Ever wonder why good salon communication skills are so essential? It’s quite simple. Verbal communication in a salon helps the client pass along what they want done and signals the salon professional to know what to do.
At face value, the need for basic communication makes sense. However, people go to their local salon for more reasons than to have their hair, skin, or nails done. Although they certainly require such services, it’s more likely the personal contact is what keeps them coming back. After all, hairdressers, facialists, nail technicians, and other beauty professionals are some of the few people that clients allow into their inner circle.
Beauty pros tend to witness the most important milestones in a client’s life: school, careers, relationships, children, and all of the highs and lows that life brings. They know more about the client than most family members, best friends, even spouses.
What is all of this worth? It’s simple: trust! If a client trusts their salon professional, they are more likely to remain a loyal customer. And, happy clients refer friends and family. See the connection?
8 Tips for Effective Salon Communication
It’s crucial to have good communication skills in a salon and to work hard to understand your client. However, it’s not always easy to know how to spark up a conversation or keep the client’s interest. If you’re feeling a bit unsure about how to get the interaction started or keep it going, try some of these communication techniques:
1. Take an Interest
The best way to start a verbal exchange is to ask clients about themselves. Everyone has a story and a natural desire to connect with others.
Asking people about their day, their family, even how their work is going, is a great way to get the conversation moving. Maybe even inquire about special projects they are working on, their plans for the weekend, upcoming trips or special occasions, even what sports they may follow. Basically, anything that will get them talking about themselves short of a quick ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.
It’s essential, however, to avoid talking about yourself. Why? Because their visit to your salon is about them. Period. It’s your responsibility to put them at ease and make them feel comfortable, even pampered, during their services.
If a client does ask you a personal question, feel free to answer. Just keep it short, to the point, and only talk about the positive aspects of any subject.
2. Have Topics Ready
Keep up on current events, pop culture, and what’s trending as much as possible – that way, you have a topic ready for different clients depending on their interests.
When it comes to politics, religion, or finances, tread lightly and be leary to interject your own opinions on the subject. It’s so easy to end up in a conversation, heated or otherwise, that may make you or someone else nearby uncomfortable. Whether it’s your client or one from another stylist, the last thing you want is to have someone leave feeling offended and unwelcome.
3. Stay Focused, Positive & Neutral
No matter the subject of conversation, always keep the banter light and on the positive side. Even if you have Debbie Downer in your chair, try to remain upbeat, although empathetic to those in need.
Also, your clients are not there for you to gossip, vent about your personal life, or to push your perspective or beliefs. Keep the focus of the conversation and your attention on the client, and stay neutral on all subject matters.
4. Lend an Ear
Pay careful attention to what your clients say, how they say it, and their body language. Listen intently to their responses, then reciprocate the best you can. Avoid pushing to advance to the next question or topic; instead, roll with where they take the conversation.
5. Read the Signs
As much as people desire human contact, there are some clients who prefer silence during their services. They typically give short answers to any questions and are more enthralled with their phones versus your conversation. Make an effort to interpret their signals and lower the conversation when the timing seems appropriate.
6. Make it Noteworthy
One trick to help you remember client interests and past conversations is to take notes. Most salon scheduling & management software has a place for notes within client files. Take a few moments to add topics of interest and document any relevant conversation details for later.
7. Make an Impression
You can impress clients by picking up the conversation where you left off last time. They also feel special when you remember their birthday, anniversaries, big events, even projects at work. That way, their 30 to 90 minute salon service flows along nicely, just like the conversation!
8. Exude Positiveness
Those who are able to create a genuinely happy work environment will tend to attract other positive people, including clients. It’s natural for most humans to pick up on any “vibes” – whether positive or negative – within their surroundings. Why not make it a positive place to be? Your clients will appreciate the experience and your positiveness will be infectious to your staff or co-workers.
To keep yourself centered and free from fluster, take a moment between clients to breathe in and out deeply. Concentrate on expelling any negativeness in your mind and commit yourself to remaining calm and collected.
If you find yourself getting frustrated or feeling anxious during the consultation or while performing the services, try to step away for a moment to collect yourself. Don’t make it obvious; instead offer to fill their drink or tell the client you need to grab something in the back.
When to Apply Your Salon Communication Skills
Can you describe how and when to ask questions in a salon? Probably not. It’s a gut feeling to some level. When it comes to how to communicate in a salon environment, timing is everything.
Of course you want to greet your client as they get seated. Also, ask if they need anything, like something to drink.
The same with a consultation about their services or desired results. Be very attentive during this process to make sure the next steps are very clear.
If it’s a new client, go further with your questioning to establish lifestyle and level of commitment with upkeep for their new look. If in doubt show swatches of color or examples of finished looks using photographs.
Once your client is settled in and you get started with the services, you can easily inquire how they are doing. Assuming the client is open to conversation, this is the ideal time to spark things up and communicate effectively. Consider one of these questions below.
Ideas for effective communication in a beauty salon:
- How are things with you?
- How is your family?
- Is work/school going well?
If they are a new client, consider:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What do you do for work?
- Have any kids?
- What sort of interests do you have?
- Do you play any sports?
- How much time do you spend on your hair getting ready each day?
- What do you like most about your hair?
- What issues do you have with your hair?
When your client’s color is processing or they are sitting under the dryer/processor, read their body language to see if they are looking to chat. If they are seated in your chair and you do not have other clients, have at it.
Otherwise, consider giving them some alone-time. Just make sure they are well situated and comfortable. And check up on them from time to time.
You can start the conversation back up again at the shampoo bowl or as you cut or begin to style their hair. Just remember that it’s hard for them to hear you while blow-drying their hair.
During the finishing touches is a great time to let clients know what products you used on their hair. Also mention at-home care and give them tips for styling. This is a great way to help them care for the investment they just made and to ensure that your work stays salon-fresh longer. It’s also a great time to wind down the conversation and signal the end of the service.
If possible, walk them to the front desk. Thank them for their visit and inquire about pre-booking their next visit. Lastly, wish them a good day, evening, or night and say goodbye.
The Post-Visit Followup
Just because your client is not in your chair, doesn’t mean you cannot interact with them. Take the opportunity to follow up with them using the communication method they prefer: email, text, call. This is especially impactful if you just gave them a new hair cut or color. Ask how they like the new look and inquire if they have any questions or concerns.
Now that you know some of the basic tactics for communicating with your clients, try putting some of them into practice. Your casual banter helps you and your client to get to know one another and can make for a pleasant experience for both during services.
So, how are your salon communication skills?