Why Professional Etiquette Matters

Kristy Hines discusses the role etiquette plays within the beauty industry.

Etiquette is a code of behaviour that describes expectations for social behaviour according to a society, social class, or group. Etiquette is how you act and what you say. In the beauty industry, this is defined by the expectations of our clients, industry peers and the places we work.

As therapists we are expected to be professional and polite to our clients, colleagues and employers, while being the masters of our technical skills. On top of this, we need to perfect the art of making a personal connection with clients and colleagues, without overstepping boundaries of professional etiquette. This can be quite the challenge!

So what does it mean to be professional and polite? What defines correct etiquette within our work environments, with our colleagues and employers? How do you build rapport without crossing the line into friendship with your clients? As a new therapist entering the work force, what does it mean to be professional once you go into that treatment room alone?

As an industry, we are focused on making sure therapists have the technical skills to perform treatments. We have been glossing over what it means to be professional with guests, leaving it to be interpreted by each individual, using their own discretion, on what is appropriate conversation. This leaves society with mixed impressions of our industry.

Business owners need to set a code of etiquette of what they expect from their staff with their clientele and within their team. If you are just closing the door on a treatment room and hoping staff simply do their best, you are not endeavouring to protect the integrity of your business and you are not setting up your staff for success.

Every product company, business and individual will have slightly different idea of professional etiquette, but here is a basic guide across our industry;

The key to professional etiquette with clients:

  • Treat your client like a new client every visit.
  • Don’t talk about yourself. Keep it light and steer conversation back to the client.
  • Don’t becoming overly familiar with clients.
  • Stay focused on why your clients come to see you — results for their services and advice on their beauty and wellness routines.
  • Communicate clearly about what is included in the services they have booked, the results and expectations your client can have from their treatment and what future treatments are required to achieve their desired results or to maintain.
  • Keep questions to your client to relevant topics — health, wellness and beauty focused.

With colleagues:

  • Be supportive through communication and listening.
  • Listen to their challenges with their clients and their treatments. Give ideas on how to work through them.
  • Support by offering assistance where possible.
  • Share knowledge and learn from each other.
  • Address team issues directly with each other without attitude or anger and without discussing it with everyone else first.
  • Keep notes of advice, products and what you do within the service you provide. This not only reminds you when they visit next but also ensures the clients gets consistence advice and service with other team members.
  • Have a ‘can do’ flexible attitude.

With your place of employment:

  • Communicate with managers directly on leave requests and challenges.
  • If you have a work place challenge, before raising it with your employer try to think of some resolutions you can present to show proactivity in resolving the challenge.
  • Don’t complain about other team members unless you have tried to resolve it directly with them first.
  • Give a written resignation and hand it to your direct manager. Ask your manager to direct you as to how they want you to handle your resignation with your clients.

Etiquette faux pas:

  • Talking about yourself! Discussing your personal relationships, what you don’t like about your job or what you don’t like about your other colleagues (shocking, but this really does happen).
  • Talking negatively about other businesses in the industry.
  • Don’t communicate with your employer via SMS or email on requests unless they have directed you to.
  • Always hand requests for leave or resignation letters in person to your manger; don’t leave them on their desk.
  • Kristy Hines HEAD SHOTAlways give notice when you resign. If this is not specified in your employment contract then go by Fairwork guidelines.
  • Don’t try and take client details after you leave a business; this will only tarnish your reputation within the industry.

Kristy Hines is owner, Mineral Lifestyle Hair Spa minerallifestyle.com.au

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