Turning the Experience Around … My Adventure in the Nail Salon

Last night I got my nails done. While, admittedly, they might be a little over the top (sparkling purple), I’m rather pleased with them. So much so, in fact, that I can’t help but blog about my experience today. Here’s how the story goes:

I’m typing away yesterday and one of my acrylic nails pops off. I look down, frustrated (I don’t have time for this nonsense!), and I continue typing. Not long after, another pops off. Are you kidding me? Now I’m really annoyed. One missing acrylic nail I can hide, but two missing nails – that is a bit more challenging. Promptly, I call my nail girl, Jenny, and I ask if she can squeeze me in right after work. I know it is unlikely she is free, but I remind her that it has only been a week. I normally don’t go in for a fill before two – even three – weeks. Something, I remark, must be wrong. Maybe they are too thin?

Sweet as apple pie, Jenny offers to fit me in right away. I am, of course, pleased that she has fit me in, but – in truth – I’m annoyed to even be there. I have a million other things to be doing; my nails are not among them. By the time I get there, yet another nail has broken and I probably don’t look too happy. But, true to form, Jenny smiles widely and escorts me to the chair. She apologizes, chit-chats, teases me for looking so professional (I normally show up in jeans and flip-flops on Sunday afternoons – not right after work) and proceeds to give me the wildest, most over-the-top-playful set of acrylic nails I’ve ever had. In fairness, I probably would not have ever chosen what Jenny did for me. I’m normally a French-tip-pale-pink kinda gal. But, her enthusiasm to give me an amazing set of nails after my bad experience was contagious.

So, yes, my nails are a little wilder than usual. They are a brilliant array of cascading purple sparkles. When they catch the light, they glitter every imaginable shade of purple from the palest lavender to the deepest violet. I’ve had more comments on them than I’ve had on my nails in years. And, yes, while they may be a little more playful than I’d have chosen on my own, Jenny did the right thing. Here is my reasoning. Jenny took what was, at the start, a complete and utter frustration and turned it into an experience that I can’t stop talking about. She successfully made a negative into a positive so that I now can’t help but focus on the fabulous artistry painted across my fingertips rather than the fact that the old set broke off early.

That is the point I set out to make in today’s blog. I know you aren’t all doing nails, nor would I recommend – even if you were – that you go glitter-purple on frustrated clients. In fairness, Jenny has known me for years and has a strong enough relationship with me to know that I will let her experiment. But Jenny is a perfect example of how we, as professionals, can turn an experience around. We set the tone for every client’s experience by going above and beyond.

Every client who finds him or herself on your massage table is one who might, given the quality of the experience, rave about it. After all, one incredible hour having my nails done had enough impact on me to result in an entire blog. What might an incredible hour on your massage table result in? At the absolute least, it will result in word-of-mouth referrals. And that, my friends, is something none of us would turn down.

So, the next time you have an upset, frustrated, oreven ambivalent client, make that extra effort. Try that fun new technique and go the extra mile for them. I think you will be amazed at the results.