I remember when I was writing a monthly article for Cosmoprof for their Nail section......years ago. The director in charge told me the first one is the easiest. The more you write, the more difficult it becomes to think about topics to write about.
I disagree. My mind races constantly with what I want to share with you in an effort to help your business grow. I talk with clients who give me topics they would like to see and, sometimes the vision will just come in everyday conversation which, is where this topic comes from today.
ARE YOU REALLY LISTENING TO YOUR CLIENTS?
Has our routine tuned out the feelings of our clients? Do we really hear what our clients are saying when they talk abut their day? Has asking “how they are doing “ turned into just routine? Do you even wait for a reply?
I’m not really sure if it was the impact of the OSS class I took or the obvious divide and insensitivity in our world today, or maybe both.
I feel like we have just stopped listening.
The biggest impact the OSS class had on me, was learning all the emotional, physical and psychological impact having cancer does on a person. I certainly don’t want to minimize the severity of cancer however, in taking that class, I began to realize we all have cancer “like” situations in our life.
A situation to where you want to be left alone, or maybe you want someone to be with you. A situation where you want someone to just take care of you. A situation where you want someone to not just hear you, but truly listen...without judgement. Someone to just listen and not try to solve whatever it is you may be talking about.
Maybe you want silence. Maybe you want distraction. Whatever it is, we have all been there. To what extreme is individualized. It's all relative.
Have we forgotten?
We are in a service oriented, make me feel good industry. Most of our clients who frequent our Salons, do so because the service they receive "makes them feel good".
Are we focused on our client? Are we really paying attention to what they are saying?
I know I always harken back to the client consultation. We all know how important I firmly believe that is. However, the client consultation helps us to determine the service. The client consultation protects us, it protects our clients. Listening to our clients goes a bit further than that.
What;s the difference?
A client consultation is manual. what I mean by that, is it's all the same questions, the same routine, the same process.
- Listening to the client involves empathy. "The ability to understand and share the feelings of another"
- Listening to the client involves compassion. "Concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others"
- Listening to the clients involves exactly that, listening "pay attention, be attentive, concentrate on"
How can we take these characteristics of listening and put them into action in our Salon?
- Client is 5 minutes late
- Well, we have all been here. A late client means stress. It irritates us and right away. And, that irritation is visible. Do you even know why that client is late? Do you ever take the time out to really care? Chances are, we are hurrying our client to our stations to get right down to work. What about taking that 10 second pause to "ask if the client is okay?" Does he/she need a moment for the rest room? Maybe a drink? I believe if we calm ourselves, we calm the situation. Make it a policy, if your client is late, they pay for the service they scheduled yet receive the service you have time for. There is always a way to adjust. Even in the worse of situations, you can be compassionate.
- Client is stressed
- What do you do? Sit her down and perform the service? That would be the norm right? How about offering a heated neck pad or a cold eye mask for 5 minutes. You can perform your service while the client is experiencing a moment of rest. Spray a mist of calming lavender in the air around them. It takes seconds to show your client...you were listening....you heard what they have to say, and you care.
- Client has aches
- I think this is what I think most about when I think back to my salon and what I could have done different in particular aspects of my services. The small gestures which can go a long way. Offering a hand massage to a client who uses their hands a lot. Offering a leg massage to someone who stands a lot. I'm not talking about what is included in the service they are receiving. I'm talking about the client who quietly mentions about his/her long day which might have affected her hands and/or legs. It's listening....it's letting the client know you listened, and you heard.
WE JUST HAVE TO LISTEN
Listening is a skill. In fact, I was quite surprised to see how many books and educational materials there are on the "art of listening". Not listening divides us. Not listening makes us miss many things. Not listening makes us insensitive. Not listening makes us look dis-interested. Not listening simply makes us look like we just don't care.
Get back to the basics of why you got into this industry in the first place. You want to make people look and feel good.
Use your artistic talent to make them look good, use your nurturing soul to make them feel good.