Management Practices

Are You Oversharing?

Stacey Soble | May 10, 2016 | 7:07 AM

When problems arise in the salon, your team’s first priority should always be to make things right. Customers don’t need to know the details.

According to John DiJulius, owner of the John Robert’s Spa chain in Cleveland and the founder of the customer service consultancy The DiJulius Group, team members often overshare information when they’re trying to fix a problem, and without intending to, they can damage the salon’s reputation.

To illustrate, DiJulius offers some very common oversharing situations and examples of how his team is trained to handle them:

“It wasn’t my fault, it was…”

“We hear this one often in the salon, but does the client really need to know who screwed up and why? All they need to know is how sorry we are and what we’re going to do about it. If you need to discuss something internally with your team, that’s your business, but the client doesn’t need to know about your dirty laundry.”

“Your 10:30 is here.”

“If the front desk announces to the stylist in front of the client that the next appointment has arrived, the client starts wondering if the stylist is rushing her service. Some medical practices have created verbal and nonverbal cues to relay that information. For example, the receptionist asks the physician, ‘Would you care for a bottle of water?’ and that serves as a heads-up to the doctor that patients are piling up in the waiting area.”

“We would like to remind you of your appointment.”

“When we started John Robert’s Spa in 1993, we immediately started calling our guests the day before to remind them of their appointments. We were surprised that some guests were offended by these calls because they felt we were insinuating they were disorganized. We shifted the wording slightly from ‘reminder calls’ to ‘confirmation calls,’ and we haven’t had a complaint since.”

“I don’t see your name on our books.”

“I have heard this multiple times when arriving at a restaurant, but the restaurant will be 50% empty. Why does the customer need to know if you can resolve the issue without them needing to know you didn’t expect them?”

“I’m so glad you’re OK.”

“Another big challenge is when a client is late. Although I want my team to accommodate tardy clients, it’s critical you don’t let them think they can arrive whenever they want. We train our team to say, ‘I’m so glad you’re OK, I was worried about you and worried I wouldn’t be able to provide your services.’ That’s a polite way of letting the client know they are lucky this time.”

“Have you seen Jane’s new haircut?”

“Sometimes a chair-side chat will become less than professional because the client is oversharing personal information. When that happens in our salon, a colleague will lean into the stylist and say, ‘Did you see Jane’s new haircut?’ That’s our code for, ‘Your conversation is being overheard by others and you should change the topic.’”

DiJulius believes it’s the salon owner’s job to constantly train their teams what is professional and what isn’t. “These are common conversations your employees are having with clients every day, and they don’t always realize what they are saying is unprofessional,” he says.

In addition to owning John Robert’s Spa, a chain of upscale salons and spas in the Cleveland area, Roberts is the founder of The DiJulius Group, a consulting firm focused on changing the world through a customer service revolution. Follow his blog and sign up for materials at

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