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Be a cut above the rest!

How to give the kind of amazing customer service that guarantees client loyalty.

You’re a great hairdresser, and where your styling skills are concerned, you never give less than a 100%. But don’t be lulled into thinking that your technical excellence is enough to keep your customers coming back for more. The truth is, there are more salons than ever opening up on UK high streets and more self-employed hairdressers going mobile and taking their skills into their customer’s homes. If you’re going to remain ahead of your competition, you can’t just rely on your talent. You’re going to need the kind of good old-fashioned customer service skills that will make you – quite literally – a cut above the rest!

Get your game face on!
To begin with, let’s talk about attitude and dress code. If you and/or your team are going to give your clients confidence in your work, it starts from the very first moment they walk into your salon (or you walk into their home.) Do the clothes you’re wearing convey your professionalism? Do you have the kind of positive, friendly can-do approach that is so crucial to the success of any long-term stylist/customer relationship? After all, your client is placing a lot of trust in your abilities to meet their needs and make them look as fabulous as possible, so they have to be immediately assured that when they’re sitting in your chair, they are absolutely in the right hands. Take time to help them relax – who knows what sort of day they’ve had before this appointment? – and when they tell you what kind of style or treatment they’d like today, really listen to what they have to say, offer your suggestions as appropriate, and make sure you’ve both agreed on the best way forwards before you even begin picking up the scissors.

Listen up!
Remember, hairdressing isn’t only a service business – it’s a communications industry. When you really listen to your client, and there’s an open and honest dialogue between you, it not only means you’ll do the best job possible but that they will also feel valued and respected. Equally as importantly, taking the time for a proper consultation hugely reduces the risk of something going wrong. It is estimated that 95% of complaints can usually be traced back to a lack of communication at the consultation stage.

Read the room!
Remember, you should always treat your customer the same way you would expect to be treated. Be friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. If they want to talk and share their secrets with you, enjoy the banter and the chance to share some views about the world but always be sensitive and discreet. If they want to be quiet, respect that too. Many people like to simply ‘zone out’ and enjoy the experience of being pampered so don’t misinterpret their silence and think there’s something wrong, or push them for conversation when their minds are quite clearly somewhere else. Where tip-top customer service is concerned, learning to read your customer is vitally important.
Having said that, you should always ‘check in’ from time-to-time to make sure that your customer is comfortable – asking them “how does that feel” or “how does that look” doesn’t only give them a chance to ask questions, voice concerns or – hopefully – confirm that everything is going okay, but it gently reinforces that you are completely intent on making them happy. And, by the same token, you should always tell your client about the products and techniques you are using, and any small tips or tricks they could try at home to keep the style looking as fresh as possible. It’s this kind of attentiveness and sharing that will leave your client feeling happy and satisfied long after the appointment is over.

It’s all in the detail!
Finally, it’s always a good idea to create a brief record for each client – just small details about how they like their coffee, what you talked about, and any preferences or concerns they’ve got that are worth noting. Then, the next time they arrive, they’ll be especially delighted about how well you’ve remembered them. It’s an old trick, but it works!

The bottom line is, the happier you leave your client feeling, the more likely they are to return – and recommend you to their friends. Never forget that you’re not just giving your client a fantastic haircut, you’re also giving them an emotional experience. Getting your customer service skills absolutely right could ultimately make all the difference. 
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