Custom service tip: Listen to your salon clients

Rosanne Ullman | July 10, 2011 | 10:10 AM

"Keep in mind that you're responsible for taking care of the client from the minute she walks in the door until she leaves.”salon owner Adam Broderick, industry consultant to Clairol Professional

If you can remember only two words, salon owners would want them to be: customer service. What's more is that customer service helps to level the playing field for new salon professionals, because you can deliver it as well as someone who's experienced.

it pays off

"If you do so-so work and the client likes you, she'll be back and give you a second chance," says Teresa Lane, director of education and design for Hair U Wear. "If you do phenomenal work but she doesn't like you, she probably won't be back." Kenny Gibson gives that a thumbs-up. "Clients will forgive you for a bad haircut, a bad color -- even being late," says Gibson, vice-president and COO of Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academies. "But they will not forgive you for a bad experience."

can you hear me now?

If a bad experience isn't being late or giving a bad cut, what is it? Scalding them with a hot flat iron? No, not even that. It's simply not truly listening. "It doesn't matter how well you think you've done, because it's all about whether the client likes what you've done," Gibson explains. If the client complains, Gibson cautions against making matters worse with a defensive response such as, "But that's what you asked for!"

A lot of customer service is common sense, according to John Briggs, vice-president and COO of SmartStyle, the chain of salons located in Walmart stores. "Nice people like to buy from nice people," he notes. "Show clients that you're interested in them, not just in the haircut."

little memorables

As a stylist, you may not have control over the varieties of herbal tea in the waiting area, but you can make your own chair a special place for clients. A warm towel, a neck and shoulder rub or a complimentary scalp treatment can make them think of you when they're due for another visit or a friend asks if they know a good stylist.

Great customer service means always:

  1. Escorting clients from place to place.
  2. Treating clients as you would guests in your home.
  3. Making consistent eye contact.
  4. Thanking clients for their business.

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