How to Ruin the Salon Customer Experience with Tasteless First Impressions


Before coming into my office this morning, I went to a nail salon for a pedicure. I have a weeklong business trip in Orlando next week, so I get to kick off my boots and slide into sandals. Nice, I know. Hence, the urgent need for a pretty pedicure. I had an interesting service experience at the salon and I want to talk to you about it.

It was early when I entered the salon. I was clearly the first customer of the day. The only employee I spotted was sitting in a massage chair and she was watching a movie on her iPad. How do I know she was watching a movie? I heard the action music. It was that loud. She didn’t seem to notice me. If she did, her movie was more intriguing than the first customer of the day.

“What do you need?” The voice coming from my lower right startled me. It was another employee, sitting in the lobby with earphones from her iPhone in her ears. I told her I needed a pedicure and she told me to “Pick a color and sit over there.” She gestured for me to sit next to the lady who was watching a flick on her iPad.

I ended up getting a pretty amazing foot massage and gorgeous French pedicure. My goal was a pedicure, so all was good I suppose, in spite of the odd first impression. But, I couldn’t get over how the second customer of the day was treated.

The lady who entered after I did, received the same un-welcoming greeting from the employee adorned in earphones as I did. But that wasn’t the shocking part. This employee wasn’t listening to music on her earphones, which would have been bad enough. She was on the phone in a conversation. The entire time she serviced the customer who came in for a manicure, she was on the phone! I literally mean she was on the phone through her earphones the entire time she did her customer’s nails. Wow. Just wow.

Angry Woman speaking phone

The service left me speechless. So much so, that I won’t even share my thoughts about this experience. Because, again, I am speechless. But, I’d like to hear your thoughts. What went wrong here? How should the salon owner address these service practices?

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Myra is a favorite training partner to Fortune 500 companies with her customized, engaging, behavior-changing (and fun) customer service workshops, working with McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Frito-Lay, Michelin, Vera Bradley and other brands.

3 thoughts on “How to Ruin the Salon Customer Experience with Tasteless First Impressions

  1. This is a very good way to loose customers I’m sure this isn’t the first or second time this has happened which makes you wonder how other customers has been treated. A business who wants to be successful this is a bad idea.

  2. Wow!

    It’s amazing how long some small businesses get away with bad customer service before someone (hopefully the owner) notices that something has to change. It’s so annoying to know that the business you’re spending your money with has no regard for your patronage.

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