We would like to address one of the fundamentals of our industry: THE CONSULTATION DIALOGUE! The number of times we take our clients for granted is staggering!

In our day to day travels, the Two Blondes talk to industry people as well as the CLIENTS that you serve. Case in point: a client recently went to a new stylist, someone recommended by a friend. After a brief, “what do you want”, they had a great time and the client loved the results. All was good until they got to the till to ring up the sale. The client was astounded by the price, didn’t say anything, but didn’t re-book her next appointment. She has decided to find another stylist a little less expensive.

It wasn’t the price that was at issue here!! It was NOT KNOWING what the price was that set the client off! As service providers we make all sorts of assumptions about the people we serve. We assume that they have read the price menu, we assume that they know and understand our pricing structures, we assume they know how long a service is going to take, and we assume they know how much time they should book between services.

The consultation dialogue between a service provider and a client is not a one-time event.

It is an ongoing conversation between two people EVERY time you meet! How can you meet the needs of your client if you do not know what is changing in their life, their fashion needs, or the acknowledgement of a changing season.

Consultation dialogue between a service provider and a client.
Photo by Kenneth Dapaah

Here are some of the essential questions or directions you will want to address with your clients on a first time visit (as well as their personal information):

  • Tell me a little bit about your life style. Extremely important to understand how their lifestyle might affect the type of style they are looking for.
  • Do you have any scalp issues you are concerned about? Scalp issues can affect the growth of their hair, the volume of hair, and the possible application of chemicals.
  • How much time are you willing to spend on your maintenance? Again, essential to know if designing and making suggestions on style. If they have a fifteen minute window, you might not want to create a high-maintenance style.
  • Tell me about the products you use at home. Home care recommendation is an essential part of the service we offer. We must know what they are currently using to make assessments. Have they chosen a product that gives them an itchy scalp or dry hair.
  • Tell me about your beauty budget. How much will you spend on your style over the next twelve months? This is of the utmost importance in designing a style for a client. If they only have a small budget then you know they won’t be able to afford a high maintenance colour.

It is essential in the consultation dialogue to paraphrase key points back to the client.

Mary, my understanding is that you need a style that is quick and easy to maintain and will reflect your professional demeanour.” Ask open-ended questions that will draw the client out, and always maintain eye contact.

Consultation dialogue between a service provider and a client.
Photo by Thought Catalog

On return visits the consultation dialogue should include these questions; no matter how many times the client has come back to you!

  • Tell me how you made out with your hair since your last visit.
  • Did you have any challenges?
  • Are the products I recommended working for you?
  • Have you considered…making a change, adding/changing colour for event/season, etc.

Your dialogue is at the heart of your customer service. The clearer and more focused your conversation, the better your client will feel about your service. Stop taking your client for granted. And stop reading their minds – you can’t!