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As we move into the new millennium, communication is becoming the largest part of the relationship between the Artist and the Guest Constituting. Up to 70% of clients say great communication is the reason they continue to do business with a company. On the other hand, lack of effective communication may be 70% of the reason they refuse to do business with a particular company.
The demands have never been higher for young and established Artists as they are today. In this changing economic climate, the idea that the “Beauty Industry” is recession proof is ridiculous. During the last ten years of the economic boom, disposable income levels have increased significantly, and the average rate of return per client was stable at 5 or 7 weeks. As our financial situations strengthen, we should expect and prepare for the following:
1. The average rate of return will shift to 7 to 12.
2. Longer lengths of hair will become more fashionable.
3. The incorporation of texture coupled with the tightening purse strings of a nation and instantly we will have booked stylists moving down 20 to 40% in production without losing a single Guest.
The forecast for the industry will be different. The disappearance of customer’s getting their weekly set will show us how vulnerable we are. We are not invincible to economic changes. Salons have expanded and opened at a higher rate over the last ten years than any point in history. The numbers are swelling to well over 260,000 salons nationally.
Our one source of protection from this decline will be communication. Through effective communication, you can provide quality customer service to your clients. How well you communicate your ideas and your solutions to your customers will create an excellent customer experience. It is an inexpensive way to create a higher value of service to your guests and turn them into a walking billboard who’ll bring more clients your way!
The first step to becoming a great communicator is you have to listen. Listening is the ability to tune into the needs and objectives of a person. Often people think the act of listening is decoding information. However, it’s a two-way exchange where both parties involved are interested to the other person thoughts, ideas, and emotions. To become an excellent listener, you have to open the lines of communication and relax while making others do the same.
It’s your professional responsibility to learn the art of “ACTIVE LISTENING”. This technique involves you conversating with someone using the same nouns and adjectives they’re familiar with and use. Doing this helps you create a bond with whoever you’re speaking to and make them “feel” understood.
Drop Your Ego
Your ego has the potential to be the reason you’re not a great listener or communicator. When you have an inflated ego, this may cause you to shut off your listening skills and focus on only being heard, which may break the relationship bond between you and the person you are speaking to. Don’t allow this to happen! It is ideal to drop your ego and focus on how to make the customer feel good. I am a firm believer in you get what you put out into the world. When you make others feel happy, you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside as well!
To paraphrase, you must keep your ego in check and your mouths shut! The more you talk, the less you listen and the more you talk, the less others will listen.
Pre-framing the Guest. …(Client Consultations)
For new guests, they feel the highest level of excitement and anxiety. It could make or break whether this person becomes a lifelong paying customer or one who will never return. You must make a great first impression. Remember to pay attention to what you’re saying silently. 55% of your communication are nonverbal cues like body language, appearance, and energy. You should be mindful of what you’re wearing every day. Look at your posture, smile, how you smell, how you feel, and make sure you always put your bed foot forward.
Established guests are equally as important as your new guests. They are the people who believe in you. Sometimes you may become comfortable with this person and fall short in the customer service area, but I encourage you to not do this. You can easily turn a loyal customer into a dissatisfied customer within seconds. You should always put your best foot forward with your established clients as well.
Trust me. When you consistently treat your guests well by being a great communication, you’ll reap the rewards. Be consistent and you will reap the results.
Remember Their Needs
Ask the right questions to understand the needs of your Guests. Based on their answers, create your plan of action based on what they desire! This is the most important time spent with your guest.
Your goal is to:
1. Pre-frame and share your solution
2. Perform service and reinforce the solutions you suggested
3. Educate and explain how the solutions turned out. This is for both Artistic and Product Oriented Solutions.
Other Tips To Create the Best Experience for Your Clients
• When possible, sit at the same level as your client so meet them eye-to-eye. Take a moment to turn them so you’re facing each other during the first introduction. This is important because it prepares two people for open discussion. Once you’re introduced, you may turn them around.
• Be attentive to their comfort and environment from the start. Make sure they are comfortable. You can even ask them how can you make their experience better and more relaxing for them. If it’s within your power, I recommend meeting their demands.
• Use the mirror or face the guests to look at them. Show that you’re listening to your client by using nonverbal cues such as nodding or simple statements like “I see” or “Yes, I understand.”
• Don’t assume. Approach the customer as if they don’t understand your language. It’s better to overcommunicate to make sure you get your point across. For example, your guest may not know that hair gets shorter when it’s dry. So when you ask them how much length they want taken off, put more effort by asking “Is this where you want your hair to be when it is dry?” This way you can meet their needs and avoid having a dissatisfied customer.
• Provide positive feedback (no negative).
• Be interested alert and show it through your responses or gestures.
• Have key questions pre-prepared:
1. How do you feel about your hair? Cut and Color.
2. What is your favorite thing about your hair?
3. How do you take care of your hair? Products, tools, and method…
4. How much time do you spend styling your hair? How much time would you like to spend?
5. Ask any other question to make your job easier.
• Keep it simple. As you are listening to you will begin to formulate solutions in your mind. Share these solutions in a way that is easy for them to understand. Over complicating things can cause frustration and confusion, which leads to a bad experience.
• Speak softly and empathetically!
• Adopt great body language. Poor eye contact, shuffling feet, busy hands, disinterest slump are not good, and it does not look good either. Put your shoulders back, stick out your chest, hold your head high, and smile!
• What you hear isn’t always what is being communicated. Ask more questions or respond by explaining what you think they said to ensure you both are on the same page.
• The only way to get accurate answers is to ask the right question.
• Listen, share, clarify, and ask permission before you take action.
I believe you can be an excellent communicator if you adopt these tips. This way you can strengthen your business to withstand even negative economic changes.
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