My daughter, age 27, had a manicure fail last week. That is to say that while her nails looked gorgeous, the whole experience was a fail. She and a friend went to one of those enormous “manicure factories” where an appointment isn’t needed, and the manicurist is never the same person twice. I’ve found these places to be a strange blend of expedience and luxury. Clearly this particular nail salon is shedding the “luxury” part.
They were greeted with, “You can’t sit together, because you’re getting a dip manicure and she’s getting a gel manicure.”
Her friend lives out of town, and this was meant to be a social outing. “Oh, then I’ll get the same. We want to be together,” my daughter said, smiling reassuringly.
Unfortunately, the hostess was not impressed with the concession and insisted on directing them to two distinct areas, miles apart with countless empty nail stations between them. No explanation.
They were annoyed, but they took their marching orders in opposite directions and complied. Steeped in her solitude, my daughter made a mental note to never return. The dissatisfaction was on her face. “Is that your best friend?” the manicurist said; either trying to be empathetic or sassy. Not sure which, you decide.
Hmmm. Is it not obvious to the salon that they are in the business of creating moods and experiences while they beautify those little nails? This was not merely a post-lunch quest for cuticle removal. This was not about two women compelled to reconvene at a cash register with “tropical teal” and “hibiscus pink” colored nails. They had expected happy chatter to accompany their hand-soaking. Clearly most salons intuit how important the experience is to their customers.
As do most SLPs. We know our charge is to make speech therapy and homework a positive and fun experience (easier said than done). Yes, our therapy is about efficiency, instruction, production, repetition, data collection, and feedback; but we are also confidence boosters, attention managers, and creators of very purposeful fun. The client’s enjoyment is even more important than good PR in our case, because it fuels the learning, the progress, and the requisite perseverance. It keeps the child and his parents returning and practicing until he reaches his potential. We simply can’t be effective without some happiness and smiles in the mix.
What amazes me is that TikTalk is even more than the SLPs’ assistant with production, repetition, data collection, and feedback. It’s also the premier tool to make drill fun, motivating, and even silly for the child in order to drive practice and progress. With the challenges so great and the stakes so high, I’m convinced TikTalk will become indispensable to the speech therapy experience.