At our shop, we retail over 25 professional hair care lines, so it is no surprise to me when I have a client or customer tell me they have never heard of the particular product I am telling them about. What does surprise me is when I introduce a product or product line to a client and they respond with “They still make that? I used to love using it but…that’s an old product line, isn’t it? My stylist said it’s old and no good.”. A phrase I hear often, and quiet frankly, a phrase that baffles me. Stylists – here’s a little tip for you – if your client loves a product – NEVER tell them it’s old and no good. First of all – it’s not professional. Second, you have just insulted your client. Yes, insulted them. You have just made them feel old and stupid for using a product that they love. I am telling you this because your clients will not, they do not want to offend you or hurt your feelings. They may however, book their next appointment elsewhere.
For those familiar with my Salon Tales, you know that I take the business of beauty and customer service seriously. I believe that customer service is the cornerstone of our industry. Yeah…I said it. When proper and professional customer service is not being provided, it does not matter that you are an expert colorist and cutting expert or how many products you retail at your Salon – if your client’s opinions are being neglected or pushed aside, the only person filling your chair will be you, wondering where your clients have gone.
Everyday I have customers or clients from the Salon purchasing products. Many of the products they purchase, they purchase because they love them. They like the hold, or the shine, or sometimes they love the smell of the product. I may not think the product is the best selection for their hair care needs, but they like it. They are able to achieve the look they want at home and like the way their hair looks and feels, so I keep my mouth shut. When I am asked if there is another product I would suggest, then I offer my opinion on another product. I never, I mean never, down play their beloved product. Being me, I have compiled a little list, a “how to suggest another product without putting your foot in your mouth” list, if you will. (fitting title for today’s tale…don’t you think?…wait for it…there you go).
– when a client is looking for a new hairspray, first things first. Ask them what it is about their current hairspray they aren’t happy with. Ask them what hold factor they are looking for, if they want a little shine or frizz control. Telling them “it’s about time you changed hairspray!” – not a good idea
– when a client comes in asking for a product from a line that you deem “dated”, do not judge. It may be an old line to you, your client may have just learned about it, so it is new to her.
– when a client comes in looking for the latest and greatest product, before you sell it to them, be sure it is meant for their hair type. Selling a woman the newest curl defining cream when her hair is poker straight is unprofessional, plain and simple. Think about it, she will get home with dreams of curls just to end up locked in her bathroom with a matted mess. Trust me, I am all for making the sale – when it is done the correct way.
– if your client is misinformed about a product, take a minute to explain the proper use of the product, educate them. Flip the bottle over and show them the product description, and the directions on how to use the product, and how much to use. Take an extra minute to explain what the icons mean… the little open jar = shelf life, the bunny = cruelty free, the arrows in a circle = the packaging is recyclable. Again, telling them “you don’t know what you are doing, do you?” – not your best option.
– when a client comes in looking for a product you do not sell, DO NOT say “Oh, we don’t carry that, heard it’s crap.”. Yes, ladies and gents, many of my customers had been told that exact thing, at the Salon they used to shop at. Find out what product they are looking for, ask them what they liked about it. You would be surprised how many times a product you have on your shelves will fit the bill. …I do it everyday.
At the Salon, we help men and women look and feel better. We give them a fresh look or help them find themselves once more. We help to prepare them for their life events – graduations, weddings, births and sadly, deaths. Yes, we are in the Beauty Industry. Yes, we work in Salons. Yes, we are in the service industry, and yes, we are in the customer service industry – something we must all remember. Our customers and clients may forget the color line we use or the hairspray we suggest. They will always remember how they were treated, how they were spoken to and listened to, and how they felt. You may be an expert colorist, you may offer the greatest cut and style in town – no one will remember that if your manners and demeanor do not match your talent. Be kind. Be courteous. Our clients and customers have given us their time, the least we can do is give them and extra minute or two.