Looking for hair consultation tips or wondering about the best hairdressing consultation questions to ask your clients?
Salon consultations are among the most important things you can do to ensure client satisfaction, especially for:
- New clients or clients you haven’t seen in a while
- Haircuts that involve more than a few inches
- Color (balayage, color melting, etc.)
What is a Hair Consultation?
A hairdressing consultation is a conversation that takes place between you, the stylist, and the client when they arrive at the salon. It’s a discussion to determine what the client is looking for.
Ideally, it should take around ten minutes, but the problem is that this doesn’t always happen.
While most stylists dedicate at least a few minutes to their consultation, many find themselves short on time. So they rush.
While this is completely understandable, it doesn’t always end well.
Here’s the thing: without taking the time to really understand what your client is looking for, you end up making assumptions.
For instance, it’s not unlikely that you have a completely different vision of what “blue hair” is compared to your client. Without taking the time to really understand, things can go awry.
Clients leave unsatisfied.
You risk losing them forever.
What is the Purpose of a Hair Consultation?
The purpose of a good hairdressing consultation is to gather information, to build a relationship, and ultimately, to ensure that both you and the client are on the same page.
When all of this happens, the client leaves feeling satisfied – after all, you gave them exactly what they wanted.
In turn, the likelihood that the client returns increases.
But this isn’t guaranteed to happen without that dedicated space.
What Should be in a Hair Consultation? Hairdressing Consultation Questions
A good consultation means asking the right questions.
This looks different depending upon whether the client is new and can also vary based on service type.
Here’s an outline of hairdressing consultation questions to ask:
Questions for New Clients
- What is Your Goal? Do they want a change? Do they want to learn how to make their hair look more polished? Whatever the case, asking about their goals is an important first step to understand what, exactly, your client is looking for.
- What is Your Timeline (If Applicable)? Do they have an event coming up?
- How Do You Want to Feel? This is really where you start to get to the heart of what your client wants from their service.
- What Are Your General Hair Preferences? Perhaps they prefer straight hair. This question gives you a sense of your client’s likes and dislikes and what you may want to avoid doing or suggesting.
- Were You Happy with Your Last Haircut? Why or Why Not? It’s also a good idea to ask about whether or not they were happy with their last haircut and to determine why or why not.
- What is the Worst Thing We Could Do To Your Hair? This question can help minimize a potentially disastrous situation.
- What Are Your Hair Challenges? Do they struggle with fine or frizzy hair? This question offers a lot of insight into potential treatments or products you could recommend that they would find genuinely helpful.
- What is Your Current Daily Haircare Routine? For instance, how much time do they spend styling their hair every day? This gives you a sense of how low or high maintenance the client is. In the event that the client is looking for a very high-maintenance hair color when they are clearly a very low-maintenance type of person, expectations can be clearly set from the beginning.
- How Often Do You Shampoo Your Hair? Many clients make the mistake of shampooing their hair too often, so this question can offer some important insights.
- What Styling Tools Do You Use? Again, this gives you a sense of how low or high maintenance the client is as well as insight into their preferences and even possible treatments you might be able to suggest.
- How Often Do You Visit the Salon? If they only tend to visit the salon a couple of times a year, you can tell them why it’s important to visit more regularly.
- What Products Do You Currently Use? This gives you an idea of what products to recommend, such as better alternatives.
- What Is Your Job? Lifestyle questions are an important part of assessing what will work for the client. Do they have to wear their hair a certain way for work?
- What Are Your Hobbies? Are they a swimmer? Again, all of these questions give you a sense of whether their goals are realistic and will work for them over the long term.
- What is Your Hair History (Past Two Years)? While it isn’t necessary to ask what sort of hairstyle they were rocking when they were three years old, it’s important to know what they’ve had done within the past couple of years to determine what sort of baseline you’re working with.
- What Do You Like Least About the Salon? Not everyone enjoys going to the salon. This question gives you insight into how to provide a more enjoyable experience for clients who don’t love the salon.
- What is Your Favourite Music to Listen to? More and more salons are providing personalized experiences for their clients and music is one way to do it.
- What Beverage Would You Like Us to Serve You? Similarly to the above, does your client prefer a glass of wine or a glass of sparkling water?
- What Can We Do to Improve Your Salon Experience? Perhaps the client loved the fact that they got a complimentary scalp massage at their last salon before they had to move. Whatever the case is, this information can help not only provide a more enjoyable experience for that particular client but for all of your guests.
- How Did You Find Us? It’s important to know where your clients find you so you can allocate resources in the best possible manner. If most of your clients are coming through referrals, perhaps it’s time to increase your marketing spend.
Questions for Coloring Services
- What Is Your Current Hair Color and Texture? This is one of the most important questions you can ask when it comes to keeping on schedule. Although salons typically allocate a specific amount of time to different services, these services can still vary based on the client’s particular hair type and history (more on this below). Asking these questions in a digital consultation form (more on this below as well) can provide you with a better estimate of how long long services will actually take.
- What is Your Hair History (Past Two Years)? Even if the client’s hair has faded, it’s important to understand their hair history. Was it done professionally or at home?
- What is Your Timeline? Again, do they have a specific event coming up?
- How Often Would You Like to Visit for Touch-Ups? If the client is only looking to visit every six months, you may need to find an alternative if getting to their desired color is going to require a lot of salon visits.
- What Products Do You Currently Use? Given that products are essential for maintaining color, this gives you a sense of what to recommend.
- What is Your Budget? You don’t want clients to be surprised when they go to check out. If they want to go platinum blonde but are currently only looking to spend $200, they have not factored in the price of products, touch-ups and so on.
7 Hair Consultation Tips
1. Start with an Automated, Digital Consultation First
Many salons are moving toward an automated, digital “pre-consultation” that happens before the client actually visits in person. This is what this process looks like:
Client books an appointment online —> Client completes digital form at the time of booking (or after) —> Client attaches pictures
There are a few reasons why more salons are opting for this preliminary consultation first, including the fact that digital consultations offer:
- A Very Professional First Touchpoint. The combination of online booking and a digital consultation form creates a very seamless client experience that instantly elevates your level of customer service. Not only are you offering the convenience of online booking as well as options over which day/time/service works best for them, but you’re also communicating that you care by asking these hairdressing consultation questions in the first place.
- A Highly Personalized Experience for New Clients. For new clients, you can ask about beverage or music preference, as a couple of examples, and provide a highly tailored, personalized experience that can really set your salon apart.
- The Ability to More Accurately Plan How Long Services Will Take. Although you may reserve a certain amount of time for specific services, the client’s personal hair history or even type of hair can add more time to the service than originally allocated. Gathering personal information in advance can help you more accurately assess how long services will actually take.
- The Ability to Avoid Disappointment if Desired Results Aren’t Realistic. The digital consultation allows you to more accurately assess if results are realistic based on the client’s current hair, level of desired maintenance and even budget. By gathering this information up front, you can call them to discuss what’s actually possible in that first visit – prior to their visit. Because expectations are communicated from the beginning, it ensures that the client doesn’t leave disappointed.
- Assurance That Nothing Gets Lost in Translation. It’s impossible to gather all of the above information over the phone. It’s also difficult to get all of this information during an in-person consultation. A digital consultation gives you access to the most amount of information in the least amount of time.
- A Reduction In-Person Consultation Time. With a digital consultation form, you typically shave at least a few minutes off of your in-person consultation because you have already gathered so much information in advance.
2. Review Your Past Clients Notes (for Regular Clients)
For regular clients, it’s important to review any notes you made during their last visit. Perhaps they mentioned they were going on vacation. Recording snippets of conversations and following up helps build your relationship.
Maybe you recommended a specific product in their last visit because they mentioned that the summer heat had been making their hair extra frizzy. This is something that you could easily forget in the span of a few months, but by recording it in a CRM, you’ll remember to follow up with them about it in their next visit.
3. Welcome the Guest, Sit with Them Face-to-Face and Practice Great Listening Skills
When the client visits you on the day of their appointment, those first few minutes are really important.
Here are some tips:
- Welcome Your Guest and Introduce the Name of Your Salon. A warm welcome can really set your salon apart. While it isn’t necessary to introduce the name of your salon to regular clients, it will help new clients remember the name of your salon. This is important in the event that they get asked where they got their hair done! Similarly, express a sincere thank you for visiting your salon, too. This goes a long way to making clients feel appreciated.
- Address the Client by Name. There is an entire psychology behind this. Generally speaking, people feel more validated when you use their name.
- Sit with Them Face-to-Face. Many stylists make the mistake of conducting their consultations from behind the salon chair. Instead, try turning to face the client. This creates more of a bond and even establishes trust because you’re looking at them directly.
- Talk to Them at Eye Level (And Keep Eye Contact). Whether you lean over the salon desk or you pull up a stool, talking to the client at eye level makes the experience less intimidating and creates more trust. Eye contact is also important as it shows you’re listening.
- Avoid Placing a Gown on the Client Immediately. The problem with placing a gown on your client immediately is that it means that you can’t assess who the client is based on external cues such as what they’re wearing and so on. It can also be a bit restricting. Instead, delay this until you’ve talked to the client for a minute or so. Tip of the Day: Before moving forward with touching the client’s hair, ask permission to do so first.
- Practice Great Listening Skills. Active listening is such an important but underrated skill. It means listening with all of your senses. Here are some core features: limiting judgments, reflecting back what is being said and asking clarifying questions.
4. Always Use Photos for Reference (And Ask Open-Ended Questions)
Your client’s idea of “icy blonde” may be completely different than yours. This is why looking at the same photos is so imperative.
But it doesn’t stop there.
It’s also important to ask specific questions about the photo as well.
What is it that the client actually likes about the photo? Sometimes you may find that it’s the style or even just the person themselves and not anything to do with the actual hair.
The idea here is to spend a little time honing in on what the client actually wants.
5. Consider Making Recommendations
In many cases, your client will know exactly what they want, and there will be no need to make any recommendations.
In other cases, though, clients will appreciate specific recommendations based on what you, the expert, think looks best given the client’s hair type, face shape and so on.
When we analyzed hundreds of Google reviews of eyelash businesses, we found that clients actually loved when their technicians made personalized recommendations (they also appreciated when their techs gave them tips as well).
6. Confirm the Details
Before moving forward with anything, it’s important to make sure you verbally confirm you’re on the same page. This is particularly true when it comes to what you’re going to be doing, any expectations that you communicated as well as any budget considerations.
7. Ask if They’re 100% Happy
At the end of any visit, make sure to ask the client if they’re 100% happy – and ask more than once.
Many clients are too uncomfortable to admit they’re not happy (and that you cut their hair too short). This is why it’s a good idea to give them more than one opportunity to discuss how they’re really feeling.
Additionally, using specific phrasing such as “You won’t hurt my feelings if you aren’t loving your hair” can give them more courage to speak up so you can address any concerns before it’s too late.
Wrapping it Up
Thorough hair consultations are critical for gathering enough information, building relationships and to ultimately ensure that the client receives exactly what they had in mind.
Without this dedicated time, you risk disappointing your client and losing them forever.
In addition to reserving ten minutes at the beginning of your appointment, asking the right hairdressing consultation questions, conducting a digital salon consultation first, sitting with the client face-to-face and using photos for reference can really ensure a winning consultation.
These salon customer service tips can also help you to create a five-star salon.