Why are consultations so important for a client when getting their hair service at a salon?

In today’s personal device oriented world, the primary method of communication is on line through social media, emailing, and texting. Clients are calling a salon or stylist less and less, the initial communication is almost always through our devices and increasingly less face to face and interactive. This type of communication creates some difficult challenges for all stylists’ who will not be able to communicate as effectively as they would with a client in the chair, in an interactive situation. Would-be clients often see an ad online, or in social media, and email or text with questions about price and availability. They are looking for a quick and easy solution to their hair problems and assume that 140 clicks of the device will give them great results. But in reality, there is no one size fits all price structure in the hair industry for many services – especially colour and highlights services. Pricing is as individual as the person getting their hair done. Pricing is determined by the scope of the work needed in order to get the client to their goals if realistic. Things that affect price include:

  • •How long is the hair?
  • •How thick or thin is the hair?
  • •What is the density of the hair?
  • •What is the texture of the hair?
  • •What is the condition of the hair?
  • •What is the history of the hair over the past determined by its length?
  • •Does the previous work done on the hair chemically need to be removed in order to achieve the new look the client desires?
  • •What kinds of products does the client use to keep the hair healthy and protect the hair from chemical and environmental damage?
  • •How much time does the client spend on their hair each day to style it, how does the clients profession or job influence the style considerations for their hair?
  • •Does the clients personality match the desired new look?
  • •How much time effort and money is the client willing to spend to maintain the look of their hair?
  • •What is their budget to achieve the desired look?

A good stylist should be asking all of these questions and perhaps more depending on the responses of the client during the consultation. Different services would require different questions. Determining a correct price would not be possible without knowing all the facts and scope of the work needed to achieve the new look wanted by the client. It would be very difficult to have this conversation by text or email for any stylist. It would not be a practical use of the stylistsʼ time or the clientsʼ for this situation.

So while the online universe has changed our world in many positive ways, and allows us to get more done with less time – the reality of having a successful outcome with a stylist or salon very much depends on slowing things down, using a better communication strategy, setting the stylist and the client up for success by returning to a more effective way of determining the client’s needs. Nothing can beat a proper face to face interview between the stylist and the client! Typically these meetings should be free as the information is crucial to having success for everyone. They are often able to be done in 10 to 20 minutes depending on the services needed. They can save time and money and stress in the end by having a clear understanding of the client goals, expectations, time and budget.

The proper consultation can even help inform a client when their goals are not realistic. A good stylist should be very comfortable to let a client know when the look they want is not going to be achievable and why. Sometimes, it is because they have had prior work on their hair that won’t allow them to change it too the new look because it is too extreme of a change, and would involve damaging the hair significantly to get the client to their goal. Sometimes, it is because the goal cannot be reached in one session and would require multiple appointments over time to get a client to their end goal. Sometimes, existing damage is so significant from prior services that the hair would not be able to handle the new chemical service. Sometimes, the client may not have a realistic budget to be able to pay for the scope of the work needed. Sometimes, the work may not be in the clients interest as it may have negative social impacts with the relationships to their family, friends or professional work environment. Sometimes, the client does not really understand what it would take to get them from where they are, to where they want to go with their hair.

The consultation works both ways, keep in mind this is the opportunity for the client to interview the stylist and determine:

  • If they are a good fit for the client?
  • Do they have the correct level of training and experience, have they done work of this scope before?
  • What is their plan to get the client to the goal?
  • Does the stylist seem to listen carefully and comfortably answer all the question the client has?
  • Is the personality of the stylist a good match for the client or vice versa?
  • Is the stylist going to stand behind their work and be able to fix it if something goes not as planned?
  • Is the client comfortable with the stylist in the consultation process?

A client must ask themselves; if they have not had success in the past with a stylist or a salon – was it because they did not have a great consultation, or was the communication during the service lacking? This is your look, your appearance, and your social brand, it is how you meet and greet the world everyday. Do you not think that it deserves the time and effort to make sure that you are completely confident in what you will be doing with your stylist?

Without a proper consultation you are taking a big gamble with your appearance and image. These risks are not necessary if you build a great communication relationship with your stylist from the beginning starting with a good consultation. So next time you text or email a salon or stylist, consider if your time saving method of figuring out who is going to do your hair next is worth a potential hair disaster because you did not take the time to communicate properly with your style expert. Ask for the consultation, spend the time, make the effort and invest in yourself to gain success with your new look. If you don’t want to invest the time, why should the stylist? Take the time to book in with the stylist for a proper consultation – you’re worth it!