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Editor's Note: No Time Like the Present

With clients amping up the number of visits they’re making to the salon to ensure they look their best on the holiday party circuit, ’tis the season to impress them with outstanding customer service. The challenge, salon owners have told me, is making good customer service happen, and happen repeatedly. Fortunately, Kirt Manecke’s new book, Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service (Solid Press, 2013), can help in that department. Here, Manecke shares some of the simple techniques you can put into play to treat customers right and be rewarded with repeat business in return.

  • Smile: When customers enter your establishment, greet them promptly and politely, make eye contact and smile. This may sound basic, but many businesses fail to execute a proper welcome. According to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink (Little, Brown & Company, 2007), first impressions occur instantaneously or within two seconds. A simple smile and friendly “hello” are extremely powerful and can mean the difference between a one-time visit and a lifetime customer.
  • Body Talk: Your body speaks and your customers are listening. Be aware of how you’re carrying yourself and interacting with others.
  • Be Enthusiastic: Have you ever done business with people who seem totally uninterested, unexcited or just plain dull? Be the person you’d want to be dealing with if you were in your customers’ shoes, and make the experience fun and engaging.
  • Keep it Professional: Never talk with other employees about non-business matters, nor talk or text on your cellphone when customers are present—it’s a sign of disrespect. Customers can often hear you even when you’re out of sight so it’s best to save personal interactions for after-hours.
  • Dress for Success: Always dress appropriately and strive to match your appearance with customers’ expectations. Clients form an opinion of you within the first few seconds of meeting you, and yes, they do judge a book by its cover.
  • Under-Promise, Over-Deliver: Most businesses promise more than they can deliver. Rather than telling a client that Ursula Updo will be right with her, be up-front and explain that the wait could be up to 30 minutes, and offer to get her something to read. That way, she’ll be pleasantly surprised if the wait is only 15 minutes.
  • Master Electronic Etiquette: Presentation is everything, even when using electronic media. Emails to customers are a representation of you and your company and, as such, they should include proper grammar and punctuation; full sentences; a suitable, specific subject line; a polite salutation and closing; and an email signature.

Remember, good service translates to good business—not just during the holidays but year-round. ✂ —Kelley Donahue, Editor in Chief, kdonahue@questex.com.

On behalf of the entire American Salon team, I’d like to extend our best wishes for the holiday season and a very happy New Year to our loyal readers and advertising partners.

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About the Author

Kelley Donahue

As Editor in Chief of American Salon, Kelley Donahue reports on all aspects of the professional beauty industry, including salon business-building strategies, seasonal hair and fashion trends, salon services and techniques, and timely issues impacting manufacturers, schools, salons and distributor principals. In addition to conducting photo shoots--one of which was the recipient of an ABBIES Award for Best Magazine Cover--Donahue also travels extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, sourcing out new trends and representing American Salon at major industry functions and educational events.