The Importance of Communication in a Hair Salon

Cosmetologist practicing good communication skills with client in chair

Working in a salon means being in constant communication with clients. So, you’ll need to know how to ensure your clients are satisfied each time they leave your salon chair. While you want to understand your client’s wants and needs, you also want to communicate effectively with your customers.

Misunderstandings in communication could lead to dissatisfaction, which could result in bad reviews for your business. Effective communication is also important in any industry, and while you have the privilege of being creative in your line of work, you should still make sure each client is satisfied. Keeping up with your skills and being knowledgeable about styling trends are necessities for maintaining a client base. Of course, you’ll also need to know how to convey these skills to customers in a way they can understand.

Some helpful communication tips to use in your salon to make sure your client is happy each time they visit include active listening, being professional, being patient, asking the right questions, encouraging openness, and continued interaction.

Active Listening

It’s important to hear what your client is saying, and to actually listen to them. Active listening means reiterating what the client is saying to make sure you have clarification about the cut, style, or treatment the customer wants. If the client doesn’t bring a picture of the hairstyle they want, you can show them a picture from your styling books to offer a visual aid. This will make it easier for your client to point out the aspect of the style they want and be more detailed in their descriptions.

After you’ve intently listened to your customer, you should explain how to care for the style and color in between salon visits. You can also recommend certain hair products like shampoos and conditioners that will nourish the hair and maintain color. Try not to come across as “selling” the products you have available in the salon, simply let them know that the items are for sale. If you’re working with a regular client, they may feel more comfortable with learning about your inventory and may even ask you which products they can purchase.

Be Professional

Maintaining a professional demeanor throughout the entire client experience is one of the best forms of customer service. Your client is coming to you as their expert and is trusting you to give them a style they love while improving the health of their hair. To make sure you can answer client questions and provide the best service, you should sign up for continuing education courses. Due to changes in trends and technological updates, there are always new styling tools and techniques. As a professional, you should always be up to date on the styles.

When asked about procedure to implement a certain style or needs to know how to keep their hair healthy, you should know how to answer these questions in detail. If you seem uncertain, they will lose faith in your styling abilities.

Off-Limits Conversations in a Hair Salon

Professionalism also means making sure you’re not having inappropriate conversations with your client, other clients or fellow stylists. The hair salon is often known as a hub for gossip and some clients may even be looking for this when they visit the salon. However, you should make sure your environment is stress-free and non-toxic. Some clients may see their salon visits as a time to relax or as a form of self-care. It’s essential that clients feel comfortable confiding in you and shouldn’t get the impression that they will be talked about once they leave the salon.

Be Patient with Communication

When it comes to client communication, you’ll have to exhibit a considerable amount of patience. Sometimes clients can be difficult if they are frustrated about the current state of their hair. Other customers will expect you to read their minds and won’t give you much information. You may encounter clients who don’t want to talk much or answer questions when you ask them about what they want. There are also times when you’ll have to tell clients that the style, they want may not be best. While one of the first rules you learn in customer service is that the customer is always right. You are the professional in the situation, and if you give a customer the style they want and their hair sustains more damage, they will likely blame you.

Of course, you’ll have to be gentle and friendly when you tell clients that they may need to receive more conditioning treatments before getting color or that a haircut might by the best way to ensure their hair grows back healthily. You should explain the reasons for your professional opinion and show a few pictures to give clients an idea of the styles that would work best for them.

Ask the Right Questions

Another way you can ensure you’re keeping the lines of communication open with your clients is to ask the right questions. If you’re styling a client who has visited your salon before, you should ask questions about the style the customer wants based on their personality. Chances are you’ve also learned a little about the client’s lifestyle, so make sure that the style the client wants will fit their busy lifestyle. For instance, if your customer works the night shift at a clinic or hospital, a style that keeps the hair in place for several days at a time and doesn’t require much maintenance may be best. However, if your client is a model or creative professional, you may want to go with a style that the client can change or update easily in between salon visits.

Ask your client how often they wash or straighten their hair. Make sure you know whether the client wants to maintain their natural hair texture. Inquire about the colors the client wants in their hair and advise them about the specialty shampoos that are necessary to keep the color intact. Some colors may not be suitable for professional environments, so you can talk to your client about variations on the same color that will help them achieve their style goals. For instance, if the customer wants bright red hair but works in a corporate setting, you may want to suggest a burgundy or a natural red color that will match the client’s skin tone. This allows the customer to update their look while still adhering to their office dress code.

Encourage Openness

One of the best things you can do as a stylist is to make your clients feel at ease telling you their hair history. People are often embarrassed when they’ve spent years coloring their hair themselves and are now dealing with damaged strands. Other clients may be apprehensive about coming to the salon after not getting a haircut or having their ends trimmed. It’s up to you to ensure that your clients feel at ease talking to you about the condition of their hair and what they want to achieve with their style. If a customer feels that you’re looking down on them or criticizing them for the health of their hair, they will be less likely to come to you for future appointments or to refer you to other clients.

Reassure your clients that even though it may take some time, you can work with them to restore the health of their hair. In addition to providing top-notch services, you should also give your customers tips for how to wash and style their hair before visiting the salon again. Clients may also be looking to you to find out which habits they should avoid, to achieve healthy hair. Giving your clients tips about eating healthy foods for great hair or protecting the hair during workouts are invaluable and show your clients you care.

Continued Interaction

These days, communication comes in various forms. So, even after your client leaves, you should maintain interaction to promote brand recognition and showcase your skills. Setting up a social media page and posting videos of helpful hair care tips can solidify your professional reputation. Using social media as a marketing tool is important for many professionals these days. In your videos and on social media, you can also offer discounts and promotions that will motivate established clients to continue to use your services. Of course, these discounts can also appeal to first-time customers who are looking for a new stylist in their area or who have heard about your services.

When you interact with new, existing, and potential clients, you’re establishing yourself as one of the best in the business. You can also provide discounts for the clients who are willing to style their hair on video. Sometimes, these videos can help for marketing. Of course, you can also showcase your styling abilities on your own hair.  It makes you trustworthy in the eyes of clients. After all, if you’re not afraid to style, cut or color your own hair, you’re sending the message that clients have nothing to worry about when they sit in your chair.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about the importance of communication in a hair salon interest you? Need to get your undergraduate certificate in cosmetology? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting. We keep our class sizes small to make sure you get the individualized instruction you need and attention you deserve. You will graduate with everything you need to be a versatile artist in an exciting industry, including a cosmetology diploma from a respected college.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a hairstylist and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

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