By AHP Staff
Whether you’re a hairdresser or a barber, you deal with people all day long. We all want to offer stellar customer service, but sometimes the basics fall by the wayside. Here’s a reminder of how we can engage our clients, whether they are coming to see us for the first time or have been booking hair services with us for years.
7 Ways to Engage Your Clients
1. A smile is worth a thousand words. A smile projects positive body language and lets your client know you are happy to see them. Even when you might be having a bad day, a genuine smile improves your mood and reminds you to be aware of how you come across with your words and actions.
2. Call your client by name often. If the client is new to you, address them using a courtesy title: “Ms. Betty (or Mr. Ben), how are you today?” When you become more familiar with the client, you can start using their first name.
3. Remember that your clients are your guests. How would you treat them if they came to your home? When they arrive, offer to take their coat and ask if they would like a glass of water or a cup of hot tea. Make sure they know where the restrooms are, just in case.
4. A two-handed handshake is a warm way to greet your clients and a simple gesture that says, “I’m going to care for you.” It’s very inviting and will make them feel welcomed.
5. Many new hairdressers and barbers may be a bit timid with first-time clients. But it’s important to make eye contact. Eye contact helps you connect and engage your client. Let them know they are your focus.
6. We all love compliments. Each client has something positive you can comment about, whether it’s a great pair of shoes, an amazing dress or suit, a stylish purse or man bag, or even the car they drove up in. Pick something appropriate that you notice.
7. Make your clients the object of your attention. Ask how their week has been, or about anything special in their lives they may have mentioned before. Make easy chitchat to put them at ease. Don’t talk about yourself unless you’re asked. This is also a great way to find out about any upcoming events in their lives you might want to note for their next visit, such as a wedding, a job promotion, or a special vacation they have planned.
Now that we’ve talked about engaging your clients, let’s also look at what your physical space conveys to your clients. Great customer service means the whole package!
Customer Service Checklist for Your Physical Space
Imagine you are a client coming into your business for the first time. See everything through the eyes of your client. Look at the following areas to make sure each space is sending the A+ customer-service message you want every client to feel loud and clear from the beginning of their experience to the end.
THE PARKING LOT—It should be trash-free and have plenty of parking spaces (including handicap-accessible spaces). It should be close to your business, easy to spot from the street, and well-lit. If you have paid parking, make it affordable for your clients, or offer parking validation to pay for their parking.
THE ENTRANCE—Make sure the entrance is marked clearly with the business name and address so your clients will know they are at the right place. The front door should be easy to open or clearly marked if they need to ring a bell to gain access. Have an attractive welcome mat for them to wipe their feet, and make sure any walkway is clear of debris and/or snow. If it’s not obvious, make sure they know where to go once they’re inside.
THE FRONT DESK—If you have a front desk, it should be the first thing they see when they enter your business. Make sure it’s clear of clutter and that it’s welcoming, not an impenetrable barrier. For a nice touch, add flowers or seasonal decorations. The front desk should be close to the front door so you or your receptionist can greet clients as they enter.
THE WAITING AREA—If your business has a waiting area, it needs to be clean and tidy, with a comfortable place to sit. Have the latest hair industry publications for them to read (and become inspired by new styles, colors, trends) and keep them entertained. Offer refreshments, such as flavored water, coffee, hot tea, and perhaps individually wrapped chocolates or candy. Also make sure the temperature is comfortable and be aware of what sounds your clients hear while they wait.
YOUR CHAIR—Please, please make sure there is no leftover hair from previous clients. Clean up any product residue and make sure your chair has no tears or stains. If your client needs help getting into your chair, be ready to offer a hand, and always make sure your chair is turned in a direction that makes it easy for clients to get into.
YOUR STATION—Sweep up any hair from previous clients and have all your accessories well organized. Make sure it’s obvious that all combs and brushes have been sanitized and keep knick-knacks at a minimum. The view of the mirror should be streak-free and easy for clients to see. Make sure the lighting is not too bright, and that your clients have a place to store their purse or man bag.
THE RESTROOM—It’s a must to keep the restrooms clean. Clean sink, clean toilets, no toilet paper on the floor and plenty of soap and paper towels. I’m sure many of us have hesitated to revisit a business with an untidy restroom!
RETAIL AREA—You want to make sure your retail area is adequately stocked, but you also don’t want it so full that it looks like no one ever purchases product. It should be dust-free, intelligently organized, and pleasing to the eye. Make sure prices are obviously displayed, and within reach of an average-size person. It should look approachable, not untouchable.
CHECKOUT AREA—This could be the same as your front desk, so again, make sure everything is clean and organized. Have pens available and space for a client to sign a receipt or write their next appointment in their planner. Have a calendar available to show clients who are ready to pre-book and offer them an appointment reminder card. For clients who prefer to pay in cash, have change on hand. For those who prefer to use debit or credit cards, have a quick and simple software for card processing.