Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The One About Nail Salons
Nail Salons are my happy place.
Much like the cafe is a happy place for many of our customers, I hold my local and all nail salons as a sacred and cherished place in my day. A place I go to make myself feel better, get pretty and have "me" time.
What the hell does the nail salon have to do with being a barista? Or the coffee house and specialty coffee culture you ask? Well, I'm gonna tell you. . .
Many of us, if not all of us as coffee professionals, has had a horrific customer experience at a cafe, whether it be the coffee or the customer service, 99% of the time, it's the customer service. With all these posts about the "Bitter Barista" and "How not to be a dick" articles, I thought I would respond with a different type of post. I am not usually the one to post in response to something, but in this case, I can't just turn a blind eye.
I bring up the Nail Salon, my happy place, my home away from home. If you've ever been to a nail salon, the first thing they do is say "Hi! Honey" or "Hello my friend, what you need today?" Off the bat, a friendly greeting and an inquiry into how they can help you.
Here is the rest of the interaction:
"I need a mani pedi"
"Ok honey, you pick color"
I take my time, picking out the color I want, sometimes it takes one minute, sometimes up to 10 minutes depending on my mood and how indecisive I am that day. I choose my color and they are waiting patiently.
"You go to chair number 4"
I sit in the chair, and they immediately go to work, sometimes on my hands first then move me to work on my feet, but %90 of the time they do both at the same time. Always smiling, asking me a variety of questions, "You work today?", "You have children?", and my favorite "You have boyfriend?", all just to be nice and have a little conversation and if I don't want any small talk, they pick up on it and still are just as polite as could be and any complaints I may have, they are easy to oblige.
"Oh, there's an air bubbly thing, there in that nail, can you fix it please?"
"Oh, yes my friend, of course."
Then when they're all done, they put my shoes on for me, take my keys out of my purse so I don't ruin my beautiful nails, they THANK ME, tell me to come back soon and I leave feeling just so amazing.
This is the type of service that I've now come to expect from the salons. And you know what? No matter what nail salon I walk into, the service is always the same, always impeccable and always leaves me wanting more.
Now, if that were a cafe, would I get that type of experience? Would I call it my happy place? I am sure baristas make better money than manicurists and don't work half as hard, and believe me, doing MY nails is a craft that is bar none, magical.
I feel like making coffee is magical and would love for every barista to become more like my nail salon folk, that way I can have more happy places.