As a client, have you ever seen your hairstylist outside the salon, like a grocery store and thought ‘I haven’t been back for an appointment in a long time and I’ve been to another stylist’; when you think they might see you, you do an immediate about face and practically run in the other direction. It’s like you broke up with your stylist and didn’t bother to tell them. You’re stylist is left standing there second guessing and speculating on what they did wrong. Do they not like me anymore, can’t even say hello?
What is it hairstylists do to make clients feel as if they have to sneak around to see another stylist? Breaking up with your stylist is not like having an affair…. Or is it??
This industry has allowed me opportunities to travel a lot and to do research analyzing various aspects of this business. One area has been asking clients what it’s like to be a client in a hair salon. The answers surprised me and they may surprise you too. As a client you CHOOSE your stylist, it could be because of a recommendation from a friend or colleague, something you read about on social media, a stranger whose hair you liked gave you a recommendation; any number of reasons.
The question I have for you, the client, is what keeps you going back and what makes you stop or break up with your stylist?
The break up
Clients NEVER want to break up with their stylist. A hairstylist is as important to clients as their doctor, dentist, therapist and choosing to leave a stylist is really hard. Clients feel guilty and obligated to stay over time, even if they aren’t very satisfied with the service they receive. Why is this? As a client it’s your money, you wear your hair every day and only see your stylist once every 4-12 weeks. What is it stylists do to make clients feel so obligated. Changing doctors is easier for clients than changing stylists. Did you know this?
A client stylist relationship is very intimate, they tell their stylist things they don’t even tell their therapist. But if stylists aren’t always on their game to meet their clients needs, the client will become dissatisfied and start fantasizing about someone else. Have you ever been in a relationship like that? Things are great in the beginning, there is attention to detail, affection, romance and all of the sudden you wake up and think wait; when was the last time my partner asked me a question, brought me flowers just because, complimented me? Sex has become non-spontaneous and seems to have fallen into a pattern of ‘same ole same ole’.
This description compares with what clients have shared with me. Clients tend to stay with a stylist for 7-10 years and breaking up or leaving a stylist is devastating for them. What do they tell themselves when they feel the need to move on? Next time I won’t let myself care so much about my stylist. I won’t share my personal life events, happy times, sad times, relationships. It makes them too attached and when they realize they are in a relationship with their stylist that has become non-spontaneous and ‘same ole same ole’; it is hard to leave, but they do leave.
What makes a client move on? (from the mouths of clients)
- My stylist tells me too much personal information and it makes me uncomfortable
- My stylist is ALWAYS running late and never even apologizes
- My stylist asks me what to do to my hair, like I’m the expert
- My stylist never suggests something new (summer hairstyles, mermaid hair)
- My stylist does the same color and cut on me every time I go in and I am bored with the look
- My stylist never tells me what products I should use to get the look I walk out of the salon with and I am to embarrassed to ask what I should be using (of course we hope they recommend sojourn beauty)
What keeps clients going back to their stylist? (from the mouth of clients)
- My stylist ALWAYS takes time with me before the appointment to ask about my hair, my life style and what I like and dislike about my hair
- My stylist ALWAYS suggests something new
- My stylist is always talking about the latest looks and trends
- My stylist goes to a lot of education and hair events
- My stylist is very professional and focuses on me and my needs during my appointment; I always leave feeling special
- My stylist ALWAYS recommends sojourn beauty products (well that would be wonderful)
These are just some of what I have heard from clients over the years.
There are a percentage of hairstylists that have figured out how to have committed, lifelong clients. It isn’t easy, most lifelong commitments aren’t. It takes daily effort on the stylists part on many levels. At Sojourn we have a commitment to help stylists gather the tools to keep clients coming back.
Sojourn Professional Practice is a practice of being the most professional, informed, confident stylist you can be. At Sojourn we teach stylists how to listen, the importance of client consultations. How to stay educated in the latest fashion trends, health trends and media craze. A stylist should be more informed than their clients are and with the internet, clients are pretty darn savvy.
Stay tuned for more information on Sojourn Professional Practice and please share your thoughts and experiences. We like to hear from stylists and clients.
Keep your hair connected.