I am going to ask you, the reader, a question. What do you personally expect in customer service? In this fast-paced digital age, customer service has taken a backseat to driving revenue. But you want to know a secret? Revenue increases with good customer service. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses are forgetting that simple fact. What is customer service? Is it simply how you treat people? Some people have it all the time and don’t even know it. Their manners, their smile and willingness to always be helpful and courteous is no false act since it’s part of how they are all the time. Have you ever worked with someone like that? It’s contagious.
Start observing people who serve others for a living. We can focus on the good qualities and observe the behaviors that don’t work. Soon it will become second nature to everyone who wants it. When you offer great customer service you will keep more clients and attract more clients.
Customer service starts when a client walks in the door. We demand it from our front desk staff, and we must carry it forward by greeting them with a smile and a firm handshake. Let them know you are happy to see them. If you have coffee breath, carry mints; wear a pleasant fragrance or cologne, but please don’t soak in it.
Be aware to not make promises of outcomes that you cannot deliver in an effort to please the client. It is important not to mislead your client with hype about what your services can deliver, especially if the services do not live up to the hype. I will encourage you to be honest with your recommendations. Why? Because your name is on it and once they leave the salon, it’s your name that is given if it’s in a good or bad way. And bad news always travels faster than good news.
Contact your new client after his/her first service to see that everything is working out. Try to wait a day or two. The easiest way is to email, or you can text, but the best way is with a personal call. It personalizes and establishes true concern for them. I know no one likes to be told that the client is having problems, or the worst is – “I don’t like it,” or how about, “It is too light or too dark.” But if you don’t ask, they just might not come back.
For a service provider, asking and not hearing what they want to hear is an insecurity thing. We all need feedback to become better at what we do. Relationships take work, communication and customer service.
Here are a few tips for offering excellent customer service:
After their first visit with you, or even if they have become a regular client — nothing changes. Their visit and your level of service has to be consistent and as good as the first time.
Sometimes clients will pop into the salon, and will say to the front desk, “Does Peter have a few minutes to trim my bangs or talk to me for a minute or two?” The front desk person will come over and relay the message; and, since you’re most likely with another client, I would recommend to politely ask the client you are working on if it would be okay to excuse yourself and go up to the desk and talk to the client who has dropped by. The client will usually say yes but make sure you let him/her know it will only be a moment. For the drop-by client, hopefully, you can quickly take care of the question but make sure he/she knows that you will take care of them once you have completed the client in your chair. If it’s a simple question, like, “Do I need color or a haircut?” then you say of course you do, and that the front desk will book them an appointment straight away, and that you will see them at their convenience. Trying to accommodate both clients at the same time is tricky, but the person in your chair has the priority, so don’t leave him/her alone too long. They’re expecting your full attention since they booked time with you.
If a client contacts you by phone or email:
Establish a policy for responding to text or email messages. It can be as simple as a statement on your mobile voicemail that you will return their text or phone call by the end of the day. Don’t say, “as soon as possible” since that could mean anything to them. Give your client the security of knowing that every communication will be replied to by the end of the business day and not straight away.
Offering online booking for clients:
Some salons offer online bookings to their clients. It has become very popular and as an Independent Contractor, giving your clients the responsibility to make, change and cancel their appointments on their own is low maintenance. Online booking helps to diminish how often the phone rings, allowing you to focus on working and enjoying your time with your clients.
Let everyone for whom you provide a service know that contacting you at the salon by leaving a message is what would be best for you. Email and phone calls on your cell phone can get you in hot water if you’re an employee. Know the rules to eliminate potential situations with management or ownership. If you have a website, offer a probable solution to any item in the form of a Q & A or Frequently Asked Questions section. But, at all times offer a means to contact you directly. And remember the rules.
Customer service also provides a fantastic marketing opportunity as it gets everyone on the same page concerning your goals and values and the ways and methods you deliver customer service. I also recommend that you set specific customer service systems and tools in place for your business. The Front Desk Management Systems Manual has a whole section dedicated to customer service systems that will support your team in delivering a WOW customer service experience that exceeds the customer’s expectations.