Yes, I'm a Hairstylist and No, I'm Not a Number
At a friend’s grad party the other night, I was talking to some gals and the subject went to hair. Well, of course, I shared my professional opinion and they asked, "Do you do hair?" We all know what proceeds next... "What do you think about my hair?" or "How does this work?" or the horror stories begin. Now, as a licensed cosmetologist, I understand my role of advising, the professional recommendation and, of course, the power of referral since I don’t work in a salon. But the conversation was interesting, as usual.
Cindy’s stylist (Gina) was moving out of state, and she had been going to Gina for three years at the same salon. Knowing the departure of her stylist and liking the salon for its convenience she finally called the salon to schedule an appointment post-Gina. She explained who she had seen and requested a new stylist. They in turn offered her a level 2, 3,4 or 5 stylist. Listen carefully as here was Cindy’s response to me about this marketing approach that may serve the internal growth and hierarchy of a salon strategy but not necessarily the consumer /client. Cindy said to me, “I don’t know what my stylist was-- maybe a 3--but I don’t think I can afford a 5 and what if the 2 screws up my hair?”
Now there is nothing wrong with a level system of stylist’s experience and service prices and of course I am hearing this story from one side, the client’s side. Needless to say, the story did not end there. She selected a stylist that she believes was a 2 but thinks was promoted as a 3 because when left up to the clients, her wallet made the decision. She went in to have her usual color and cut. "I asked for more blond since it had been three months vs. my usual six week visit," Cyndi told me. "She left me under the dyer for 45 minutes to do a haircut which I watched and she never checked on me once. I finally grabbed someone to check my hair because Gina had never put me under the dryer with color and it seemed like a really long time. My end results were not good, my hair had dark brown stripes and not as much blond as I had hoped, so I had to come back the next day for her to fix it. I was not offered another stylist but I did not have to pay for the redo either and it’s better now." Cyndi and I ended the conversation with her asking “Who does your hair and can you recommend someone to me?”
I am certain not one salon is in a position to lose a faithful 6 week client of cut and color on top of losing a good stylist who has moved. And I am sure many of you have procedures in place for new clients or keeping clients once a stylist leaves. Who is willing to post some of the processes they use to keep existing salon clients coming back after the loss of a stylist?
Let me hear from you.