Many have heard about it or experienced it time and time again. You enter a hair salon or barbershop hoping to leave a more attractive you, but by the time you emerge, you’re aggravated and frustrated after spending hours waiting to get your ‘do done.
From stylists eating while grooming to unsupervised screaming kids to lewd gossip, the complaints about unprofessionalism in beauty salons can be endless. And at a time when jobless numbers are at a 25-year high, small businesses are struggling in a tight credit market, and stress levels for Americans are at high levels, a bad experience at the salon or barbershop can mean losing a loyal customer and much-needed profit.
“Customer service is extremely important in a salon or spa because of the amount of time spent there,” says Chris Bryant, executive coach and founder of Rapport Strategies, a Los Angeles-based customer service and business etiquette consulting company. “It’s also important because it involves a service that is emotional for many people and one they take very seriously — how they look. Therefore that experience can either create a life-long advocate or a life-long adversary.”
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with some industry heavyweights for strategies on how to upgrade your salon or barbershop to boost morale and customer retention. (And you don’t just have to be in the grooming industry to benefit from knowing the tried and true do’s and don’ts of customer service.)
On valuing your customer:
Stylist/Owner, Lavish Hair Spa, Durham, N.C.
Realize that you are more than a stylist — you are also a trusted adviser. Stay current in your knowledge and be able to offer clear, informed advice.
Value your client as a person, not as a paycheck. Learn about your client’s dreams, desires, and goals–for their hair and for their life– and customize a hair care and maintenance program based on their needs.
Be honest with your client. Sometimes that means telling them what they need to hear about their hair versus what they want hear.
On upgrading the experience:
Celebrity Stylist/Owner, Edris Salon, New York
Don’t provide a large menu of services if you only have the time and money to invest in one or two of them. I would rather have a tightly edited list of service options, offering the most luxurious experiences, than to provide lots of options with low standards.