By Erma W.
Salon experiences have always been a hotly-debated topic in the hair community. From the costs to the styling and professionalism aspects, there is no shortage of issues to discuss. One of the ultimate goals is (or should be) to have a stellar salon experience. The quality of any salon experience is determined by the actions and attitudes of both the stylist and client. To foster the best possible visit:
1. Get a consultation. Consultations are for the benefit of both stylists and clients. For the stylist, a consultation is the time for you to assess clients' hair, listen to their expectations, and determine whether you can meet their expectations. It is also the time for you to relay pricing details. For the client, the consultation is the time for you to get a feel of the stylist and salon, and state your hair goals and reasons for visiting the salon.
A note about expectations to both parties:
To the stylists, be upfront about any complications that you forsee (e.g., the style may have to be adjusted due to the client's hair texture or length, a client's hair is not in the best condition for a particular service, such as color or straightening, etc.). Do not wait until the client is in the chair to provide this information.
To the clients, be realistic about your expectations. If your hair is not in the best condition, hold off on the coloring treatment and be open to other styling suggestions (perhaps you can get a weave or extensions in your desired color.)
2. Be timely, not tardy.The babysitter was late. The train stalled. You had to run back to the house to retrieve a forgotten item. Basically, life happens. To both parties, be considerate and say that you are running late. In the case of stylists, a lot of lateness occurs due to double- and triple-booking. I've heard that stylists schedule in this way so they won't incur a complete loss for that time if a client does not come. There are salons that charge a non-refundable deposit upon booking as a solution. Whatever life throws your way, do not be a no-show. That is the epitome of disrespectful.
3. Keep it respectful--always.Different salons have different cultures, but respect is an absolute must. Stylists, don't malign your co-workers or salon when a client is in your chair (you really shouldn't do it all.).While you are working on a client, your focus should be on that client. Also, don't talk badly about your clients or their hair. I experienced the latter--while I was in the chair--from a popular natural hair salon. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from that experience.
There are many components to a stellar salon experience, and those parts may vary widely from individual to individual. However, if respect and positivity are at the forefront of everyone's mind, the foundation for "exceptional" will be solid.