First impressions count when welcoming salon clients

Published 29th Mar 2023
First impressions count when welcoming salon clients Walking into a salon for the first time can be a daunting prospect for many clients who may not know what to expect or are unsure how they will be treated - so making those first impressions count is important to determining their salon experience. Liz McKeon, Business Expert and Founder of the International Salon Business School tells us: "You cannot redo first impressions and with attention to detail, you can ensure clients come away with superior opinions about you and your character. A new client will develop an impression about your employee, and your business, in their first seven seconds. In that time, they will judge your employee in 11 different ways. These judgements will help your client form an opinion of your business, which will determine how likely they are to become a repeat client."

Every Second Counts

A client's arrival at reception is a key element of their overall experience, so it's important to set the scene for the rest of the appointment and ensure clients feel welcome, relaxed and at ease. "The client will remember how they were greeted regardless of how the rest of the appointment goes, so it is important that you start on the right foot. A good first impression will also determine whether the client thinks they can build trust with you as a salon and whether they respect you as a business. It really is make or break and is crucial to the success of your salon." says Leah Durrant, Owner of Leah Durrant Hair Salon. Melenie Tudor, Owner of En Route Hair Salon tells us that first impressions can make or break the client experience. "Visiting a hair salon can make some people feel quite vulnerable as it is a very personal experience. That’s why you need to make sure the client feels welcomed and comfortable in the salon environment, as soon as they step through door. Every second counts. A client not being greeted right away can feel like a lifetime to them and this first greeting will really set the tone for the whole appointment. Greeting clients the right way will reflect your brand and the professionalism of your team." Jemma Mewies, Co-owner at Mewies & Co. has gone as far as writing a handbook for her staff about the importance of the customer experience, communication and retail. "It is our mission to give clients a premium experience in a warm and friendly environment, with care and understanding of how important their hair is to them." She tells us her go-to tip for all stylists is paying attention so that you can match your client's energy. "If a client has a high energy level, then try to match it in those first moments when you're connecting. Similarly, if they are quiet and have lower energy tone yourself down to match them - this will instantly create a feeling that you're on the same level, putting them at ease."

Consider The Environment

“We want to create a relaxed environment for our clients, and we designed our salon specifically with this in mind. When you arrive at the salon, clients are welcomed into the Haus Bar where they can have a seat and a chat whilst we make them drink, giving us a chance to catch up for a few minutes without the pressure of looking straight into the mirror to talk about hair," says Siobhan, Co-owner of Haug London Haus. "This gives our clients a chance to slow down, adjust to the ambience and really enjoy their salon experience from the moment they walk through the door.” Brian Leo McCallum, Owner of ROAR Hair and Beauty has taken the time to consider the reception area in his salons: "We deliberately don’t have any reception desks in any of our three salons because we didn’t want a barrier between the guest and the stylist. We want our guests to feel instantly welcome, and even by referring to them as ‘guests’, we are setting high expectations from the beginning."

It All Starts At The Booking

That first connection whether it is via a phone call, over social media, email or in person is so important as you want to be yourself, but also a professional and a true representation of your brand and salon," says Brian Macmillan, Salon Director, F&M Hairdressing, adding: "We want our clients to feel welcomed and at ease when they first visit the salon and meet the team, so greeting with a smile and being friendly and true to self is always key!"

Making It Personal

Oliver Tobin, Operations Director for Rush Hair & Beauty tells us that as well as making the client feel comfortable in the salon the front of house team also pay attention to detail to create lasting first impressions. "We focus on the little things such as their name, pronouns, and take note of anything they need us to know from the beginning. All of these little things make the first impressions right and start the journey off on the right track." Ijan Davies, JOICO European Design Team, agrees adding: "Being a consumer facing industry, you want to ensure your are professional and with seven seconds to impress, you need to make sure you make the client feels relaxed and part of the salon. Asking their name, how they would like to be addressed when in the salon and taking note of the little, important details always helps."

"When we greet guests in the salon, we always use their first name and familiarise ourselves with their notes to ensure a warm and informed welcome," says Brian McCallum. 

Bring Your Staff On The Journey

Making sure your staff understand the salon experience from the point of view of the client is key to first impressions, says Louise Howard-Long, Owner of Architect Hair: "We use role play with our newcomers so they can understand how a client may feel having to wait longer than a few seconds, how they may be intimidated by the busyness of the salon or how they may just need a little reassurance of how much we are looking forward to looking after them. At Architect our style is casual, laid back and warm. From the moment clients enter the salon we throw 'the love' at our clients in bucketfuls! We want our clients to see straight away that this is a space they can relax, feel at home and enjoy the experience”

Take on Feedback

Santiago Figuero, Owner, Santi's London Aveda advises that taking on all feedback will continue to improve the salon experience for existing and new clients: “We pride ourselves on our customer service and always strive for better, learning from our guests' feedback. Any feedback whether good or bad is always good. There is always room for improvement and we must use it as constructive criticism to provide our guests with the best experience whilst increasing client retention.”

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