Dispelling Myths About Client Service in Hair Salons

Published 03rd Jul 2024 by Josie Jackson

Keith Mellen, Managin Director of Anne Veck Limited, dispells a number of myths about client service....

Myth One: Channel all new clients to the least busy stylist

I call this the 'busy-stylist paradox'. In the early days of Anne Veck Salons, we used to channel new clients to our least busy hairdressers to help build their column. This is great if your quietest stylists are new and excellent at what they do. Otherwise, ask yourself: Why are they quiet? The answer is because they are probably, to put it politely, average. They will, in fact, lose your salon clients. The best stylist to direct new clients to is your busiest stylist – hence the paradox. How do you deal with this dilemma? The first step is to develop the under-performers through training. But you should also consider removing 10% of the poorest performers each year – brutal but effective.

Myth Two: Retail sales are not a good measure of client service

Our salon managers didn't have a quick and simple way to measure the standard of our client service. They believed we needed to survey our clients with questionnaires, comment cards, mystery shoppers, and so on. These are all vital methods, but they were overlooking retail sales as an effective method of measuring service levels. The key indicator is items sold per client. It sounds an unusual way of gauging who is giving great service, but it works. The more retail products you sell to your clients, the better customer service you are likely to be providing – and the better the service, the more return bookings and recommendations you will get.

Myth Three: Offering advice on haircare is a hard sell

I was shocked by the misguided belief of one of our most experienced senior stylists, who had previously owned her own salon, that her clients' lifestyle and home haircare needs were personal matters which were none of her business. So, no expert advice to Mrs Brown on how to look after her £120-plus worth of styling and colour, then! At a less extreme level, it is still not unusual for hairdressers to lack confidence in their ability to advise and guide their clients. Remember that most clients expect us to recommend products, an increasing number demand it, and they will go elsewhere if we don't meet that demand.

Myth Four: Regular clients don't need a thorough consultation

Mrs Smith has been a loyal client for the past five years and always has the same hairstyle. Ms Jones is new, so we don't know what she wants until the consultation. The myth this time is that we have a long-standing relationship with Mrs Smith so we know exactly what hairstyle she wants. The reality is that when Mrs Smith overhears Ms Jones getting a full consultation from her stylist, she thinks: "My stylist never asks me if I'd like something different; I think I'll try a new salon next time." Everyone knows the theory – an established customer is worth more than a new one – but we need to act on this knowledge and give every client the VIP treatment.

Myth Five: Suggesting a new appointment is being too pushy

Proposing the next appointment date is not pushy, it's good service. Use informed questions; for example, don't say: "Would you like to book your next appointment now?" Instead, using your expert knowledge of when the client's next appointment should be to keep her style or colour, ask: "Would you like to book your next appointment in four weeks' time?" That way, you show you are informed, and are treating the client as special.

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 03rd Jul 2024

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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