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Hair Salons: Getting Great Service!


Image Courtesy of Barbara Lhotan

Have you ever noticed that some people have a knack for getting the very best tables at restaurants, the friendliest bank tellers and fabulous service at the hair salon?

While they may be blessed with some elements of karma, ultimately they probably understand the insiders tips to getting great service wherever they do business.

There are some definite insiders secrets to getting consistently great service at the hair salon.

Listed below are some of the secrets that have been gathered from talking to a number of hairdresser and stylists.

1. Book In Advance

Salons make their money when their chairs are full, their stylists are all busy and they are selling lots of products. While some salons advertise that walk-ins are welcome, in reality, they would prefer to have advance bookings. Whenever possible, book at least 7-14 days before you need your appointment. Not only will this give you a choice at the best times, it will let the salon know that you are a serious client. If you are a regular customer and can work out a reasonable schedule with your hairdresser, book your next appointment before you leave the salon from your current visit. When possible book several months in advance. This is possible when you have a good knowledge of how fast your hair grows or how often you will need chemical services. Some salons offer online booking options. When possible utilize these very convenient appointment services.

2. Avoid Busiest Salon Times

When possible book your appointment so that you are the first client of the day. Your hairdresser will generally be fresh and relaxed since you are the first client. Even better, book on the least busy days of the week (Wednesday, Thursday) and at the most quiet times. When possible avoid busy weekends and lunch hour periods when there are mini rush hours at the salon. Not only will you get better service, you will avoid the hassles that crowds always bring.

3. Call To Confirm Your Appointment

Many salons will actually offer you a reminder service where you are reminded via a phone call or other message of your appointment. If your salon does not offer this service, take the initiative and call in advance to let the salon you are confirming your appointment. Your salon will recognize that you are a good client who is loyal, organized, considerate and dependable.

4. Cancel As Far In Advance As Possible

Life happens and there are times you will not be able to keep your appointment. Cancel the first minute you know that your date at the salon is in jeopardy. If a true emergency occurs contact the salon and explain. Depending on how long you have been a customer, they may or may not charge you a cancellation fee.

If you were at fault for not giving enough notice, graciously pay the fee and apologize for the inconvenience. This is especially true if you love your current hairdresser or the salon's services.

Remember that no-shows are true business losses for the salons. Many salons will waive their no-show fees with copies of a death certificate, accident report or other official proof of a true emergency.

5. Call In Advance Before Arriving At The Salon

While most salons try very hard to stay on schedule, other clients may be late or other problems can pop up that slow down your hairdresser. Call approximately 60 minutes before your appointment and politely inquire whether your hairdresser is on schedule.

If they tell you yes, then arrive at least 10 minutes in advance so that you have time to change into your smock and get settled before you appointment. If they tell you that your hairdresser is running behind, ask if you should delay your arrival. Ask for an estimate of how many minutes you should allow for your hairdresser to be ready for your appointment. Plan to arrive 5-10 minutes before the adjusted time to get relaxed and ready for your hairdresser.

6. Practice Proper Salon Etiquette

Always be polite and follow the salon's dress and behavior code. This might include turning your cell phone to vibrate, wearing appropriate attire and thanking all that serve you from the receptionist to the shampoo person. Some salons do not welcome children during certain hours. Other salons request that clients do not bring in food or drinks. Smoking is often prohibited. Always honor salon protocols.

7. Be Prepared For Your Appointment

If you have special appointment requirements such as a new hair color, style or cut, bring several clear images that display your new hair requirements clearly. Better yet, when booking your appointment explain what all of your total goals for that appointment so that the receptionist can book enough time for an initial consultation as well as the hair service time.

8. Communicate Appropriately

Good service is a two way street. Your salon and hairdresser can not provide the best possible service unless you let them know what you expect. Good service is actually a form of negotiation.

If your visits to your salon are not to your satisfaction for some appropriate reason, politely express your dissatisfaction to the stylist and the salon manager. Let them know what you expect in order to receive good service. Ask them how they can change the current inconvenience so that all parties win. Don't expect or ask for unreasonable favors or services. Expecting your salon to give you a discount for products or services when it is not warranted is inappropriate.

If a problem occurs give your salon a chance to fix it to your satisfaction. Avoid yelling or making threats. Unless you plan to discontinue your patronage of the salon, threats will only cause resistance.

9. Tip When Tipping Is Deserved

Tipping is controversial. Some people believe that tipping is important. Others believe it is not necessary or appropriate. Keep in mind that when you receive good or great service, tipping lets the stylist and salon know that you reward for great treatment. Not only will tipping ensure that you receive great service in the future, it allows you to develop a give and take relationship where you tip according to merit.

If the shampoo person spends extra time with you or gives you a complimentary massage, put a tip into their pocket or tip jar. If the front desk person provides you with product samples or other special treatment, consider tipping them as well.

Remember that tipping is a purely personal matter. If you don't believe in it, consider showing your appreciation with home baked cookies or muffins that you bring in for the entire salon to enjoy.

10. Show Loyalty To Your Salon

If you enjoy your salon and your hairdresser, be willing to refer your friends. If appropriate, you may even wish to purchase your retail hair care products from the salon. Another good choice is to purchase gift certificates to give to friends and family.


Salons know that clients have a choice where to spend their money. They also understand that the salon industry is very competitive. By booking in advance, keeping your appointments and showing courtesy and appreciation, your salon will value you as a prized customer. This means that you will be appreciated in return and be treated as a salon VIP. With that status comes superb service and other perks such as invitations to receive sample products, new salon treatments or referral gifts.

Remember, to get great service you have to demonstrate that you are a client that deserves the very best treatment.

If you want to talk more about this or other hair care articles on or anywhere else, please post a message on's Hair Talk Forums.

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