Salon service, Client retention. technical skills.
I have decided to share with you some of my thoughts on the hair industry for it has played such a huge part in my journey. I hope you find it interesting and that evokes both thought and questions.
It is my firm that belief that in this day and age and in such competitive times the only way to increase and expand your client base is through excellence in service, communication and technical ability, Knowledge.
This can only be done through education, team work, and effective leadership by those who are training new stylists.
Service and Communication
So let’s take a look into a salon!
One of the main reason for client loss from a salon is dissatisfaction from either the service or the final result.
Taking short cuts and compromising one’s standards and professional ethics leads to client dissatisfaction.
When a client leaves a salon unhappy how much damage can they do to your reputation?
When a client leaves happy they will recommend you to others, they will get stopped in the street. Potentially a happy client will recommend you to 5 friends who in turn have 5 friends.
You are building your business on your Communication skills. creativity. knowledge.the best way to build a loyal clientele is honesty.
Guess what an unhappy client can and will do? You got it – 5 friends will leave with them.
We have to be on top of products new techniques, we cannot only trust in what the sales rep or Manufacturer tells us.
These days we have to know and understand more than ever the chemistry of our products the effects that they can have how they will interact with other products.
The client who wants to switch from home colour to professional the women who has put henna on her hair buts wants colour.
Having that edge offering that bit more!
So after building up a strong client base with strong client retention do you ever wonder why every five to six weeks you have a somewhat quiet week with not a lot booked? You start to ask yourself the question, what am I doing wrong? Am I losing my touch? Well, let’s see.
We have all had one of these. That crazy Saturday could be any day you fitted all those extra clients in. You were on a role and had a huge money day.
You call your boss and say guess what I did today. You leave work on cloud nine thinking that’s it. Every day could be like this. I really feel I have made it.
Now let’s just think about this and break it down. Was it really a success?
You took short cuts, you compromised your clients who had services booked, you kept clients waiting, you rushed through things. Guess what – you lost clients.
Instead of running the show you created chaos and did not give your regular clients your full attention and service. They go else where – and yes, they go with their 5 friends.
So by having a crazy busy day it cost you. Short term gain meant long term loss. The key is service, attention to detail, and making that client feel special.
That 6 week Lull!
You will never get beyond having a 5 to 6 week lull until you look beyond the quick hit money-making day.
Sitting around does not look good for business nor does it inspire clients, if your not bust get busy!
Consultation key time:
You need time for the consultation. This is your time to shine, the time that reassures your client that they are special, that you are considerate and that you understand their needs and wants. Your client sees you are prepared to take that extra time to use your knowledge to make them feel comfortable and safe in a professional’s hands. It is this service that gets you talked about and recommended.
Inspire your client get their attention gain their trust, Confidence.
Learning the Basics and Building on Them
We assume that if a stylist is working in a salon they have satisfied the examination board and reached a professional NVQ standard of qualification.
In so many cases students leave college with a good solid basic knowledge of the industry and newly qualified – the world is their oyster.
But after a couple of years they become disillusioned.
They blame the industry, the products, the salon owner or other staff but never take a look in the mirror to see the real problem.
All to often we like to stay with the safe option, never step outside the box or push the envelope. A certain level ability is attained and then we sit back thinking we know it all [ego takes over]. You might think – the salon has education updates and product reviews. But you think you were at the last one two years ago so why go again since you have heard it all before.
challenge your self on the right not easy to produce but it was a challenge for me!
It is very hard to improve without admitting that you have any weaknesses or a lack of knowledge in the first place. It’s like being at school and afraid to raise your hand because you don’t understand. You worry that your question might be seen as silly but the only foolish question is the one you don’t ask.
To truly succeed in our industry we have to learn so many different skills related to our job. These are not always in a manual. There are some life skills and some that are taught. The key is be honest with yourself. Education and knowledge is power. Know your limits and be honest about your ability and then keep learning.
A good example of this would be to do colour correction one has to have a solid knowledge of colour – both practical and theory.
Ask these questions. Can it be done? Should it be done? Can I do it? 9 times out of ten correction is colour that has been messed up at home or by another semi professional stylist.
So the question should be will the salon benefit from this being done? Will you as the stylist benefit from doing this? If the answer is yes then question, question question! Look, touch, consult other stylist team members and then decide how to proceed.
Challenge your self if putting hair up is an issue for you learn
Whilst researching information on Wella colour, I came across this review of Koloston Colour on the website. The stylist said “I used the same colour on four different clients and never got the same colour twice. You cannot trust the swatch or the colour!”
For me this highlights perfectly all the issues raised. This stylist needs to look in that mirror to understand that the starting canvas was different in each case so the same results couldn’t be expected.
So what exactly is needed? Let’s look at some technical skills.
Technical Skills – Colouring [ lets take a brief look at some examples]
Fully understanding of the colour wheel and laws of colour
Full understanding of specific colour line in salon and full knowledge of the colour manual
Basic colour application, re-growth application, balancing colour and refreshing colour
Re-growth application on grey hair and colour balancing
Colouring virgin hair
Full head bleach application
Highlighting techniques including foil, paper, cap, freehand
Sectioning, formulation, mixing, timing
All other chemical processes including perming and straightening hair
Technical Skills – Styling
Understanding hair types to attain the best results
Cutting and advanced cutting [a firm foundation of knowledge and skill is key to progressing on]
Razor cutting and free style techniques
Finished looks and up do’s [ putting hair up can create fear! Once faced the fear has now power]
Avant-garde looks [ to create these looks is a journey of discovery in so many ways]
Full knowledge of products for salon and retail use
So for any of us to improve, like that stylist who sent in the review, we have to know honestly where are, where our strengths and weakness lie and then build on this knowledge
Our industry is in constant change but is sometimes criticised for lacking vision in some areas. However, there is an ever growing body of professionals that has a firm commitment to our industry, that have a passion for change to raise standards through education and sharing.
Leadership, education, and team incentives will over time and with commitment give any individual that ability to do exceptional work and to create an amazing work environment for all concerned.
This journey, this career, is wonderful – challenging, inspiring, and yes, hard work.
Thank you all for letting me share some thoughts with you today.