How we speak to clients and coworkers directly translates into how happy we are at work. Effective salon communication techniques come to some of us naturally, and for others, it takes work.
The good news is, once you have a great foundation of communication skills, highly effective communication becomes much easier.
My name is Susan Wos, I facilitate salon job connections and sell salon businesses. My 30 years of experience in the salon industry has given me a ton of knowledge and assets to help owners and hair stylists grow in every part of their careers.
In this blog, I will share the secrets to great salon communication to create both customer loyalty and better relationships with fellow beauty professionals. If you have additional tips or favorite books to add to this blog, contact us and let us know!
Good and effective communication in a salon means each person has been clear, complete in their thoughts, have conveyed the message that was intended to be heard and each party acts with compassion.
Body language can trump anything that comes out of your mouth. Non verbal communication is just as important as the words you say!
Imagine this, a fellow hair salon employee says to you- “great job on that balayage!”. She says this with her arms crossed, her head cocked and a scowl on her face. The message you receive is one of sarcasm and nastiness.
You think, what is her problem? Why would she go out of her way to be unkind?
Now imagine a different stylist, saying the same thing. This time, he is smiling and goes in for a hug. Same words, yet a completely different feeling.
If your body language doesn’t mirror the words that come out of your mouth, you risk a completely different perception of the message you are trying to send.
Non verbal communication in a salon is important because when the words that come out of your mouth match up with the expressions made by your body, this lends itself to trust, clarity and a great customer experience.
After reading this book, I realized how important my gestures and body language were at work. When I started my career as a hairstylist, I was admittedly a bit shy, not overly confident and definitely awkward- the impression I was giving off was NOT what I wanted clients to feel…
I wasn’t greeting clients with the confidence they needed to feel good about me doing their hair services. Salon owners, managers and coworkers took advantage of my perpetual deer caught in headlights expressions and I felt unworthy to be a hairstylist.
Once I changed my facial expressions, started standing tall, making better eye contact and exuding confidence, my world changed. People took me seriously, clients immediately felt they were in good hands, and people started to listen.
Good communication skills start with becoming more aware of the expressions you make, the way you carry yourself and caring a bit LESS about what the people around you are thinking about you.
Great communication skills are translated by your ability to project the right tone when speaking to salon clients. With new clients or when loyal customers come in for a consultation, a more formal tone is the right way to go.
You need to be taken seriously and give customers a sensation that you know what you are talking about. After you begin the services, moving to a more informal tone helps to relax clients and lets the conversation flow more naturally.
Try to mirror the customer’s tone or elevate the conversation by leading topics that are positive in nature.
A smile and looking someone in the eyes lends itself to trust. In the first few moments of meeting a new client, these small things can make a world of difference!
The minute you get to the front desk, put that smile on to create a lifetime, loyal customer.
Depending on the type of salon environment you are working in, a successful business may depend on your ability to clearly communicate with other stylists. If you are a newer hair stylist, chatting with senior stylists or mentors will help to elevate your career.
When seeking to learn from experienced stylists, flattery will get you far! Opening the lines of communication with other stylists will not only allow you to learn new things, they create long lasting relationships and support you can count on.
If this feels intimidating, start off by asking a few questions about their technique or how they were able to pull off certain styles. Most stylists will be flattered and will be happy to answer questions!
When approaching hair salon management, walk in with your head held high and start off on the positive side- regardless of what issue you need to address. A soft and positive start to any difficult conversation is likely to have a productive and professional outcome.
Have you noticed that there are stylists who just want to do all the talking? Or what about those that just don’t seem to like you, no matter what you do?
Then there’s the energy suckers and debbie downer types. Whether it’s a difficult salon owner or stylist, not putting energy into the stuff that is irritating is the best way to handle a conversation with your less than favorite people.
I loved what I learned in this book. I bought it when I just couldn’t handle a stylist that was next to me in the salon and I was married to a very difficult human being. Learning how to deal with difficult people and conversations is just part of life.
Books and education is a great tool to help you navigate salon communication!
To start a conversation with salon clients, begin by simply saying hello and say it’s nice to meet you, or it’s wonderful to see you again. Secondly, ask them how they are today. Find out if they had any trouble finding you and if booking an appointment was an easy process for them.
Next, get into the details of why they are seeing you today. A thorough consultation will help to flesh out any problems they may be having with their hair and will give clients the assurance that you care about their time in the salon.
Asking clients about themselves or letting them lead the conversation is the best way to communicate in the hair salon. Use the following topics and tips to make conversations easy and fun!
To welcome customers in a salon, smile, shake their hand and introduce yourself if you are meeting for the first time. Thank them for coming into the salon, offer refreshments and to enjoy any perks such as massage chairs while they wait for their service. Communicate what will happen throughout their services so they know what to expect, and how long they will be in the salon.
Always give a warm welcome to your guest. A smile and a “hey how are you?”, goes a long way.
If you happen to be running late, apologize immediately, but don’t rush the customer or the service. Great salon communication starts from the moment you greet your client.
Give a great consultation, even if it’s their 100th visit to the salon. Keep it professional, keep the talk about anything other than their hair or service you are about to provide to short answers- you can go into greater details during the service.
If you are meeting with a first time client, it’s important to get an idea about the history of their hair. Talk to clients about maintenance and upkeep- this is essential to understand how much effort they are willing to put into their hair at home.
Good listening skills lead the way to more relevant conversation details during the appointment. Getting clients into styles, colors or chemical treatments they can’t maintain at home is an example of poor salon communication.
Take notes on what products they use and listen for problems they are having with their current style. This is your opportunity to sell retail and make helpful suggestions.
Even if you don’t have immediate suggestions or solutions, now you understand where you can best offer advice. Let them browse retail or your online store while you mix color to get them thinking about what they can buy. This also opens up the conversation about trying new beauty industry products.
I am one of those people who is uncomfortable unless the conversation is flowing. This means I tend to talk too much, just to fill the air. Don’t do this!
Get comfortable with some silence and think of subject matters that may be of interest to your client. Also it’s easier to stay focused when you aren’t talking the whole time.
A silent appointment is a new movement in the salon industry. This is where you agree upon limited salon communication.
Generally speaking, you would give a thorough consultation and once the service begins, you would not talk. This makes the quieter client or traumatized clients feel at ease by offering this option on your services menu.
Listening is an important part of great hair services for customers. People generally want to talk about themselves unless they directly ask you a question.
Remain upbeat, smile and try to take in what they say to create an environment of open communication.
You may be the only person who talks to them or touches them, all day! Connect with your customers by letting them do most of the talking.
Over time, I figured out several topics to bring up that are not emotionally charged, and that help you determine what the new client interests are. First, get an idea of their family dynamic.
If they are single or don’t have family to talk about, move on to pets. Ask about interests, hobbies and work.
Finding out where they live, or how long they have been in the area are good, neutral subjects that help to uncover a client’s interests. Asking about if they have any special occasions coming up is a wonderful opportunity to offer up pre booking or additional services to prepare for their big day.
At all costs, avoid talking about religion, sexuality and politics in business. Unless you are in a private salon suite, and you only see clients that fully agree with you, these subjects cause a lot of drama and harm when new customers overhear something that they don’t like.
Don’t hit on or come on to clients, either. We don’t like it when it happens to us, clients won’t like it either!
Even if a client loves the way you do their hair, emotionally charged salon talk like politics will eventually impact your client base. Think about the big picture here, and get together outside of work if you want to discuss subjects that aren’t appropriate for all salon communication and conversations.
Asking about holiday plans helps to keep the banter light. Most clients visit family or host events during the holiday season.
Generally speaking, this is a good communication opportunity that will give you insight into their lives. Holidays are a topic other hair clients love to chime in on as well!
Current events, sports and pop culture are great conversation starters! For example: I live in the Kansas City area, our city is crazy about the Chiefs.
Now that Taylor Swift is dating one of our Football players, everyone seems to love discussing this. I know little to nothing about Football, but if you visit salons in KC, I can guarantee you clients and stylists across the city use this as a beauty salon and break room conversation.
By asking open ended questions you are inviting a conversation style that leads to learning more about your client’s personal life. It’s better when you are actually curious about what they are discussing, but open-ended questions tend to indicate you are interested in what the client has to say!
By tracking both conversations you have, important life details of your clients, hair treatments used, customer charges and color formulas you have more than just your memory to rely on. It’s easy to seem like you have poor communication skills if you aren’t taking great notes.
Give clients a reason to come back. When you show you “remember” little details about their life, you will have their beauty salon business, long term!
I hope this blog has provided you and your team members an opportunity to understand what great salon communication means and how to implement these strategies into your salon, today. Make your salon a professional experience, when the client leaves, you want them to reflect back on their visit in a positive light.
Yours in service,
The blog post you’ve just read may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on these links we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. These commissions help support the maintenance and growth of the blog. We only recommend products and services that I genuinely believe in and have personally researched or used.