Tips on how to own and operate a hair salon

How to Create a Great Client Experience

1. Look at your client’s experience from the outside in

There’s a reason why it’s easier to work through other peoples’ problems than our own. When we think about our clients, we open our hearts to empathize with them and their needs. In terms of our own personal businesses, we tend to avoid batting an eye at the single thought of it. Instead of breaching outwards, we tend to surrender to our recognizable ideas. We seek out arrangements that worked for us in the past and work towards revamping those instead of starting completely anew.

So how do we fix this? Implement the over-said “if I could change something about that business I’d…” and use it to better your work.

Now, you may wonder why it’s so much easier to appreciate and commend to another’s performance in comparison to your own. The simplest way to explain is that because we are not accustomed to the structure that they run. Their problems, pasts, and trials are not yours. You are not going to suffer as greatly in their failure as they will, therefore the fear factor is diluted by distance.

The only way out is to embrace. Strive to feed into creativity, ingenuity, and stray from self-sabotage. Don’t let your work run stale because you’re too afraid to try out a new braid for your business. Who knows? Maybe it will come out more beautiful than the last!

2. Get comfortable outside your comfort zone

Inspiration comes from the most absurd of places. Sometimes all it takes is looking outside of the typical realm of the beauty industry to find what’s most needed to give their salon the
extra “oomph”.

One for the money that’s typically overlooked that has much in common with our industry is the hospitality sector. Bring out the sun hats, it’s time to take a trek to TripAdvisor. 


What’s interesting is that it isn’t always the ones with the exclusive and extravagant setups that make it to the headlines. Sometimes it’s the people and the place.

So spoil yourself for once. Crack your knuckles, put on your reading glasses, and make yourself comfortable for a night of research – there are more taxing ways of spending a Tuesday or whatnot.

Pick one. Scrutinize the experience. Then pick a date to go visit.

Tip: choose a restaurant
or service that’s easy to break down based on things you actually enjoy — to an extent. Simply put: if you don’t take an interest in sports, don’t visit an arena.

Now it’s time to dig out your inner interviewer. Well, and interviewee. You’re a superhuman today, you get to be both. So, how did you first discover them? Was it online? A top chef’s critic? A website? On social media? Whichever, focus on that first impression. Pull it apart like tangles in your hair, then condition it and smoothen it out. What are they doing that you could do in your salon? What could make things better?

And then go ham and write.

Have fun and be critical. But don’t leave out the juicy details.

3. Learn from the best in the hair and beauty business

Now that you’ve looked outwards, it’s finally time to look back inwards. You must be refreshed from your trip to TripAdvisor. With the luxury of creative freedom you’ve given yourself, hopefully you’ve found what you’re looking for.

Now that you’ve both researched and visited your chosen hospitality hotspot, it’s time to see what others in the hair and beauty industry are doing to create something special for their clients.

What’s next? Insight and experience! It is the reflection of your industry, but it isn’t necessarily your business.

Unleash your inner spy and book in as a client at whichever top recommended or Yelp! approved salon in your city. Then, sit in the client’s chair and gauge things from their perspective. To have that same “new client” experience and to understand what it feels like to have a good one is crucial. Your business will thank you, the cheques will follow suit.

It’s okay. Standing out from the crowd is hard. Whatever you do, don’t regret or second guess it. The nice thing about hair is that it usually grows back! Though it’s often difficult to see the shrubs from the trees, enjoy the scenery!

Giving your business everything you’ve got is hard enough… Adding in an extra flicker of exclusivity may seem like an overwhelming task. Though, if you want to create more of a buzz to your salon, you’re going to have to give into customer needs and, yes, a little bit of change here and there.


4. Give your waiting area a makeover

Working in the beauty industry can help you gauge about how long a hair appointment will take based on what’s being done. Fact is, nobody really enjoys sitting and waiting. To avoid dealing with antsy customers, making your waiting area more likeable can go a long way.

Accessibility is key. Let’s be real, these days everyone’s phone is dying because they can’t stay off of them. Making sure that chargers are available at the discretion of the client and that there is wifi readily available keeps your salon up to par. Consider investing in comfortable couches or chairs, perhaps a TV or magazines to keep busy, and background music that does not interfere with the standard talking volume. The last thing you’d want is for your clients to have back and forth screaming matches while trying to talk. A hair salon is not to be an aggressive environment, unless you’re trying to de-tangle matted unruly hair!

5. Keep clients refreshed

In addition to customer service, most salons will offer their clients a selection of refreshments to keep the sit and wait more comfortable. Beverages could include coffee, tea, and sparkling or straight water, while snacks could include small cookies or crackers. It is definitely more practical to go for dry foods that do not spoil easily, and generic non-alcoholic drink choices. You could even go further to consider having cocktails or mocktails available to age appropriate clients on specific days to keep things fresh.

6. Show your clients some love

Whether it be a like, a follow, a hashtag, or a reply, salons that utilize Instagram to show off their clients’ new look have an advantage over those that don’t. Creating that digital media bond in a society that’s so hell-bent on connecting not only face to face but also online allows for both potential and existing customers to see another immersive side of the business.

Taking before and after pictures of your customers and posting them (providing that your clients are okay with it) to your professional or salon Instagram account will have your clients feeling like they’re a million dollars. Both online and in person, it makes for emphasis on top quality salon performance and properly demonstrate the way that they are treated perfectly match up to the standards set.

Make sure to advocate for vibrancy in terms of lighting and colour, in hopes of catching people’s eyes online. Appearances do matter!

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