Your clients are the bread and butter of your business, and you want them to be able to get in touch with you when they need to. Those relationships are so essential to the success of your business, and the people you spend hours with at appointment after appointment, year after year (if you’re lucky) can start to feel like more than clients. This is one of the best parts of the beauty industry: over time you get to know people (they talk about their kids, their partners, their jobs) and it’s like you have a whole extra clan of friends!
The tricky part comes when you have to establish some boundaries between your life as a business owner and your personal life. Hair Flair grew out of our founder Melanie’s desire to have the best hair extensions herself, and after she learned where to get the best hair and how to install extensions, her friends began asking her to install some for them, too. Soon, Mel realized there was business potential: no one else in the London area seemed to be providing the same quality of extensions! Her first clients were her friends, and then their friends. Long before she had a website or a Facebook page or a 1-800 number, Melanie had a cell phone and potential clients texted her for an appointment.
Fast forward several years later, Mel’s cell phone has become the main business phone, and many clients still text her for appointments. During business hours her assistant Jenn uses it like a business phone, and then after hours it once again becomes her personal phone. This arrangement works for us for now, because we take steps to ensure boundaries are adhered to.
Pros and Cons of texting your clients
- Quick, easy communication
- Sure-fire way to contact your client if something comes up (i.e.: you’re running late)
- Fast way to answer simple questions (i.e.: whether you have extensions in a certain colour in stock)
- Receiving messages at all hours and on your day off
- Receiving lengthy messages requesting in-depth information
- Can lead to miscommunication or worse
How to keep it professional
We may never give up the option of texting to communicate with our clients, because in many cases it works for us. But, when it comes to keeping it professional, here are some things we keep in mind:
- If a text message for the business comes in after hours and we know it’s not an emergency (hair extensions seldom are), it’s okay to wait until business hours the next day to reply
- When a conversation with a client gets more complicated than booking an appointment or choosing a colour of extensions, we ask them to email us or call us
- We have the technology to set up an “out of office” reply on both our text and email communication channels, and we use them when necessary to maintain the boundaries between personal and professional (and we make sure we get back to those clients as soon as we are back in the office)
- Our website has an instant messaging option which clients can use to communicate with us quickly during business hours instead of texting us if necessary
- Original clients are welcome to text us, but going forward, we try to encourage new clients to communicate with us via email or another channel