Ever noticed that when people go to a bar, they tell the bartender secrets that they wouldn’t even tell their best friend? For some hairstylist that make strong relationships with their clients, they can experience this therapy-style interaction as well. The client may see the hairstylist every month for years. Like a bartender, clients may ask your advice about life decisions.
Many people will come to the salon after a long day and want to vent about what happened. Some of your clients will just need a safe place to relax. Put your clients at ease and create a safe and comfortable atmosphere to relax. They may even want to talk and that is ok. Be a good listener. You are essentially a stylist therapist.
What is a Stylist Therapist?
A client sees you on a regular basis and has a large block of time that they will be spending with you. During an appointment, your client may begin opening up to you about what is going on in their life. They are trusting you to be their confidant. Nothing can hurt a relationship quicker than divulging sensitive information about a client behind their back to other stylists or clients. Keep conversations confidential, like a therapist, while talking with the client like a close friend.
You will find, however, that some people that sit in your chair don’t want to talk at all. They just want to relax and enjoy time away from work or family. It is important to identify this type of client and respect their wishes. Take the time to understand what they are looking for in the beginning of the styling appointment and then let them enjoy the time sitting in the chair.
How Should a Stylist Therapist Relationship Work?
It is important to keep your client relaxed, while still keeping the conversation professional. While you should steer clear of controversial topics, a client may confide in you about more sensitive topics and struggles. It’s important to show your client support and compassion.
If a controversial topic does come up, find ways to redirect the conversation to something lighter. You don’t want to silence your customer, but you should remember that a salon is not the best atmosphere for all subjects.
Skills of a Hairstylist
A good hairstylist will have a specific skill set that will help them succeed. From active listening and good communication to empathy and discretion. This set of skills will serve you well as you work with your clientele. If you don’t have all these skills yet, you are in luck. You not only learn a lot of these skills during a cosmetology program but everyday that you work as a hairstylist, you will hone your skills, mastering them as you progress in your career.
Skill #1: Active Listening
As a hairstylist, you will do a lot of listening. Whether you must infer what a client wants for a specific hairstyle or just want to be a sympathetic ear for your client to vent after a long day. Take the time to listen to your client. It is important for you to understand what the client wants, and good communication skills, in particular active listening, will allow you to know exactly what they want and how you can help.
Part of active listening is good body posture. Be open to what the client is saying, smile and nod when they say something that makes sense. Occasionally make eye contact with them as you look at them in the mirror in front of you.
Skill #2: Good Communication
Part of good customer service is clear and concise communication. Strong communication skills will allow you to not only offer a positive atmosphere but also help you sell salon products. Many of your clients will want your advice on their hairstyle and what salon products will help them keep the style in between appointments. Use communication to your advantage but only, when necessary, as listening is your most powerful tool.
Skill #3: Empathy
Part of being a good listener is understanding what the client is going through and know that they just need someone to listen to them. Try to show the client that you care with your words and gestures, so they feel comfortable and enjoy their day at the salon.
Skill #4: Non-Judgmental
When a client has a bad day or wants to rant about a situation, it is your responsibility to not judge them for their words or actions. It is good for you to just listen and be a sympathetic ear for them to express themselves without judgement.
Skill #5: Discretion
Your clients may tell you very personal information about themselves and nothing ruins a relationship faster than gossip. Like a therapist or medical professional, you should keep the intimate details of your client’s lives to yourself and not divulge any of the information to anyone else. This can break a client’s trust in you, losing them as a client forever.
Becoming a hairstylist is part creative and part therapeutic. You will have a lot of down time with clients as they sit in your chair. Why not build a strong relationship with them by listening to them vent? The stronger the relationship, the more loyal they will become, and you may even have a client for life. The first step of any journey is always the hardest. The first step to a career as a hairstylist is completing a cosmetology program at a vocational school, so take the first step and start a rewarding career as a hairstylist today.
Want to Learn More?
Did learning about what a stylist therapist is interest you? 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.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and start a rewarding career in the beauty industry.