What value do your clients place on time?
by Faye Murray

How often during the course of any given week do you hear someone say “I just don’t have enough time,” “I didn’t get time to do that.” or “I am such a poor time manager?

I acknowledge that some people are challenged when it comes to managing their time, but I am also very aware that most people today struggle with time because their life has so many pressures and they need to do too many things as part of a daily routine.

I live in Brisbane and over the last three years I believe I spend an extra 2 to 5 hours a week sitting in traffic. Something I have no control over, but what a waste of valuable time. (I have become proficient at eating my lunch at traffic lights and running an office from my car – sad but true)

Everyone is time poor. Everyone is looking for ways to save and manage their time better. So how can you, in a professional hairdressing salon, work with your clients to provide a more time efficient service without detracting from the quality of hairdressing and the quality of service you offer?

Some ideas to consider:

1. Be aware of your client’s time expectations immediately

How, you might ask. In consultation ask your client “Do you have a time allowance I need to be aware of during your visit today” By asking this question, it ensures that you and the client are both working towards the same goal. They can then relax and you can comfortably continue the service and by knowing what the client expects, you can deliver.

If part of your salon system is to have a clipboard containing the client’s history and docket, follow them through the salon and note clearly what the client’s departure time is so all team members, who may assist you, are also aware.

Never promise what you can’t accomplish. If the client’s expectation is unreal tell them upfront. I suggest: “You will need to allow an extra 30 minutes for your service today, do you need to call someone to arrange that?”

It is much better for the client to make the call two hours out, rather than 10 minutes, when they are stressed and agitated.

2. Just because you have the time, it does not mean the client does.

It’s Tuesday afternoon and you only have one client for the next two hours. You have lots of time to spare. So you take longer to consult and chat while you’re mixing the colour. You catch up on your fellow team member’s night out. You take extra care and time and instead of your colour application taking 30 minutes, it takes 45 minutes. Add the chat time and fluff around time, another 15 minutes, and without any bother the client spends an extra 30 minutes in the salon – with the same service she always has.

The question must be asked, “Is this good service?” No. Good service on a Tuesday afternoon would be the same time awareness, but to add the perception of feeling special and adding value – perhaps a hand exfoliation and hydrating massage while the colour processes? This takes no extra time.

3. Many salons have equipment that is designed to accelerate the processing of colour. I recommend you always use these where recommended by your product manufacturers. They are a great point of difference. It feels nice and if it saves the client’s time, and at the same time gives them a great result – they will be happy.

4. Encourage clients to come in at off-peak times. Every salon is different, but there usually is a pattern. Market your quiet times, but link it to the fact that – “If you come when we are not so busy, we GUARANTEE (Yes Guarantee) to get you out on time”. If a client has flexibility to come at a non-peak time with a guarantee to get them in and out , it can be very appealing.

5. Offer a before work service. Yes I am suggesting a 7.30 appointment time. You will be surprised to whom this will appeal.

6. Offer express services. Many clients who visit salons iron their hair to get a look. Some do it as part of their daily routine, but some do it (or try to do it) for a special occasion. Step back in time (those of you who are old enough to remember) to the comb-up. A client’s ambition for a special occasion or just to maintain their style came from a quick comb-up. This service did not take long, but it brought people in sometimes daily or twice weekly. It added dollars to the salons takings.

The 2008, the version of a comb-up is an express iron service, where the client comes with clean hair and has a quick straightening or texture and curl service. The good thing is this service can often be directed to your junior or upcoming stylist.
If you want to add dollars to your takings and save client’s time, make sure you mention this opportunity to them.

7. Make your salons user friendly with Internet access. Why not have a retractable laptop shelf that slides back under the bench when not being used? Or internet access available at the colour bar? Encourage people to bring their business to the salon, that way they can come during the day instead of joining the influx of after work clients.

8. Be a one-stop shop that offers a full service that includes beauty, massage, make-up and giftware for that last minute gift. As hairdressers over the last ten years, we have not, within the area of hairdressing, been able to increase the range of services we offer. Look at the beauty industry and they are constantly introducing new treatments, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal, skin tightening, photo rejuvenation, hot stone massages and the list goes on. Look at what else you can offer your clients. This is one of the best ways to future proof your business.

The first step as a modern progressive hairdressing industry is to recognise that we don’t have a great reputation for being good with time. So having admitted this, there is an opportunity to do it better. Look at how, in your salon, you can make some changes to provide what busy people want.

“They do great hair, give great service, but they don’t take liberties with my time. I love that because I need every minute of the day I can get.”

How would you like it if your clients were saying this about your salon?

Faye Murray is a coach and trainer with the Your Coach team working with salon owners to develop businesses throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Coaches contact details are; VIC Lisa Ezzy 0407 159389, NSW Malik Arunachalam 0408 458 997, QLD Kym Krey 0403 042 312 Faye Murray 0409 342 653 WA Lisa Moore 0412 777 603 Di Ford 0417 982 637. Visit the website www.yourcoach.net.au to receive one hour free coach and to enrol to receive free monthly business and marketing tips.