Turn Your Service into a Client “Experience”

by Amy Colvin

Customer Service is the phrase of the decade. It is defined as: “The provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase,” and “A series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction. That is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer’s expectation.”

Although this may be the definition of customer service, the issue is that everyone knows this, expects this and seeks a place to experience more than just this.

Factually, we may please our client. They may get more happiness from you than any other salon. They even may see the value for the money they are spending.

All these facts are essential for good customer service. However, is that enough to keep a client? You probably are a great stylist. Heck, you may even be the best in your state. Nevertheless, if you are not doing more than the above, you may be at risk of losing business.

So, how do we step up customer service these days? What do clients want when they step into a salon? Let me begin by saying this, clients are not simply customers, they are people. They live, breathe and feel. We have turned into a professional industry, and customer service has lost its feeling and emotion. Thank goodness we are serious about being professional, but why can’t we combine the emotional connection of yesteryear with the professionalism of today?

Stylists want to be taken seriously. We are often compared with the medical profession, but doctors have time restraints, and only enough time to diagnose and prescribe. We have time to listen, diagnose, prescribe, teach, bond and care. Do not miss this opportunity. The power we hold is underrated. Think about this…a big part of a person’s mood and personality for the day is influenced by how their hair looks.

Most chose this profession due to their love of people. Care “about” your clients instead of “for” them. Help them achieve a great mood every day. Instead of just giving customer service, start giving a customer experience, which begins the moment you greet them.

Smiling is your first interaction with your client. They see it before they even meet you. Welcome them to your salon as if you are meeting a long lost friend for lunch. Introduce yourself, look them in the eye, shake hands or even hug them if it is appropriate. Maybe throw in an icebreaker about the weather. Make them feel at ease, at home. Take your time even if you are rushed. They need to sense they are the only one on your mind. They are the most important subject for you at that particular time. Stay “in the moment.”

Guide them to your chair. Stay close as opposed to rushing back and expecting them to follow. Make sure to consult with each client, even, and especially, the ones who have been your clients for years. The goal of a consultation is more than just talking with them. It is about gaining their trust, listening to them, and repeating their words back to them. One small thing that makes a notable difference while consulting is raising the chair to your eye level so you are not talking down to them. Listen while in front of them instead of through the mirror.

Let me give you a profound statement that will change how you consult: “It’s not the client’s responsibility to communicate how they want their hair. It is the stylist’s responsibility to find out what would make the client happiest.” How often do you hear clients say, “I’m not sure if I’m explaining this right,” or “I’m not sure if this makes sense, but…?” It is our job to help them communicate. The worst statement ever said in a consultation is “How would you like me to cut your hair today?”

Listen, repeat, ask intelligent, inquisitive questions, understand and communicate always.

Teach them. Remember the old Vidal Sassoon commercial that said, “If you don’t look good, I don’t look good”? That is, oh, so true. If you teach them to do their hair, they are a walking advertisement for you. Do you ever hear a client say, “I’m not sure if I’m doing this right (referring to the styling)”? When I hear that, I tell them, “If it looks good, then you did it perfectly.” Products are a large part of this lesson. Remember, you are not “selling” them; you are “helping” them. They want help, and if they don’t get it from you, they will get it from someone else.

When completing the service, the worst phrase to use is, “Call me if you have any problems.” If you tell them they might have problems, then they will. Replace that phrase with, “Call me if you have any questions.” It works.

These are just a few tips to help transform our service into care and concern for not the money that sits in our chairs, but the people. Change their lives. Make a difference. Connect with them. Take the time to be more than just a professional to them. You will never regret working your career in this style, I promise.

Amy Colvin is the one who created the “Foolproof Updoing” system. Besides educating hairstylists with her seminars, she specializes in updos, cuts and perms in a salon full time. www.foolproofupdoing.net or call 419-346-7699 for more information.

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