They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.
We have all been put in a position where someone comes over to say hello and leans in and hugs you. Not just a light hug but a big old bear hug. You try to get out of their grasp without offending them but they just don’t seem to let go. You are not sure how to react or what to do. Maybe you don’t know this person well enough to hug back. Could be, you never met them before and if you did they didn’t make a big enough impression on you to remember.
A simple smile or hello would have been more than enough. It is certainly an awkward moment when someone says hello or greets you this way. How do they feel if you don’t hug back? You feel weird if you do and weird if you don’t.
What’s the proper protocol when you meet a client for the first or second time, when you greet them at the reception area or at your styling station? What if this person reaches in for the big hug, are you one of those stylists who throws up your hand and gives a five high yelling give me some love or maybe a hip check and give them a little love tap? Do you lean in for a kiss? Is that how you would want to be greeted when someone says hello to you? There is proper protocol for everyone. You will have to use your judgment on which type of greeting you use when welcoming clients.
This is all part of the learning curve with customer service and sometimes the best judgment call is using good old fashion manners. If you are wondering if you should or shouldn’t, hug, kiss or high five, then don’t. If someone is coming close to you to embrace you or give you a bear hug, step back and put out your hand for a handshake. This awkward greeting stage feels like minutes are passing when in reality it’s only a few seconds. Your hand will signal the other person that the big hug is not appropriate.
Saying hello with a hug or handshake is a big part of meeting someone for the first time. What is appropriate is also sometimes confusing. Yes, you should show that you are a friendly person and you are happy to meet this person for the first time but remember they are clients. This is not a blind date or a get together with your BFS’s or a class reunion with your old high school buddies. Each of these may and should have a different greeting practice. But we have to understand that everyone and each circumstance is different. What is acceptable and what is not. When putting out your hand for a greeting especially with clients sets the tone for what is appropriate. This establishes the greeting so no one is caught in an awkward stage of not knowing what to do. Leave the hugs for latter if you both feel the need when your clients leaves the salon, spa or barbershop.