Heads Up: Clients Never Forget

Anne Moratto | November 24, 2014 | 11:04 AM
Carlos Valenzuela

Does it really take six meetings to change a first impression? Do we start from scratch each time we meet? How important is that one indelible, tattoo-like encounter that makes a first impression? Who cares, some might think? You care, because a desire to make a good impression is what propels our beauty industry. Get with it.

This week, I visited beauty schools offering my free classes. From the moment I park, the school gives out a good or bad aura. Could this vibe be what prompts a potential student to take the next step, and a client to walk into a salon?

One school’s windows were painted over blocking a visual of the interior. The receptionist fiddled with a drawer while I stood for a while at the front desk. Eventually, she said, “What can I do for you?”  I explained why I was there and offered a flyer with topics I teach. Just the way she looked at the information, I knew nothing would happen, “OK, thanks, we’ll call you.” End of encounter.  

Another school had open windows, lights aglow and students busily moving around. Two students at the front desk yelled, “Welcome to the Academy,” as I walked in. One glanced at my flyer and ran to get an instructor, who in short order booked me for a class the following week. Students offered water, coffee, holiday cookies, and one asked if I had seen the manicure special, as she checked out my nails.

In my opinion, “I really don’t care what anyone thinks of me,” is really a cry for attention. It says, you don’t look at me when I try, so I will catch your attention by not trying.

But, not trying is poor business. You must care what people think because your clients come from word of mouth. You may be online, use social media and fully automated, but nothing ever holds a candle to your presence. Your personal touch is magic. Embrace it. Polish it. Work it.

A salon client is similar to someone coming to your home—you would “keep company,” wouldn’t you?  You see that they are comfortable, offer a beverage, and listen to what they say. Staying in the moment with your client is the biggest secret for excellence in customer service. The merits of good service may include a pass when the hair turns out so-so. Remember, the opposite of love is not hate—it’s lack of attention and a client never forgets indifference.

Carlos Valenzuela: is a consultant, speaker, stylist, bilingual trainer, and author of iFabulous Salon Success, a success guide for new salon professionals. 
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