The Importance of the Client Consultation in Hairdressing
However, it is a legal requirement to carry out a consultation before every treatment, even for regular clients. Failure to do so can result in a lawsuit and invalidate your insurance if something goes wrong, such as an adverse reaction, cross-infection or infestation.
It may seem like an inconvenience but an initial consultation should take 10-15 minutes and most salons allow for this, so why not use the time to benefit from this opportunity?
Apart from avoiding negative consequences, talking to your client puts them at ease, gives them confidence that they are in capable hands and sets the right tone for the salon.
Greet Mrs Brown with a smile and address her by name, offer to take her coat and hang it up before showing her to your work station. If possible, pull up a chair beside her and maintain eye contact while carrying out the consultation. This will help her to relax and create trust as it shows that you are listening and interested in what she has to say.
Alter your tone appropriately according to whom you are speaking. Use a lower tone and pitch when speaking with an adult so as not to sound condescending. Speak concisely and pronounce words correctly to make sure that you are understood. Keep your language simple and avoid using technical jargon which could be confusing to clients. If Mrs Brown is hearing impaired don’t forget to speak up as things like the hair-dryer might make it difficult for her to hear you.
Getting it right
A lot of things may need to be discussed to get the result that the client wants and many factors will affect what is achievable. The length of the clients’ hair will influence the equipment and techniques that you can use to achieve the style they want. If Mrs Brown’s hair is short, you will not be able to create an up-do for her without adding weaves or extensions. Longer hair might take longer to colour or lighten and will require more product.
The classification, texture and density of the client’s hair will influence which style, styling products, equipment and techniques can be used. Is Mrs Brown’s hair straight, wavy, curly or very curly? Is it fine, medium or coarse?
The client’s head, face and body shape will influence the shape and balance of the finished look, so select a suitable style and personalise it to minimise any prominent features.
Ask questions about what outcome the client expects from the service and clear up any misunderstandings before you begin. Consider potential problems that you might encounter and avoid agreeing to an unachievable style. The more thorough the consultation, the more likely the client will be happy at the end of the service.
Next, any necessary tests and their results need to be discussed. If you are colouring or lightening the client’s hair you should carry out tests which will help you to determine which products to use, how to apply them and how long they will need to be developed.
A skin test will check for any allergic reaction to the products you are planning to use. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and if there is a positive reaction where the skin is red, itchy and swollen then do not proceed and encourage the client to seek medical attention.
An elasticity test determines the strength of the hair’s cortex and how much tension the hair can take. If the hair breaks advise a series of penetrating, conditioning or restructuring treatments prior to colouring or lightening as too much heat or tension could cause structural damage to the hair.
A porosity test determines the condition of the cuticle and how much product the hair will absorb. If the hair feels rough, do a colour test to ensure that an even colour can be achieved. If the hair is very porous use a restructuring conditioner.
An incompatibility test will determine if there are metallic salts present and whether the products you plan to use will be harmful. If the hydrogen peroxide and ammonium hydroxide containing the client’s strand of hair heats up, bubbles or fizzes, explain that the planned service is not suitable and suggest an alternative.
Keeping a record
Accurate records give clients a sense of confidence. They also help you to be aware of any previous issues that have affected your client. Since hair and skin can change over time, keeping a client’s record up-to-date with any special conditions is important. For example, Mrs Brown now has some white hairs present so requires a base colour to be applied. If you were away, a new stylist would be aware of this from her record and can deliver the same standard of service that Mrs Brown has come to expect in your absence.
Records can also be referred to if there were a complaint, making it easier for you to put things right. They are also very useful for collecting the client’s data, such as their date of birth, phone number and product preferences. Why not use these to notify clients of upcoming promotions and events?
The consultation is also a chance for you to tell the client about the products and services you offer. During the process, you can pick up all sorts of information about the client which can give you the chance to capture repeat business whilst building loyalty. If Mrs Brown mentions that it is her daughter’s birthday why not tell her about the gift vouchers your salon sells?
Giving advice to your client is an excellent way to build and improve the customer experience as well as providing you with an opening to promote products and other services. If Mrs Brown wants to enhance shine while reducing frizz, why not recommend a serum from the salon’s range?
Make sure that you keep up-to-date with availability, development and trends so that you can always be knowledgeable about your products and services.
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