Covid, political polarization, the constant clicking of devices—there’s a lot of noise in our lives. The salon or spa is one place people can get away from all of that. 

Post-pandemic Sea Change

“We’ve found with our guests, and even our technicians, that it’s been helpful to make sure people had a safe space to come and detach from all the things going on in the world,” says Michelle Murad, VP Marketing and Sales at Douglas J Salon in Wyoming, Michigan. Before Covid, beauty professionals were as much therapist as technician, Murad observes. Conversation flowed easily as guests confided in their stylist or esthetician and asked for advice.

“After the pandemic, internally we discussed giving people the opportunity to come and not focus on anything because of all the stresses in the world,” Murad says. “We decided to put that option upfront instead of leaving it to guests to have to say they didn’t feel like talking. We want to deliver whatever kind of service they want—it’s about them, not about us.”

Opt Into No Convo

To let guests know about a policy of opt-in silence, the salon posts signage saying:

Quiet Service

Don’t hesitate to ask for a quiet service if you’re anxious, tired, mentally drained, etc., and just want to avoid conversation and have some quiet time.

There will be no judgment—there never is. Regardless of the reason, you are always welcome to utilize this option.

Your mental health matters.

Company-wide Policy

Left to right:  Shanna Marquardt , Byron Center Salon Director;  Carrie Stockwell , Ann Arbor Salon Director;  Lexi Denovich , Okemos Salon Director,  Megan Zelinski , Rochester Hills Salon Director. 

Left to right: Shanna Marquardt, Byron Center Salon Director; Carrie Stockwell, Ann Arbor Salon Director; Lexi Denovich, Okemos Salon Director, Megan Zelinski, Rochester Hills Salon Director.

Douglas J is implementing theh policy across the board—their large salon and three smaller salons. The company also operates six schools. While spa services might be expected to be low-key, Murad says this kind of initiative may be even more important on the salon side.

“On the hair side, people feel more obligated to share what’s happened in their life since the last time they were in,” Murad says. Our guests shouldn’t have to say something. Maybe they haven’t had time to meditate today, and they want that time in the chair to be still.”

Murad is quick to say she doesn’t want credit for the idea, which she says likely came through the Aveda pipeline.

“In the Aveda network, people are always sharing ideas,” she explains. “They may not be 100 percent applicable, because everyone does things a little differently. We adjusted this to our world.”

Good Reception

With much positive feedback from the Douglas J guests and staff, management has kept the signs up even though the pandemic is fading into history. Guests have expressed how nice it is to have this option, and stylists are grateful for time to recharge in a way. 

“Many of us want to fill the white space with words,” Murad notes. “We feel uncomfortable when it’s quiet. If you’re quiet, people can assume that you’re in a bad mood or you didn’t like the service. That’s another reason we wanted it front and center.”

Ultimately, this policy simply aligns with the value of delivering top customer service, she adds. “We want to make people comfortable,” she says. “Our philosophy has always been that when you walk through our doors, it’s about you as our guest.”

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