How to optimize your nail customer journey?

Nail services are a boon because they are highly loyal. However, on closer inspection, nail services are often not profitable enough, or even loss-making.

Many of the clients, whom I have accompanied over the past six years, have realized that their nail services are not profitable: their prices and techniques are not suitable.

So how to optimize the profitability of these services and thus perpetuate its business? It’s all about the customer journey.

Through my last experience as a customer for a manicure service, I share here the best practices that will allow you to earn more, by changing some details in your care.


I made an appointment in an institute specializing in nails and beauty of the look. A few months ago, I had already gone to this center with the spirit of “boudoir” for a look performance. I was satisfied with the result obtained despite a care reduced to the strict minimum.

So I decided this time to go back to test his nail services. I had made my reservation from his website: very easy and fast!

When I arrived, the manicure was busy with a client. So she invites me to sit down and wait. When she finishes with her previous client, she invites me to take her place.

She confirms with me the service: installation of semi-permanent varnish. I tell him that it has been many months since I did a manicure.

– “It’s important to take care of yourself.” – “Yes, but I had a baby last September and I’m struggling to give myself time.” – “Ah congratulations !…” and the conversation continues about children for five minutes.

She looks at my nails while chatting, then asks me:

– “Did you choose the color you want?” – “No. I have to look here?” I ask, taking the colour charts in hand.

She nods, then continues her performance by giving me from time to time some remarks: “Oh your nails are very small”, “Oh well it’s funny on some nails you do not have small skins and on others they are very long”.

Analysis of this stage of support

At this stage of care, it is essential to adapt your welcome for customers who come for the first time and for those who have already come, and to professionalize the exchanges. Here no adaptation has been made.

Here’s how to tailor support for your new customers:

– check the history of the customer file before its arrival,

– validate with the client “I saw that it was the first time you came to us for your nails”. Or: “Do you have anything to report to me about your last visit, in terms of holding the results or a particular change on your skin (drier hands?)”,

– ask for your expectations in terms of results: shape of the nails, preferences in colors, desire for change, need for additional advice,

– spend a few moments in the observation of the nails and make a constructive feedback on your observations,

– ask questions to make a diagnosis. Ask what are the client’s previous habits: maintenance rhythm, care provided at home…

Too few nail professionals take the measure of the importance of the diagnosis of the first visit and the follow-up between each service. However, it is fundamental in loyalty and additional sales.


During the performance, carried out with seriousness, one thing struck me: the hygiene measures.

Barrier gestures are well respected. However, I have questions about the hygiene and maintenance of the equipment. I did not see the practitioner change instruments or clean them after the client who was in front of me.

This reflection appears to me when she uses the envy pliers: I observe an accumulation of skin stuck in her pliers and I begin to be afraid…

To think of something else, I ask for information on her eye services (no mention was made by the practitioner on the fact that I had come two months before to perform an eyelash enhancement …):

– “I saw that you offered eyelash extensions. I wanted to know if you had several lengths available because I had extensions during the Christmas holidays in Normandy, but the result was very disappointing: the eyelashes were much too long and it was really wrong.”

My practitioner raises her head and looks at me.

She confirms to me: — “Yes extensions touch your eyelids. They are too long. But you don’t have many of them there anymore.” – “I’ve already lost a lot of them.” – “We’d have to see with my colleague, she’s the one who makes the extensions. But I know it adapts the size and the result with what you want.”

Then Camille goes back to work and refocuses on my nails. Analysis of this stage of support

Here two things can be improved:

Hygiene measures

It happens far too often to find myself in spaces specialized in nails whose compliance with hygiene measures leaves something to be desired.

The desire clamps, for example, leave no doubt about the rigor brought to the maintenance of the equipment.

Unfortunately, this criterion is a highly loyal criterion. If your maintenance and hygiene practices are not rigorous enough, the client may not return.

And this, despite a careful work and a good result. If it’s “dirty”, I don’t want to go back: I’ll look elsewhere.

In nail institutes in the United States, the instruments used for nails are deposited on an individual tray and then sterilized immediately after each performance. Plastic pouches are prepared for each customer before the service, with clean and sterilized equipment.

The manicure presents the closed pouch to the client to tell her that the material has been cleaned for her.

A tip: equip yourself with instruments (several sets of pliers, files, sticks …) and plastic pouches with self-adhesive closure, or fabric pouches if you want to preserve the environment with more durable and reusable pouches that you can wash in the machine.

A gesture that will be appreciated by your customers and that will mark a real difference for your center: once again, too few nail institutes have this irreproachable hygiene.

Additional sales

Too few nail professionals provide good advice to their clients that can allow them to make additional sales (Add-On).

Here, my practitioner had a track to explore: I told her that it had been several months since I had taken the time to do a manicure because I had just had a baby. She also found that I was rather tense and stressed.

Why not offer more added value to your service?

For example, by offering me Add-Ons such as:

– the installation of a repairing mask (type impregnated gloves, cut on the fingertips to allow the manicure to work on my nails while the mask poses),

– or to offer me to make these few minutes of services a rest time with a warming and relaxing mask for the eyes,

– another possibility if your customers are rather active, in a hurry and stressed: equip yourself with relaxation devices or accessories such as the Bol d’Air Jacquier. You will be able to offer him to take advantage of it to reoxygenate and obtain well-being benefits, while taking care of his image.

These Add-Ons are an essential additional revenue opportunity to optimize the profitability of your nail services. Thus, my practitioner could have offered me an Add-On by adapting it to my situation:

“I see that your hands are in great need of a hydration bath. Would you like us to take advantage of this time to let a repair mask be put on while I work on your nails? This mask is 12 € and will allow you to leave with beautiful soft hands”.

Or, “I know what you’re going through right now, I have two daughters at home myself. I see you look a little tense. If you wish, I suggest you take advantage of this time to rest for a few moments thanks to our specific eye masks.

It is a warming and relaxing mask that I apply to your eyes and that we let on while I work on your nails. This mask is 15 € and it is an opportunity for you to take a micro-nap and leave beautiful and full of energy”.


After 30 minutes of treatment, my practitioner ter- mine her service. It asks:

– “Do you like it?”.

– “Yes thank you, it feels good to find colorful hands.” Then she gets up to go to the cash register. I catch up with her by asking her if she can ask her colleague for advice on my eyelash extensions.

So she goes to ask the beautician to come and see me. She asks me:

– “You want to know what?”. I re-explain the purpose of my request. She then replies:

– “You have to come for a complete break, it’s better”. Then… Be quiet.

After a few short seconds, “embarrassed”, I thank her and ask my manicure how much I owe her. She cashes in and then tells me:

– “Thank you and have a good end to the day”. I leave, satisfied with the result, but without having rebooked the next appointment.

Analysis of this stage of support

Camille was very friendly and her work was of quality: applied and concerned about the result. Unfortunately, my practitioner did not optimize the profitability of the service: no add-on proposal and no loyalty action were carried out during her manicure.

The nail services are however very loyal: for a semi-permanent varnish, the customer needs to come back every three weeks or so!

So why not make rebooking automatic? Systematically offering rebooking to your nail customers allows you to ensure a sustainable business and a good reputation of your center.

Thus my practitioner could have proposed to me:

– “As you are very busy, would you like us to set our next appointment for the maintenance of your manicure? I can watch in 3 weeks… I have room on this day at this time, or tell me what’s easier for you in terms of slots.”

Even if some customers will tell you that they prefer to book quietly from home or call you back later, it is imperative to systematically include the rebooking proposal in your customer journey.

Finally, my practitioner could also have offered me to set the appointment directly for eyelash extensions, rather than letting the conversation end with a “blank”.

Here, I didn’t feel that she cared about me: rather a feeling of not being important or considered, as if I was “disturbing”.


Overall, I am satisfied with the result of this manicure. My practitioner was charming but she could develop her coaching and client retention skills so that her care is perfect and profitable.

I will make an appointment elsewhere next time: in search OF THE center in which I will become an absolute fan on all levels.

I invite you to share your experiences and tours on the Facebook page of nouvelles Esthétiques and on the Spa Managers & Gérants Beauté Bien-Être Group.

We recommend that you use the adequate manicure and pedicure set to take care of your nails before applying any kind of decoration.  

Read also: Castor oil for nails: benefits, application

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