Mastering the Art of Client Communication
Does your team think their clients come to the salon solely for their talents as hairdressers? Of course, clients expect to look and feel good when they leave the salon but the truth is that what keeps them coming back is the relationship they feel with their stylist and the salon! Your team’s witty banter, knack for listening and overall awesome people skills can make them a valuable asset to your bottom line.
If some of your team members find it a bit awkward getting the conversation started or keeping it going throughout the appointment, share some of these communication tips. Use these as a discussion topic at your next staff meeting and set up role-play scenarios so your team can practice their soft skills:
Take a Genuine Interest
Ask your client about their day, their family, how their work or school is going, plans for the weekend, upcoming vacations, etc. Anything that gets them talking about themselves short of just quick ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. However, it’s important to avoid the urge to talk about yourself unless they specifically ask.
Know Your Topics
Keep up on current events, sports, pop culture, and what’s trending, that way you have a topic in mind for various client interests. Do tread lightly when it comes to talking politics, religion or money, as it’s easy to end up in a heated conversation that may make you or someone in earshot uncomfortable.
Stay Focused, Positive and Neutral
No matter the subject of conversation, always keep the banter light and on the positive side. Even if you have Debbie Downer in your chair, try to remain upbeat, although empathetic to those who are in need. Also, your clients are not there for you to gossip, vent about your personal life or to push your own perspective or beliefs. Keep the focus on the client and stay as neutral as possible on all subject matters.
Once you get your client talking, pay attention to what they are saying, how they say it and what their body language reveals. Intently listen to their answers to your questions and try reciprocating the best you can. Don’t work too hard to advance to the next question, instead, roll with the direction they take the conversation.
Know When to Zip It
Some clients simply don’t want to talk and prefer to be pampered in peace. They usually give short answers to your questions and choose to dive into a magazine or are more enthralled with their phones than your conversation. Learn to read the signals and opt to close your trap when the timing feels right.
Try to keep brief notes about your conversations and each client’s interests. Most salon management software will have a place for notes in your clients’ files. Take a few moments to add a few topics of interest and document any relevant conversation details for future referral. That way their 30 to 90-minute salon service flows along nicely, like the conversation!
Author Jim Bower is the founder of Floydware, LLC and Rosy Salon Software. He is a former salon and spa owner with over 30 years of experience in the industry.