I did not steal your client.
But I am guilty of asking whether there was some mixup when she suddenly showed up to my chair. During that conversation, I learned why she stopped coming to see you, and I'll share that with you now. Please believe that I am super sorry this happened, but know that I intend to do her hair to the best of my ability. She is not yours, not mine, but she is someone who wants her hair done, and that's all. Let's all move on.
There is no course on cool in-salon behavior. You pick up salon ethics by honoring every real-life situation to the best of your ability. Every client, a universe onto themselves, offers the opportunity to travel the high road or dip into unhealthy conduct. Be vigilant.
Psst...here is what your client said to me:
"I became invisible. About a year ago, the first appointments were great although, in retrospect, I never was offered styling options or given what I hear people call a 'full consultation.' My last stylist asked what I wanted as if I knew all the options. Maybe this just reminded me of my ex-husband and I am being unfair. I had been married for a little over five years when I became invisible in my marriage, when that certain forced way of being greeted, listened to, and included developed. I won't stand for it, much less pay for it."
Other clients, too, have told me exactly why they landed in my chair. This is my laundry list of reasons your client left you:
- There was no enthusiasm to your greeting. I felt like a number.
- You just started shampooing and doing your work.
- There never was a pause for new ideas or suggestions on my style.
- You seem bothered by my bringing in a photo of a possible style.
- You showed enthusiasm for other clients not revealed to me (this is so ex-husband).
- I got the same style every visit. Some may want this. I made it clear I loved variety.
How You Can Retain Your Clients
You can fix this! Appreciate your clients outwardly and purposely, because salon services is a buyer's market, which means that clients have a wide choice of options for their beauty services. Parting shot: clients speak with their feet. They won't always tell you what's on their mind; they just walk away and never come back.
Carlos Valenzuela is a veteran salon professional and author of the award-winning novella Letters to Young Carlos, a coming-of-age tale about a gay boy along the US/Mexico border in the '60s. Visit his writings at carlos-valenzuela.com.
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