The salon is our home, and we feel comfortable in the space every day. However, it’s easy for some salon guests to feel intimidated, unsure, or even nervous about their visit. Whether a new or regular client, you always want your guests to feel welcome and have a positive experience from beginning to end.
We all know that the first impressions during the client journey are essential, and there are many ways your team can step up to provide concierge-level service. However, it’s ultimately up to the service provider to make the most of the time spent with salon guests, so they walk away happy and feeling pampered. It’s time to up your service game!
During a salon visit, it’s important to remember that people are paying for your time, so you want them to feel the value of the visit, not like a transaction.
The ultimate experience at the service level starts with an introduction to new clients and an excellent consultation for every guest. That’s why ensuring you have allotted enough time for a thorough conversation is essential. You might find it best to build time into your service timing for existing clients and add an additional block of time for new ones. You never want a new or existing client to feel rushed into a decision about their hair.
You really want to get to know your new guest, their lifestyle, hair history and challenges, beauty budget, and their long-term goals with their look. Before you touch your clients’ hair, get eye level with them for a more intimate conversation. Start the consultation by talking face to face and discussing their desired look. Ask about their lifestyle, how much time they are willing to spend on their hair each day, and if they have any issues when styling. When you think you know what they want, make them feel confident that you understand what they’re looking for by repeating it back to them to confirm.
Don’t underestimate the power of a consultation with your existing guests. A recent article unveiled that one of the biggest reasons clients look to a new service provider is because they’re looking for a change. So, instead of having the color whipped up already, talk to them about any recent changes in their life or any new seasonal or other trends they’d like to explore.
If the person in your chair is a new client or a regular client making a significant change, let them know what’s involved with the service and the upkeep afterward. For example, if someone is looking to take their dark hair to platinum, you’ll want to inform them about how many sessions it will take, what their hair will look like in the process, and the upkeep. Nobody likes surprises at the end or to walk away with regret for making a change.
During the actual service, take cues from your client. Some people prefer silence while having their hair done, while others want interaction.
One thing is certain: people like to talk about themselves, and stylists are no different. However, it’s the client’s time during the service, so all conversations should be about them. Pay attention to your guest and let them do most of the talking. Unless asked directly, it’s best to avoid discussing your family, vacations, and other clients during the entire service. Instead, ask about their day, their family, and if anything is new with work.
Being able to truly listen to your clients instead of talking is a skill; that’s why sometimes stylists feel like therapists. Connecting with your guest and mastering the art of listening will help retain those clients.
Your service is more than just the haircut and color – it’s also about educating your client on how to style their hair at home and maintain optimum hair health by using the products you prescribe. When styling your client’s hair, especially if they’ve made a significant change, walk them through what you’re doing, including what products and tools you are using. Even consider recording the process for them to reference later.
After the big reveal, answer any questions they may have, and ask if you can take a picture for social media. Be sensitive that not everyone wants their photo taken or to show their face, but most like to be asked. If nothing else, ask them to tag you and the salon should they post any pictures when they leave the salon.
When appropriate, reiterate the products you used during the service and recommend they use them to keep the cut/color/service lasting the longest at home. Also, recommend when you’d like to see them again – based on their current look and ultimate hair goals. Make notes in their client profile immediately, so you don’t forget the conversation. This way, you remember upcoming events, new hobbies, relationship status, etc., for their next visit.
PRO TIP: Giving clients a holiday around the next recommended appointment will help encourage them to prebook. If you recommend six weeks, which happens to land right after Christmas, they may want to come in at five weeks to prepare for the holiday, giving you an extra visit with them for the year. Plus, they are not frantically trying to squeeze in early during the holiday.
When the appointment is over, walk your client to the front desk or the front door if they checked out chair-side. Let new clients know that you enjoyed meeting them and thank all clients for the visit. And only once they’ve walked out the door, turn to walk away or greet your next client.
People choose businesses based on experience, and many come to a salon based on emotions: a breakup, an engagement, an interview, a new mom, a new trend, etc. There can be so much power in the moments they spend in the salon. So, how do we help make positive, pivotal moments for every guest, every time?
It’s simple; be 100% present for them. It’s their time, and it’s up to us – their service providers – to make the most of their experience while in our care.
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