Ask the Experts: Backbar Basics
What complimentary services make the backbar experience better for the client?
>> “At The Loft in Fresno, California, we offer extra services to enhance the clients’ experience like deluxe scalp massages,” says George Garcia, Redken Chromatics artistic advisor. “The massage therapist taught the backbar staff how to provide a really professional scalp massage by showing them scalp and neck pressure points.
“During cooler days they provide warm blankets during shampoos and cool towels on wrists and the necks during warmer days. The shampoo bowl can be cold and uncomfortable and this is a way to make guests feel comfortable. It’s these little things that make a difference to the client.
“It’s important to always make the experience more comfortable—we even offer extra iPhone chargers for clients at stations for convenience. It’s really all about creating a point of difference and taking extra steps to show clients you care.”
What are some creative extra services a salon can offer at the backbar?
>> “Offer a variety of extra services to enhance the client experience,” says Ron King, L’Oréal Professionnel Ambassador and owner of Ron King Salon in Austin, Texas. “We offer complimentary make-up touch-ups to clients who just got a new color. This increases retail sales and also doubles as an opportunity to teach clients which colors will work for their new look. Also, try offering hot facial towels for male clients with essential oils when they are having shampoos to soften and relax the skin.
“Install electric plugs and a color bar so you can do a quick highlight at the shampoo bowl. Offer polish changes while clients’ color is processing.
“Try offering art and fashion books so clients can talk fashion rather than celebrity gossip. We have a library of fashion icon books rather than stacks of magazines and it changes the mood of the salon. And, with all of these add-ons, use your assistants to do these extra services while you continue to work on full-priced services.”
How would you upsell services while clients are at the backbar?
>> “Observe, Think and Question when a client is at the backbar,” says Dennis Bernard Campanaro, CEO and founder of Dennis Bernard Professional Hair Care. “Whether you are a stylist working with shampoo technicians or shampooing your own clients, the backbar is the examination lab. You’ll see the hair dry, then wet, and you will be able to tell exactly what the hair needs from a color, texture or conditioning standpoint. For example, once the hair is wet you can see if it has a tendency to collapse together and become tangled, signaling a porosity issue that a deep conditioning treatment will correct.
“The lack or abundance of natural texture will come out once hair is wet; possibly initiating a conversation leading to a texture service. At the backbar you can tell if the client has dandruff, psoriasis, or eczema dictating a different cleansing regimen. Build-up from hair sprays, mousses and gels can also be apparent; which makes an upsell to a clarifying/demineralizing treatment an easy ‘Yes’.”
“Be a problem solver and help clients achieve the optimum in style and hair condition and make it easy for them to maintain both. ”