How customer-centric is your hair salon business? Have you reviewed your procedures lately? Is it time to tweak them?
Simply put, when a customer enters your hair salon, they embark on a journey. It is how well that journey goes that decides if their customer experience has been positive, negative, or neutral.
Satisfy Your Customers’ Pain Points
In an economy that is increasingly driven by client reviews and recommendations, positive customer experiences will differentiate your salon from the rest.
When a customer books an appointment with your salon, they have expectations. These expectations might be referred to as pain points. It’s your job to provide positive outcomes for your customers’ pain points.
A salon client’s pain points might include the ease with which an appointment is made, positive first impressions, ease of communicating with the stylist, a feeling of confidence with the stylish, an overall pleasurable experience, being charged a fair price, and being pleased with the resultant hairstyle.
Have the Right Perspective
Chances are you’ve been in business long enough to consider yourself a professional. You likely want to run your business your own way. Maybe your attitude is that your would-be client can either like it or lump it. But if you want to create long-term customer loyalty, you’ll need to take into account each customer’s thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and expectations.
Whether you like it or not, customers will start their evaluation of your salon the moment they read a review, hear a recommendation, or book their appointment. When a client enters your salon, their expectations may be off base, but they will exist. Each step of a client’s salon experience will either validate their expectations or turn them off. If you want a satisfied customer, you’ll need to adapt to what he or she expects.
Don’t Jump Ahead – Listen to Your Client
As a professional stylist, you might assume you know what to do with a customer’s hair just by glancing at him or her. However, if you jump ahead without first consulting with the client, you’ll lose valuable ground.
A cut and style should reflect your client’s personality and goals. You won’t know their personality or goals unless you’ve spent a bit of time engaging with them. So don’t just plunk them down and start washing and cutting their hair without getting to know them first.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what style you think is best for a client if in the end he or she doesn’t like it. If they don’t like the result or enjoy the experience, they may not return. Worse, they may give you a bad review.
A Customer Disaster
Here’s a scenario where the salon owner failed to provide a customer with a positive experience:
A new customer was changing salons as her former salon had closed. Someone had recommended the new salon to the customer through social media. The client looked at the salon’s website and was pleased with what appeared to be wonderful services offered.
The client booked the appointment online and in a reply was told the appointment would be with the salon’s owner since the owner preferred to welcome new clients herself.
Rightly or wrongly, the new client began to set expectations. She pictured receiving special treatment since the owner would be handling her appointment.
She pictured herself being warmly welcomed. She thought about what she wanted in a cut and practiced the conversation in her mind. She pictured being given a nice head and neck massage during the shampoo phase as she’d received in other fine salons.
The client arrived early for her appointment. The owner was the only one working. She looked at the new client strangely because the person who had booked the appointment failed to add it to the calendar. The owner bluffed pretending she was expecting the client.
Another woman entered, and the new client realized the appointment had been double booked, or not recorded at all. The new client was used to a full hour of service at other salons and feared that would not be the case now. After inquiring, the salon owner tried to ease the new client’s mind describing her method of serving two clients at once.
The salon owner sat the new client in the reception area while finishing her current client. While waiting, the client observed the salon’s environment. It didn’t seem as wonderful as the website portrayed. She noted a foul odor emanating from the nearby washroom.
The salon owner, confused by her calendar notes, hollered over to the new client something about re-doing her hair color. The new client hadn’t asked for hair color and took offense.
Putting two-and-two together, the client decided the owner had mixed her up with the woman who came in after her to have her hair colored. Indeed, the salon owner hadn’t been expecting her after all. She considered leaving and wondered how to do so gracefully.
The new client told the owner she’d come back another time, but the owner insisted she stay. Finishing with her prior client, she ushered the new client into the hair washing station and quickly began washing the client’s hair. There didn’t seem to be any lather, and there certainly was no head and neck massage as she’d hoped.
Befuddled, the client recalled she had hoped to discuss possible cuts while her hair was still dry to demonstrate what could be done, but she was not afforded the opportunity. Instead, there she sat like a vulnerable wet rat.
The salon owner assured the client that due to her profound experience as a stylist she instinctively knew what would look best on the client. She began cutting the client’s hair shorter than she wanted and remarked that a woman the client’s age shouldn’t wear her hair so long.
Tension had fully formed between the two no matter how sweet the stylist tried to be. The new client had shut down. There was only forced conversation.
For some reason, the owner decided to overcharge the new client as though she’d gone out of her way to serve her. The client paid the bill and never returned.
Improve Your Customer Experience Methods
It’s unfortunate that scenarios like this one above happen so frequently. The new client’s pain points weren’t well addressed.
Don’t be the salon that gets bad reviews or that is the brunt of gossip. No matter how many years you’ve been styling hair or how professional you feel you are, without a continual supply of happy paying customers, you won’t survive. No one becomes a beauty industry leader without listening to his or her customers and adjusting their methods.
A few simple changes may be all you need to raise the level of customer experience at your salon. Why not set aside time to build a clear plan that will help you retain clients and outperform the competition