I’m sure we can all agree: This has been a learning experience, and that’s saying it nicely. Put more aptly, this was a rollercoaster of emotions akin to the Five Stages of Grief. As this period is finally easing and the world is coming back to life, our thoughts likely lie with the salon, our guests, and what the next few months are going to be like.
Clientele is like a river.
Initially, many of us worried about losing our guests. At the time of this writing, the salon where I work has been closed for six weeks. When we re-open, it will be with limited hours and personnel. That means, we’ll resume booking at least six weeks in arrears, with state-limited capability. Hairdressers everywhere are in the same boat. We’d catch up if we could, but we can’t.
There’s good news to be had, however; insofar as this is happening to us as individuals, it is happening to us as an industry. What this means is guests from ALL area salons are going to be in flux for a bit, and this is a rare opportunity to build - or rebuild - our books. People everywhere know getting a good stylist is a zero-sum game. Displaced and impatient guests will be looking for ANYWHERE to get their hair done, and loyalty may not be so precious when those roots are over an inch long! While this may mean some of our people may wander, we can be confident we’ll catch other “wanderers” and retain them for ourselves.
When you go back, don’t bring it weak.
Believe it or not, a hairdresser can be a stabilizing influence in the lives of their guests. We provide positive renewal to a guest’s self-image, and we are an essential part of their life routine. Our demeanor and verbiage can have a huge effect on their outlook, and it is essential we step into that responsibility – especially during a time like this. Never mind that we are talking through masks or touching through gloves - we can still be a source of optimism to our guests as we welcome them back to their long-lost routine.
While we will be getting accustomed to some new safety and sanitation procedures, we must not forget about providing a positive experience. Our guests will be entering a completely different world than the last time they saw us. Hugs and high-fives have been replaced by thermal scans, release forms, and mask-muffled dialogues. As thwarting as this may seem, these new (hopefully temporary) measures will not prevent us from doing our work well. Our guests love us, we know it – but, ultimately, they do not come for the conversation. I’m sure many of my guests would say they wish I did not talk so much!
Remember the love you had at first.
In the final analysis, we do this for a reason. Much of what we do is being reinvented as we speak, but the reason we do this remains beneath it all. Whether it is passion for the art of hair, a desire to make people happy, or whatever it is for you - chase that feeling.
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