From the second your clients meet you, you need to provide them with an amazing experience. One of the reasons why you work in beauty services is (hopefully) because you enjoy connecting with people. Maintaining that connection throughout your client’s experience is essential.
Small talk may be pleasant for some customers and awkward for others. The following are tips about how to navigate small talk during beauty services, and ideas for conversation topics.
- Ask. This might seem like a no-brainer, but many beauty professionals don’t ask their clients right off the bat what their preference is for chitchat. The last thing you want to do is irritate them. After all, isn’t it annoying when an Uber driver tries to talk to you when you’re just not in the mood? You can ask it casually; for example, “Are you okay with me chatting a bit or would you prefer silence? If you do, that’s totally fine, I know it’s not personal.”
- Gauge their moods. Some clients might be too polite or reticent to tell you to ease up on the chitchat. If a client is offering monosyllabic answers and seems withdrawn, it’s probably a good idea to work in silence. If they are happy, energized, and chatty themselves, indulge them. After all, this service is supposed to be a fun or soothing escape for them. Of course, if you do choose to talk, only begin after you’ve established what they want for their service.
- Learn their names and try out the typical conversation starters. Learning a client’s name and repeating it a few times throughout the session will personalize the experience. Try out the usual “networking” questions-where they live or what they do for work. Comments about the weather are also harmless.
- Try not to directly ask questions about their personal lives. While it’s normal to ask about what they do, probing about friends, family, or romantic partners can make clients uncomfortable or even offend them. Don’t ask about their marital status or if they have kids unless they choose to bring up those subjects. Your client could be going through a breakup or a difficult family time. They could complain to your manager if they feel that you’re being intrusive.
- Make sure it’s a light conversation, not an interrogation. Only asking serial questions will make clients feel interrogated. It’s okay to add a couple of details about yourself too. For example, if the client says they’re from X, it’s fine to say, “Oh, really? My father’s from X. It’s a great town.” If you have kids, mentioning a couple of details about them is okay too and could further the conversation.
- Weekend and/or travel plans are usually safe topics. Ask them, and if they don’t have any, mention a couple of details about your own.
- Ask open-ended questions. Try not to make everything you ask a “yes/no” question, because obviously if they say no, the conversation stops. This can encourage them to talk more and feel more comfortable around you. It can also show your colleagues that the clients are doing most of the chatting, not you.
- Keep it professional by informing them what you’re doing throughout the service. Even though you want your clients to enjoy themselves, this isn’t your social hour. You’re there to do a job to the best of your ability, and it can be easy to become distracted by a nice conversation. Informing them about each step of the service (ex: “now we’ll do the foundation”) will keep you focused, and assure clients and colleagues of your focus also.
Your priority is ensuring that you deliver quality results in a pleasant and professional manner. Some clients may not like small talk, which is totally fine and can help you keep focused. For those who seem receptive, it can be a nice way to pass the time. Making light, appropriate small talk during services can help create a bond between your client and you to deliver a client experience that leaves them smiling when they walk out the door.