Within our industry there isn't possibly a worse feeling than knowing you have disappointed a client. You begin to feel incapable; the feeling lingers with you. We then ignore the written rule and take this burdening feeling home with us. We have all been there. We are only human after all.
This can easily be avoided by following a few simple steps, not only can we avoid this horrible gut wrench, but we can also build a successful fast-growing business from it. You may ask how? Under promise to overachieve! Maybe it rings some bells, and a teacher/trainer might have mentioned it to you in the past. Let’s break it down and explain why it is important to always exceed our clients’ expectations.
Clients old and new come to you with confidence that you are the hairstylist for them. Booking that appointment, turning up and sitting in your chair shows they already believe that you have the skill set to achieve the hair goals they desire. No matter what our skill set, it doesn’t always work that way. Unfortunately, we do not have a magic wand and although our skills play the most important part, everything else is out of our hands.
So, when Claire comes to you with 100% natural hair, base 5 and wants to leave your salon with a soft blended balayage that fades into a base 10, we know natural hair lifts lovely and is the dream to work with when lightening. Claire’s hair is also in perfect health, what could go wrong. You tell Claire ‘No worries at all, we can do that! I’Il go and mix your colour’. Have you taken into consideration that Claire might be using some awful products on her at home and has coated her hair in chemicals that might react badly with your lightener, she may even just have that rare stubborn hair that struggles to lift lighter than a base 8. You won’t know until you start to lift and now if you come into any complication you are going to have to let her know mid service that you in fact falsely advised her a dream that isn’t possible! You’ve let her and yourself down and she now feels that sense of disappointment.
This can be avoided so very easily! Set the bar low, let her know that you can do all you can within your power but there are many factors that can come into play that may affect the end result and these won’t be known until the lifting process has started but also reassure her you will keep her updated as to how well you think her hair is working with you along the way. You have also now given yourself a sense of ease, released the pressure from your shoulders. You know there is probably an 85% chance she is going to leave with the goals she is wanting to achieve, so in the event that all goes as planned, Claire is going to feel overwhelmed with joy, she is going to tell her friends and family just how amazed she was that you managed to achieve her dream hair even with all the factors that could have prevented this from happening.
You’ve now gained a loyal client who is going to be your very best source of marketing, ‘Word of Mouth’ but let’s not forget these new clients that could follow her into your chair, they already think you are amazing at your job, Claire has told them all about you. So, let’s not let any of them leave disappointed, under promise and overachieve.
Remember this doesn’t just need to be related to the outcome of their hair but in fact the whole experience the client receives from start to finish. We don’t need to tell every single client that sits in our chair that there is a chance they might not leave with the hair they want, but we can make sure every client leaves the salon knowing they have had a memorable experience with you that isn’t available just anywhere. How? Think tactical, cost can come into play here. We don’t always have an extra budget available to give our client freebies, but we don’t need to. If you know your client isn’t tight on time, give them that extra long head massage, offer to leave the conditioner on for an extra ten minutes, leaving her hair feeling beautiful and moisturised, if she wasn’t expecting it then it’s a bonus and she is already feeling special.
This isn’t a secret in the industry and in fact many successful businesses use this tactic in many ways. Is there a better feeling than ordering yourself a new outfit and the estimated delivery time was 5-7 working days but you received your order within 4 days! Bonus, the company knew there may have been a chance it would get to you earlier, but it wasn’t stated so you didn’t expect it. They exceeded your expectations, and you will keep them in the back of your mind when you’re looking to order something again in the future.
Note: It is important to never shout about under promising! This isn’t something to advertise but instead a tactic to use to help your client retention but course you should be shouting about anything that clients can be doing/using at home that is going to cause problems to their hair but don’t get the two confused, this is purely professional advice.
Give it go and leave us a comment below on how it worked for you and your clients.
By Kelsey Jhayde Sharman