There are few things more frustrating than when a client walks into your salon with a DIY hair disaster and expects you to put it right. In fact, although it doesn’t happen anywhere near as often as it used to, we’d still say that fixing our customer’s hair mistakes is near the top of our ‘it quietly drives us a little bit crazy’ list.
Is there a time of year when this annoying phenomena is likeliest to happen? Well, in our experience, it’s pretty much now. Why? Probably because people are still feeling the financial pinch from Christmas and, with the weather getting colder and slushier, they’d rather stay warm indoors than trudge through the snow to their local salon. Or maybe they’ve just bought that gorgeous new hair colour at the supermarket, not read the instructions correctly, and emerged from the bathroom with a barnet of green neon candy floss…
So, what do you do when your embarrassed customer climbs sheepishly into your chair and sends you a ‘please make me look fabulous again’ SOS? First – smile, reassure them that it’s not as bad as it seems (!) and count very quietly to ten. And then…
Take Charge and Turn on the Charm
If there’s ever a time when your client doesn’t want to look at themselves in the mirror and wishes they were somewhere else, it’s probably now. So, keep everything light and relaxed and they’ll quickly realise that much worse things happen in life and you know exactly how to put things right.
“Everybody Does It!”
It’s important for them to know they’re not alone, and that you’ve seen your fair share of botched hair! As stylists, we’ve got to remember that our clients don’t have the same ‘eye’ that we do so when they’re at home innocently trying to copy some great photo on Pinterest they’re probably not stopping to consider if this is the look that’s going to be right for them, or whether they’ve got the skills to actually achieve it. Even gently cutting a fringe looks simple enough until they’ve made the first snip, and then it’s guaranteed tears before bedtime!
Be Honest (but sweetly!)
Let’s face it, if they’ve hacked their locks with the scissors or sheared themselves like a short-sighted sheep farmer there’s very little you can do except a very emergency repair, and that might mean cutting their hair back even shorter to erase the damage and then convincing them that this is the perfect season for a radical new style that they’re going to love! Still, who knows – by the end of the appointment they might find themselves with a look they’ve always wanted to try but were never quite brave enough to ask for… your ‘hair rescue’ may have opened up a whole new world of chic possibilities!
Keep Their Expectations Low and Deliver High
This is the perfect opportunity to build the perfect stylist/client relationship, so how do you do it? By not making big promises, keeping their hopes realistic and then delivering a style that’s going to rock their world! And if this is going to take a few appointment sessions to get absolutely right, tell them that at the start of the consultation so they’ll immediately realise that you have integrity and they can trust your judgement. It also means they’ll soon be back in your chair for those ‘small tweaks’ to make them look perfect.
This counts for you as well as your client. Stay focused and relaxed, be mindful of everything that you do, and let yourself work your magic. You’re a professional and thanks to you it’s guaranteed that they’ll look and feel a lot better than they did when they walked into your salon. Also, before the appointment ends make sure to top-up the stylist/client goodwill by offering some breezy hair maintenance advice that will tide them over until you see each other again.
Besides, the lovely thing about hair is that it always grows back… eventually!