As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. If you don’t make a fantastic (positive!) first impression on a new client, chances are you won’t see them again and their first impression will also be their last.
Here are our top 5 suggestions on how to ensure the first impression is the first of many:
Give them a warm welcome
It goes without saying that all clients should be greeted with a warm and friendly hello accompanied by a smile. Use their name where possible.
If you are running late, acknowledge the client - preferably in person and manage their expectations - if you are going to be another 15 minutes, let them know this and offer them a drink while they wait. If you cannot make it in person to do this, make eye contact and smile with an apologetic look! This simple gesture reassures them that you know they are waiting. Even better, if you can, text them before they arrive in the salon. So many people are rushed at the best of times and it can be very frustrating to sit in a salon waiting for your appointment when those 15/20 minutes could have been used elsewhere.
Offer them a drink. Not just a ‘tea’ or ‘coffee’ but offer them something EXCITING! Look at the weather outside - is it hot? Offer them infused water or fresh fruit juice. If it’s cold, offer them a hot chocolate with marshmallows or a chai latte. Add some fruit on the side or something a bit different to the standard rich tea (yawn)! Take a note of what they like so you have it ready on their next visit.
Engage with them during a professional consultation
Ask them about their previous experiences - the good, bad and the ugly! Ask them for photos of their ideal style if they have any, ask them who’s hair they love (and don’t!)
Repeat back what they have told you to reassure them you know what they are looking for
During the treatment (if possible, ie a hair cut), have regular eye contact with your client. The mirror is there for the client so try not to look at yourself too much (trust me on this, I had a hairdresser who loved to look at herself in the mirror, making me feel like she was not paying attention to my hair cut!)
Take the guide from them on if they are feeling in a chatty mood or not. Just because you are heading off on holiday and are excited about it does not mean they want to listen to this - look out for the signals, short answers and lack of eye contact tells you all you need to know!
Ask for feedback. Genuinely. At the end of the appointment, ask how it was and if this is what they expected. Also ask if they have any comments or questions. Brits are prone to saying everything is great and then telling their friends later how they hated it!
If a client is unhappy, chances are you won’t see them again anyway so it is better to ask for the feedback up front and fix anything at the time. The most loyal clients come from service recovery situations so make it comfortable for the client to share any concerns with you - this includes after they have left! Let them know if they have any questions or feedback over the coming days they can let you know, ie. ‘if you think you would like a couple more inches taken off, just let me know and you can pop back in’.
Once you have followed these 5 simple steps and have created the WOW! for your client, remember to ask them if they would like to book their next appointment. Let them know in advance of any busy periods so they can work around it. So many people are operating on auto-pilot and just assume that you will have the space available and will appreciate you highlighting that even though they usually come in once every 6 weeks, 6 weeks from now you will be on holiday (remember, the one you were desperate to talk about earlier?!) so they should book for 5 or 7 weeks….
So, as you can see, these 5 easy steps can ensure your first impressions are memorable and set you apart. As they say, ‘go the extra mile, it’s never crowded’!
ps. If you have any great ideas or have seen anything that transformed an average experience to awesome, please share - we’d love to hear!