By AHP Staff
Some things are difficult to swallow when you see them written in black and white. Let’s face it, sometimes the truth hurts. Here we go: As beauty professionals, we are in the service industry. When you think about working “smarter not harder” to become more efficient, you need to make sure that the tactics you come up with are not cutting corners in your clients’ service, especially if you want them to come back. You can become more efficient behind the chair and still add value to the service you’re providing your clients.
For example, let’s say you’ve had a busy day and haven’t had time for lunch. You rush through a blowout and leave a client’s hair damp at the nape so you can have a couple minutes to grab a bite to eat. You might think you’re being efficient and that your client won’t even notice their hair is still damp. Cutting corners like this is not efficient for your client. You didn’t complete the service adequately, and this can actually cost you more time in the long run when your clients aren’t returning, and you are scrambling to fill your chair.
Let’s look at this situation and how you can be efficient and still give the client stellar service. If you use a microfiber towel on the client’s hair to absorb extra moisture before blow-drying, that will benefit your client by speeding up the time it takes to blow-dry and will decrease the time the damaging hot air will be blowing on their hair. This saves your client’s time, as well as yours, both in that moment and when you aren’t trying to replace clients who aren’t coming back to see you. It’s a win-win all the way around.
Then there are situations where we should do things for our clients that don’t directly improve our efficiency. An example: If you are using a bond builder during chemical services, this will add an extra step and/or time to a chemical service that isn’t necessarily efficient to your books. But look at the benefit for your clients. They can receive drastic changes in fewer appointments, and you are adding value to their service because they end up with stronger, healthier hair. Since the beauty industry is a service industry, much of what we do as hairdressers or barbers should be in the spirit of giving our clients the best service possible, including hanging up their coats, serving a refreshment, working around their schedules, etc.
You might be thinking to yourself that all this is well and good, but what’s in it for you? How can you save your time and still offer the best service possible?
By saving your clients’ time and adding value to their service, you are saving your own time in other areas. When a client feels they have had a value-packed, efficient service and received the most bang for their buck, they are on their way to becoming a loyal fan and a great marketing tool for you. You are actually saving yourself time on additional marketing, trying to replace clients who you cut corners with and rushed through their service.
Hair professionals should never skimp on service to become more efficient. You should become more efficient by working smarter, not harder on your business. Make the best use of your time by using your network for cross-promotion and client sharing. Partner with other local businesses for events and joint public relations efforts. Take advantage of online schedulers with automated appointment reminders and survey follow-up. There are countless tactics, tools, and services to ensure you receive maximum benefit from minimal effort when working on your business.
Work with other people, including your clients, to build your business and take it to the next level. If you cut corners with your client services, you’ll end up cutting your client retention. When you work on your business in these ways, you’ll be much more efficiently successful and have the retention numbers to prove it.
Is it ever okay to cut corners at the salon?
If you are cutting corners at your salon in a way that negatively impacts your clients, that is generally considered an undesirable behavior. Cutting corners in the service industry can decrease client satisfaction, which in turn can reduce client retention, and may even result in serious client injuries.
At the salon, what are some ways I can work smarter, not harder?
Here are some ideas for you:
- Stop multi-tasking. When you’re with your client, they should have your complete focus.
- To keep mentally and physically refreshed, make time for breaks between clients.
- Book client appointments based on your energy level. If you have tons of energy at the beginning of the week, set yourself up for success by front-loading your week, then you can relax more at the end of the week when your energy may be lower.
- Cut down on your to-do list. A smaller to-do list is less intimidating and more achievable.
- Turn off your notifications when you’re at work. Again, your clients deserve your undivided attention and notifications can be very distracting.
Will my clients really know if I cut corners with their services?
It’s important in the service industry that we remember the client always comes first. If every decision you make is guided by “what’s best for my client?” you will win their loyalty and repeat business.