How to Handle Client Complaints

Every salon owner dreads THAT phone call…a disgruntled customer is on the other end, unhappy with the service they received.

 

NOT good.

 

However, it is how we deal with these complaints that define us. Even the most experienced of stylists can be caught off guard and have to rectify a misunderstanding.

 

So what DO you do if a customer is unhappy?

 

Listen up! Be sensitive and remember, communication is key!

 

Lending a sympathetic ear is key, as the client has chosen to return to you to put right what was wrong. Chosen being the operative word here, as they could have gone elsewhere and never come back, leaving you wondering what you ever did wrong. They are effectively giving your salon a second chance and want a solution.

Let the client talk and explain the problem, without cutting in. Constructive criticism is part and parcel of owning a salon and running a business. You need to understand WHY they are unhappy and where the problem lies, which leads me nicely to my next point.

 

Understand the problem – Why are they fault finding?

 

After you have let them finish talking, it is important to show empathy and clarify what the problem is. It is likely communication that has got you into this predicament in the first place, so it is vital to be crystal clear in communication moving forward.

Double and triple repeat what they are saying and what YOU are saying to ensure you have fully understood their needs and want to correct the issue at hand.

By doing so, you show you are considerate but authoritative and in a position to put it right, in the hope that it puts the client at ease after the conversation has taken place.

 

Admit fault, don’t get defensive. Show you hear them.

 

IF you or your staff were at fault, the best thing to do is hold your hands up and admit it.

Whether it was miscommunication, a misunderstanding or a results based promise that didn’t come off. Whatever it is be honest.

Even if you believe this not to be the case, the customer is always right as they say! And sometimes you have to suck it up and keep calm.

Regrettably, most complaints will happen in the salon environment, in front of other customers, so it is important to be aware of your surroundings and handle in a professional manner to get the best outcome.

However, if a client behaves disrespectfully or is abusive. You are perfectly within your rights to terminate the conversation and ask them to leave if they continue to do so. You can only put it right with some cooperation on their part too.

 

Actions speak louder than words, now put it right.

 

Hopefully you have managed to negotiate an outcome that you are both happy with. Now you must put that plan into action and set out how you plan to do so.

Calibrate and explain to the client what you will do to rectify said problem and who will be dealing with them. This should iron out any concerns they may have and that the problem is unlikely to be repeated.

 

Learn from the experience. Key take aways:

 

It can be an upsetting experience for both the client and you as a stylist/salon owner, so it is important that we learn from these mistakes to avoid a repeat performance.

Ensure staff have extensive training and comprehensive consultations with their clients to avoid any mishaps in the first place.

This can help guarantee that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and the clients expectations can be fulfilled to the highest degree.

 

Prevention better than cure, how to avoid it happening again.

 

Communicate!! Be very clear about your understanding of what they are asking. By this I mean don’t just nod and make the right noises, if you have not fully grasped what their demands are. Ensure you have BOTH understood each other and be transparent in your aims, ask questions to further clarify if needs be, and encourage your client to reciprocate.

 

Mistakes cost the salon money as you can rarely charge for amendments and your staff are having to block out further time to remedy the issue. Minimising the risks at the beginning of an appointment with a thorough consultation is a good place to start.

 

It is much easier to retain than gain as the saying goes. So make it a high priority within your salon to address any issues should they arise, head on and ensure your team has an in depth understanding on how to minimize the risk of it happening again.

 

Have a policy in place:

 

A great way to know how to deal with complaints before they arise is to have a complaint policy in place. This way your staff have a point of reference and guide should any issues arise. To find out HOW to create a complaints policy for your salon, please click here! And I will take you through step by step.

 

Thanks for reading, I hope this article has given you something to think about and help you in your daily life as a Salon owner/Miracle worker!

 

Remember folks my motto is: Under promise, Over deliver!

 

What do you do when things go wrong? Have you tried any of these techniques?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids Cuts…Are They Worth The Hassle?

Children are our future, but what about the future of your business?

 

Today I wanted to discuss my thoughts on whether offering children’s haircuts within your salon is good for business?

When you look at the figures in black and white, the answer is irrevocably a resounding ‘No’. That is if you stick to the traditional pricing structure of kids cuts at a reduced price within your salon.

It all stems back to the ambiance that you are trying to portray within your salon, if you want to be a high end salon, you need to take a leaf from others already at the top of their game and emulate their business models.

 

Examples of how other salons do it:

 

So I put my super sleuth hat on and did the hard work for you 🙂 (Does anyone else hear the Pink Panther music in the background?!)

I took the liberty of researching this topic in more depth, and my findings are pretty interesting.

Let’s look at how other salons tackle this concern:

 

Toni & Guy:

 

Of course this is a household name so a great place to start!

On their website, there is no mention of children’s haircuts in their pricing structure. Now I’m not suggesting that they don’t do kids cuts at all, but not displaying prices suggests they don’t specialize in them or advertise to that target market. Smart move!

Alternatively it could infer that they DO do children’s haircuts and charge an adult price for the service received.

 

Charles Worthington:

 

Another award winning hairdresser and highly esteemed name in our industry, so I wanted to check out their angle on children’s haircuts.

On exploration of Charles Worthington’s site, it appears they offer children’s haircuts with some staff – but not all.

It also states that the age restriction is 15 years on children’s cuts, so presumably after that they are deemed as an adult therefore pay full price.

Children’s cuts are offered with stylists and advanced stylists, anyone more senior than these roles, do not offer them.

 

Daniel Galvin:

 

Now Daniel Galvin’s salon is listed as one of the top 10 salons in London as listed in Harper’s Bizarre. He received an OBE for his contribution to hair colour and the industry, and his salons are renowned for the best colourists and stylists around today.

I sifted through Daniel Galvin’s website to cast a light on what policies he doctors for children’s cuts.

Much like Charles Worthington, children’s haircuts are offered with some stylists and the top stylists offer them ‘on request only’.

 

Is this the best use of your time?

How many times have you politely informed a parent that their child’s haircut will ‘Usually take longer than 10 minutes’?!

After advising them that you have no available slots for their child and they argue ‘Surely you can squeeze them in… it won’t take long’.

Famous last words as you are battling with an obstinate 2 year old who is squirming to get away from the ‘horrible person’ jabbing at them with scissors!

I don’t know about you, but it is certainly NOT my ideal day spent at the salon!

 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of offering children’s haircuts within your salon:

 

Pros:

  • It reinforces to parents that you are a child friendly salon, even if they are not bringing their child in for a haircut at this stage. Think mothers with young babies or those who can’t get a sitter!
  • It helps establish a good relationship with your clients and their families. I have whole families that come to me, which is a lovely way to build a stronger bond as you get to know the family unabridged.
  • Anyone who has approached your salon and has only received a child’s haircut to date, is maybe more likely to inquire about your other services and become a customer as a result of visiting with their child because you are more credible.
  • Children’s haircuts can be great for filling in unwanted slots on a day to day basis. This is because most parents call on the off chance to book their children in. They don’t usually plan too far ahead as they would for their own appointments.
  • ‘Forever young, I want to be forever young’! Kids don’t stay kids forever, so when they do grow up, you have already instilled a trust with them. And they will likely continue long into adulthood (or at least until they go to university!)

 

Cons:

  • Head lice!!! Need I say more?!
  • Parents go elsewhere. In my experience as a hair stylist we have some customers who bring their children to us, but visit elsewhere for their own hair needs. Why is this do you think? It could be the salon they attend does not offer children’s haircuts, or they charge more than we do. This needs to be taken into consideration if you are looking to offer this service within your salon.
  • Your clients pay a lot of hard earned money to sit in your chair, do they really want other people’s kids running wild in the salon? They may be coming to you to get a some relief from their own crazy busy lives.
  • The math doesn’t add up. By this I mean, you book the same half an hour slot for a child as you would an adults cut, but you charge less than half price?! Now I don’t profess to be Einstein or even close, but the answer is staring you right in the face!
  • Leading on to my next point in that a 14 year adolescent can have the same amount of hair (if not more) than any adult. If an adult asked you for a half price haircut, would you give it to them?
  • You are not advised to colour any child aged 16 or under, even with parental consent. For more information please see here. Therefore there is less opportunity to sell to these young clients, resulting in potentially lesser earnings for your business.
  • There is a reason many salons choose NOT to specialize in this aspect of hairdressing. This business model does not work as well as a traditional salon. This is why many children only salons offer ‘party packages’ as a way to expand their services and make a more suitable turnover.

 

Why you should consider carefully IF you should offer them

 

Now we have carefully looked at both sides you need to consider IF you should offer children’s haircuts within your salon and if so look into WHY. How are they adding value to your business?

 

Ask yourself and your staff these crucial questions:

 

  • Do you want to be cutting children’s hair? It does have limitations with regards to our creative integrity. Colouring is not an option and schools very often have strict rules to adhere to where haircuts are concerned.
  • Is it worth providing this service? Going back to timings, if you have a half hour slot available, do you really want a child’s cut in place of an adult? When you will potentially slash your earning ability in half?
  • What is a fair price for a child’s hair cut? Will you stick to the conventional structure of cheaper rates for children?
  • Who is willing to offer them as part of their services? Will your self employed staff be willing to take on this duty, or just keep it to employed staff only?

 

Actionable advice, what can you take away from this post?

 

Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not hating on kids cuts! I just wanted to illustrate the importance of HOW you offer them if you do at all, in a way that gives you the best chance at running a successful salon.

 

Here are some suggestions as to how to administer them within your salon:

 

  • You could allocate certain time slots that are open for children’s haircuts in the working week. For example 3 pm through till 4.30 pm. This way it minimizes kids taking up valuable time when other clients may want your time, it should tie in with school finishing times too.
  • In my salon, we have a policy in that we do not do children’s haircuts on a Saturday. This is reserved for other clients that have trouble attending an appointment in the week because of work commitments. We will breach this if the parent is willing to pay full price for the child’s hair cut. In which case it makes no difference to the staff.
  • You could enforce a rule that you only do children’s hair if the parent comes to the salon as a client. This cuts down on the parents bringing their kids to your salon because you are a cheaper option.
  • You could sanction that only employed members or junior members of the team offer kids cuts. This way you are not writing them off completely and the staff should approve as they are being paid regardless of their intake.
  • Another possibility is you could limit the intake of children per day. So you could restrict it to 2 kids per day for example? This way, it helps prevent the influx of children’s haircuts we seem to receive at the end of the summer vacation. Or do certain days in the school holidays, pick a usually quiet day and confine it to that day only.
  • Increase the price. Again this filters out the visits as a cheap option. Those that are willing to pay a higher cost for their children will value you more. We implemented this in my salon a while back, and have seen a noticeable difference in children’s traffic, in that we have dramatically reduced the amount of children coming through the door.

 

So to round up, I hope I have given you something to think about when it comes to whether or not you offer children’s haircuts in your salon by looking at how our idols tackle this topic, if we try and covet some of their attributes your salon success can be assured.

 

Remember, if you put value on what you produce, parents will pay for your expertise and others will too! Don’t be put off children’s haircuts as a service – but work smarter and reflect on HOW you offer them if you so decide. 

I hope you have found my content helpful today, as always I welcome your feedback. So please do comment with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

 

Do you offer children’s haircuts within your salon? Do you have any rules you adhere to in this area?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patch Tests, Do they Really Matter?

Hello and welcome to Salon Saviour! (Welcome back if you are already one of my angels 😉 )

So today I wanted to delve into patch tests and how important they really are.

In answer to my question in the title ‘Do they really matter?’

YES, YES AND YES!!!

Now I know some of you may disagree with me on this one, and it is only my humble opinion. But I hope to convince you of the value of their significance within the salon throughout this article!

I cannot reiterate this strongly enough! They are what determines us as professional figures within this industry. People pay for our competence in this area and if we are willing to just ‘wing it’ this sadly doesn’t say much for our professional integrity. Not to mention the damage we could do by not adhering to these rules.

Here are the fundamentals as to why we ALWAYS need to do patch tests and how doing so will help your salon succeed:

  • Most importantly, they determine whether or not the colour system used in your salon is compatible with your customers skin and hair.

Some people are allergic to the chemical paraphenylenediamine (PPD) contained in many permanent and semi permanent hair dyes, which is a known irritant and allergen. It’s this that is usually the culprit of most reactions to hair dye. (But you remember all this right?! From your days at college?! Just testing!! 🙂 )

I don’t need to tell you about the horrors that could arise from not following this simple procedure.

  • You will not be insured if the inevitable does happen as a result of not complying.

From a health and safety stand-point, if you have not acted in accordance with the instructions on the hair dye. Your insurance will not pay out!!

Not only will you have an upset client on your hands, your day is about to get a whole lot worse when your policy is invalidated because of a foolish mistake.

  • Clients are much more salon savvy these days.

The internet is such an accessible tool in recent years, this coincides with people being more in the know about a broader range of topics.

In my salon we have even had people inquire about patch tests and if they need to have one or not? This alone exhibits that we really must follow these procedures to the letter.

We have all seen the growing number of accident and injury adverts on television and the trend to expose any minor misdemeanor at work.

Don’t take the risk or let it be you or your salon in jeopardy.

  • This is what set us apart from DIY jobs at home.

One of the reasons people choose to visit a salon instead of doing it themselves at home, is that we are the authority in this area. And they usually value our proficiency as hairdressers.

I appreciate that the box colours from the shelf DO state that a patch and strand test are a prerequisite of dying the hair. But being honest, how many people actually do this?

The answer I imagine, is very few.

So in summary:

Do it for all us hairdressers out there, stand up and be accountable!! It only takes minutes to do a simple patch test, yet it speaks volumes about our customer care and builds trust with clients which is what we strive for!

Can I get an Amen?!

I really value your feedback and would love to hear your thoughts on this post, or any others! Hit me up!

Do you employ a patch test policy? If not, how do you administer these rules within your salon?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want Free Advertising for your Salon? Here’s How!

Window displays, are you making the most of yours?

 

Hey you!! Yeah, thats right, i’m talking to you!! 😀 [Taps on monitor]

Hi there! Have I got your full attention? Great!

Grabbing attention is what you need your window display to do for your salon premises! You need it to do the talking for you, drive business inside and attract customers. It is the first thing they see even before entering your salon. So you want it to convey the right message to entice them inside. It is a key area in branding and retail, and many pass up on this ‘window of opportunity!’

In this post I’m going to share with you some top tips you can easily apply when planning out your salons window display.

 

Boost your retail sales

By displaying what you have to offer in a way of retail items, you can outreach further than your existing clientele.

By this I mean, anyone passing by can see you are stockists of X, Y and Z and therefore purchase as a result, which could increase your footfall through the door. This means extra income for your salon by simply exhibiting your stock!

Watch it have a positive impact on your business today!

 

Do your market research

Having an understanding of what people want is the basic rule of thumb when it comes to marketing right? So applying this to your window display ensemble will help you better understand your ideal customer and who you want to sell to.

Do you want to attract the ‘high end’ customers, who will buy whatever the latest product is, irrespective of the price? Or do you want to sell to a more ‘middle of the road’ crowd? Or savers, where an offer in the window might be more apt? 

A combination of both may do the trick? Although you may wish to be careful as with most things, trying to please all often results in not pleasing any! 

Be mindful of it looking like a strange amalgam of products, that send a mixed message about your salon and what’s inside. Keep it fluid and in keeping with your branding.

 

What’s your type?

Next you will need to decide: What TYPE of window display you want? Will it tell a story? Be whimsical or a little off the wall? All these need to be factored in before deciding which angle you will come in at.

Remember, BE CONSISTENT. You are building a brand so you need to keep it relevant and in correspondence with all areas of your salon. And you may want to reign in the amount of products you display too. Too few and it looks a little sad 🙁 but too many and people will struggle to see what you DO sell!

You are a hair salon after all, NOT the discount store!

 

Choose a theme, and keep it harmonious with your salon.

Picking a theme is the fun part! Changing with the seasons is a great one, as again you can switch your products in accordance to the time of year. Plus each season offers great potential to SELL, SELL, SELL!

Obviously Christmas is our major money maker in the hair industry as we know. But why stop here? Easter, Thanksgiving, Autumn, New Year (Spring) to mind.

Now more than ever, people are clued up on their hair needs at various stages throughout the year! So why not capitalise on this by being one step ahead on knowing what they want?! Stores like Macy’s and Saks fifth Avenue are renowned for their window displays. Take a page from their book and get creative!

What grabs your attention when walking past store fronts? Is it the colour scheme, theme, or the items themselves?

Have a think and tailor the space to your requirements.

 

What products make the cut?

Now here is where you need to think carefully about WHAT products you wish to display.

Again this depends invariably on what theme you have chosen. For example, if you have gone for a specific colour scheme, your chosen products need to compliment said theme. 

Will you focus on your best sellers? Or do you attempt to promote your less popular items in the hope they will sell within the right environment?

Everyone loves a bargain right?! So why not appeal to the majority and display some sale items too, these appeal to peoples bank balance and in turn your profits!

 

‘You’re the one that I want!’

Hone in on your prospective clients wants and needs.

Now by this I mean; people will generally buy what they NEED anyway. This is why adverts are so prevalent in today’s society. We are constantly being sold to, whether or not we realise OR want it!

Have you ever watched an advert for something you have never previously seen or heard of? Then suddenly, you NEED this item despite never having heard of it before! And immediately rush out to purchase it! (Just me?! 🙂 )

It is this exact scenario you need to re create for your passers by, the NEED to know “What is that product? I MUST inquire inside!”

 

Update your displays on the reg!

This is VITALLY IMPORTANT to ensure people take notice of your salon and see it as innovative.

Don’t get pigeonholed as ‘behind the times’ by leaving the same display for too long, it starts to lose impact. The idea gets stale and this will be perceived as a reflection inside your salon as well. 

Fear not! You don’t have to change up your display weekly (Unless of course you want to!) It can be as simple as modifying a few select products and their placement within the window. Keep it fresh and it will outwardly appear your salon is contemporary and keeping up appearances!

Another obvious pointer is keep it clean! Having old faded products sat gathering dust does NOT give a good first impression and as aforementioned will imply you are uncommitted to the well being of your salon, extending inside too! [GASP!]

 

Top tip!

On a budget?! No worries! All this talk of opulent window displays can be a tad daunting if you are just starting out!

The solution?

Have a nice shelving unit and use advertisements from products, to display with items to get your message across!

So to wrap up, if you could take away one point from this article it should be this;

Make the most of this area, be it big or small!

It is a key area for new customers and free promotion for product sales! Don’t neglect this prime real estate within your salon and make this your priority, if you haven’t already!

I would love to hear your feedback on this post? Please feel free to comment below guys 🙂

Will you hire someone to carry out the work for your window display? Or go it alone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blow Dry Bars – Not Just a Load of Hot Air!

Having a good blow dry can revamp tired, lank hair into a Hollywood starlet mane in 30 minutes! For this reason I wanted to dive headfirst into a relatively new approach to one of our regular services that has really taken off in the past couple of years. They are in airports and popping up as a global phenomenon – of course I am talking about…

Blow dry bars

I wanted to discuss how opening up your menu and if possible space, can dramatically increase your revenue. Sounds good right?

Conceptually it is nothing new, as blow drys have been around for decades! But teamed with today’s fast moving pace and need for convenience, the two marry up quite nicely.

Let’s look at some of the benefits to having a blowdry bar stationed in your salon shall we?

  • It is an asset to have as part of your salon. As you are able to market yourself in a different light to others, branching out offering something eminently different to that of a neighbouring salon. Your USP if you like!
  • Your income will increase as clients want convenience and will pay extra for it. Think booking your seat on an aeroplane, booking your allotted slot for your food delivery and so on. How many times do we have clients scheduled in for a blow out and are clearly in a hurry? So think of the returns if you offered an express version of this popular service, that is notably quicker.
  • You have a set price for blow dries but they all only take 30 minutes! This will minimise significantly on wait times as it will be the only service you offer in this part of the salon. Waiting times eat into your bottom line as you are unable to fit another client in the allotted space and potentially miss out on earnings. Expensive business!  

Having examined different models in this field, here are some points to take into consideration.

One thing I noted is taken from the highly esteemed Hershesons based in London UK. Here they offer 12 different styles for clients to choose from. All costing 30 GBP and taking merely 30 minutes of their time. If a client has thick hair, add a surcharge of 15 GBP if the appointment runs over the 30 minute allotted time, simple!

This is unquestionably a modern, innovative twist on the regular blow dry. Moving it into the 21st century away from shampoo, sets and hood dryers. Not that I’m old enough to remember these things I hasten to add!

It is a simple, clean clear cut slant on something we traditionally do everyday of the week, reinventing the wheel one might say!

They have images on their website of all 12 styles with fabulous names such as ‘Dirty Ballerina’ and ‘Wavy gravy’. All alongside a description of the look and an option to ‘Shop the look’ so you can recreate the effect at home. Another smart marketing strategy.

They even offer a 15 minute blow dry for 15 GBP – This is hair wash free and consists of dry shampoo and heat treatment to achieve a speedy version of the classics. This would be excellent for fitting in gaps in stylists columns and a great pick me up for the client.

This is another well thought out method to encourage sales and keeps clients wanting more. If you replicate this in your own salon, your sales record could ‘blow away’ (Pun totally intended 🙂 ) your previous one as a result.

Another acclaimed factor noted from ‘aer blowdry bar’ also based in London UK, was their tag line: “We open before your morning meeting and stay open for your dinner date.”

As a salon owner, if you can capture this essence and make it your objective you could be talking big bucks. I’m not talking open 24/7 365, but as cited earlier, people want convenience. Doing the regular 9-5 just doesn’t cut it in our industry. If sanctioned within your salon, it can really add some considerable weight to your profits.

Evening and weekends are our calling, and taking this concept on board in your salon could assist in a loaded column for these times.

Just as a foot note on this point; it is worth observing that this is plausibly a location based privilege, and perhaps won’t work as well in more rural areas. Large town and city based salons may see the benefits with more commuters and a higher foot fall at these times.

Now back to business – It is a business model that works for one sure fire reason; people can’t blow dry their own hair as well as us! I have clients say to me virtually daily, ‘I won’t ever get my hair to look like this when I do it’. And for that reason alone this approach works.

You will do well to advise clients to ‘book their look’ ahead of time, as availability is not guaranteed as with all our services. However having some availability on the day if feasible, bodes well for those last minute.coms (We all have them!)

It opens up a whole new territory previously untapped, using only TWO tools.

Hair Dryer and Brush.

(And a good set of biceps to power through those big brush blow dries in my experience)

A territory full of events, parties, pamper evenings, weddings, proms – the list is endless. You could even hire out this specific set of skills to home visits or offices. Blow drys are arguably one of the only home hairdressing services that we can carry out as adequately as in the salon environment itself.

You could offer gift vouchers explicitly for your blow dries. Hershesons offer gift cards for ‘omg one free blow dry’ priced at 30 GBP, ‘3 free blow drys’ priced at 90 GBP and so on so forth. These make great gifts, instead of the specified value gift cards. These unique vouchers could be best sellers in your retail area, especially around the Hallmark holidays; Valentines day, Mothers day etc, something for every occasion!

As ‘Blow dry express’ states, they keep their costs low by focusing on what matters; giving clients the awesome hair they deserve! They have no receptionist and keep to their core niche.

You can add extras onto the blow dry menu such as scalp massages for a small supplement or conditioning treatments to further expand your services. For those clients who are wanting a little more than the 30 minutes, and a stress busting solution to their busy lives. 

What are you waiting for?! If you have an existing salon and are considering diversifying and opening an additional salon, a blow dry bar could be your next venture!

Blow Drying is our bread and butter as hairdressers. If calibrating an old setup to make our clients day a little less stressful and boost their confidence is what we need to do it’s in our duty of care. After all, isn’t that why we became hairdressers in the first place?

Thanks for reading and please fire away with any questions or comments!

What are your thoughts on blow dry bars? Has this article enthused you to consider one? Have you already tapped into this marketplace?