How To Create A Client Experience As A Hair Stylist

“my client walks in the door, i cut and style her hair, and then she walks out the door.”

then the bomb drops.

that client never returns.

you are so puzzled as to why she never came back for her next appointment.

then the second bomb drops.

you see this ex-client posting months later about her latest and greatest haircut by this newfound, up and coming, millennial stylist - all while both of them are raising a glass to her new style with some white girl rosé.

“literally what the h*ll did i do wrong?”

what went wrong is that you let her walk in the door, only cut and style her hair, and then she walked out. she never felt wanted, appreciated, or pampered. girls, we all know women desire to feel this way. this a treat for them. yes - paying you over $200 for some balayage highlights is a treat for them, believe it or not. clients want to walk out that door with their “new” hair feeling as if they are about to freaking walk down the red carpet. i expect a double door exit, that’s how extremely luxurious i feel after getting my hair done.

these clients are going out of their way to pay this much to have their hair done by you, so you should go out of your way to make it a gratifying experience for them.

this is where an intentional and streamlined client experience comes in to highlight the desired feelings of your client and here’s how:

to give you a tangible representation of what i am talking about, let’s us drybar as an example.

1.pick a theme

one salon that nails (lol see what i did there) this perfectly is the nation’s premiere blowout salon, drybar. their whole brand identity is based on beverages - from the name of the styling products to the styles of the blowouts offered. not only does their brand identity captivate clients enough to walk in the door, the beverage identity is still pouring throughout the experience. while clients are in the process of the blowout, some drybar locations even give complimentary glasses of white wine or champagne and even a full bar at their las vegas location. talk about theme commitment.

now, i am not saying your theme needs to be your brand identity, but the two should closely relate. so - if you stand for female empowerment, make your experience theme showcase that. what makes women feel empowered? what makes women feel the vibe/theme you are going for? get out a piece of paper and just jot down any thoughts that come to mind. once you have brain-dumped these ideas, sit for a few minutes reading what you wrote and see how you can incorporate these thoughts/items in your salon and/or experience.

2. collateral

back to dry. back in the day, their gift cards were called “gift coasters” to play along with the beverage theme. at the reception desk, they had last minute mini products to purchase on the way out in a cute, little branded box that said “raid the mini bar.” get it? cause they were mini products. too stinkin’ cute, right?! oh - let’s not forget their menu. the menu literally looks like a menu that you would see at a bar on a thursday night out for the girls.

recently, i visited the store of my favorite handbag brand and mentioned how incredibly thirsty i was and at that moment, i was handed a branded water bottle. i thought it was the cutest thing ever. so cute that i literally kept it. yep, i’m that weird. but you see my point. a freaking branded water bottle made an impression to me.

make your in-salon collateral stand out to enhance the client experience. brand your pricing guides, appointment cards, shopping bags for retail purchased at the salon. any of every part of your client experience that can be branded and intentionally purposeful. something as small as branded hand napkins in the bathroom if you want to be that boujee. your collateral could play a huge part in making the experience memorable. think about every step of the processes for your services? where could you add branded collateral to uplevel the client’s experience? jot these ideas down and save them for later!

3. ambience

great, you now have a theme and you have your collateral ideas ready to be printed out. now, let’s make the salon ambience pop for the last touch. once again, let’s talk about drybar. remember how i mentioned a bar in the las vegas location having a full bar? yep. there is a lounge area inside of the salon to highlight the beverage theme. for the locations that don’t have an actual bar, drybar still goes to the extent to create a “mock” bar to go along with the theme. this brings the branding to life. it’s pretty much like the client walked away from the real world and into a branded little cloud that’s actually a salon. i freak out everytime i see a drybar because that’s how much of a lasting impression it left me with. make that same impression.

so, let’s say say you are going with a 20’s gatsby/high-end theme for your salon. don’t just stop at the theme at the collateral. make every room have purpose. bring it into the waiting area, the restroom, the hair washing station, the retail area, etc. make the paint, furniture, and decor stand out as well. the waiting room is for waiting, but doesn’t only have to be for waiting. if you have more of a warm theme, add a complimentary coffee bar. if you are going for more of a fun vibe, maybe have some rosé and champagne. if you are going for more of a high-end theme, set up a wine bar. (obviously in moderation lol). write down all the areas of your salon/station that could be branded, then make a pinterest board for inspiration.

4. streamlined

last but not least, you want to make sure your client experience is streamlined so every client is treated with intention. gonna bring drybar one last time. no matter what location you visit, the styles are the same. the process is the same. the experience is the same. every time. a streamlined experience makes sure not one client gets treated any less than another. this is crucial for making your client feel important. i went to a salon not too long ago. on instagram, they are very well known for their high-end photography station and beautiful images of their stylists’ work. while i was in the waiting room, i watched dozens of clients getting their picture taken by their stylist. dozens, i tell you. after my appointment was over, my stylist then walked me right past the photography section and straight to the reception desk to pay. me being the client experience driven person i am, i was ticked and slightly felt as if i wasn’t good enough to have my picture taken. thank gosh i am not a sensitive person, but it goes to show you that clients pay attention to what’s happening to themselves and the client in the chair next to them. write down every step of every process you have and basically make a schedule out of it, so no client feels left behind.

don’t underestimate the power of an intentional client experience. i mean, it’s obviously worked out for drybar.

need more guidance on the topic of client experience? shoot me an email, girl.