words were exchanged. The lash tech assumed the client didn’t want to talk because nothing was said other than the initial consultation to discuss lash volume and the lash look. A week later, the client called back and talked to the manager about how the esthetician came off as rude and didn’t care about her because she didn’t say anything, didn’t ask if she liked the result, and didn’t ask if she was doing OK throughout the service. The lash tech explained to me that she felt very hurt by this and there was no intention of making this client feel the way she did. I could tell she was crushed by this. Who wants to hear they came off a certain way when that was not the intent at all? I asked the esthetician if the client seemed unhappy at the end of the service. But she said, “Her eyes popped! It was one of the best lash applications I’ve ever done! I was so concentrated on what I was doing, I didn’t realize I came off as rude.”
This is an example of where we as artists get caught up in our work. But remember what I mentioned above: Communication can be vital to our success. As our conversation progressed, I explained that even the littlest of small talk can do wonders for us in the treatment room and build rapport. I explained that some clients may not know how to open up and start a conversation. There are also some clients who walk into a spa and are intimidated to be there. It is our job as professionals to take that initiative to start the conversation. We should make them feel comfortable and get them talking. They sometimes won’t want to talk, and you can usually tell which ones want to keep to themselves. For others, just start asking some questions and see where the conversation leads you. You might see the lightbulb go off. The esthetician I was speaking with told me she never realized how communication can mean so much to a client. Even a simple “How is your day going?” can mean a world of difference to those who need an ear to listen.
Toward the end of our conversation, I told the esthetician to ask herself these questions:
- Do you know what is happening in the world?
- Has any crazy weather swept over a part of the country?
- What’s the latest gossip with Hollywood movie stars?
- Which football team is crushing it?
- What’s the local news in the town you work in?
These are all open-ended topics that can be brought up in conversation and won’t lead to a dead-end “yes” or “no” answer. Sometimes, we need to engage with our clients to make them feel comfortable and get them to open up a little so we can build a relationship with them. The best part: You may just get a loyal client out of it—or better yet, a friend.
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