lessons in etiquette

this one’s been brewing for a while.  y’all know i love you, but there are some things that we need you to do to make your salon experience a little more enjoyable.  i’ve come up with a list of a few gentle reminders that will help in the areas that can be the most frustrating about getting your hurrs did.  well…they help me, too, by making my job a little bit easier.  🙂  most importantly though, they will help you!  i promise!

1.  pre-book.

this is number one for a reason…this is your insurance policy!!  how many times do you call your salon looking to get in next week and your stylist doesn’t have any availability?  it’s frustrating, right?  my least favorite excuse i get for not pre-booking before leaving the salon after an appointment is “i just don’t know what my schedule will be like, i better call back.”  y’all.  let’s just lose this notion that you have NO CLUE what your schedule will be like in 6 weeks (aside from your monday-friday 9-5 job, your son’s karate class on monday evenings, your daughter’s ballet class on friday, and wednesday night church every week).  i just don’t buy it from 90% of you.  considering the amount of people i hear that from, i am surprised at how many have jobs that don’t have a regular schedule (though i am aware that some people have jobs that legitimately don’t have normal work hours).   but when the regular 6 PMers tell me they’ll call back, then call 3-5 days before they want their hair done “any day next week around 6 pm,” you can understand why i’d want to pull my hair out when they get all bent out of shape that they have to wait 2 more weeks, and/or CONTINUE TO NOT PRE-BOOK.  i don’t get it.  and i KNOW getting your hair done is important to you (important enough to schedule 6-8 weeks in advance), because i’ve had convo after convo with people who have a  borderline meltdown when they can’t get in when they need to and/or if i can’t make magic happen and fit a full highlight, haircut, and brow wax in the only 30 minute time slot their stylist has open.  which brings me to number 2.

editor’s note: if you call to make an appointment 3 or 4 weeks ahead of time, that is acceptable.

2.  “squeezing in” does not exist.

it just doesn’t.  i cannot create time.  anyone working the front desk at any salon cannot create time.  if i could create time, i wouldn’t be a salon owner.  instead, i’d be a bajillionaire charging large companies HUGE amounts of money to create time for them so they could increase their productivity.  (side note: if anyone actually figures this one out, let me know and i’ll gladly invest in whatever costs you need to start up.  then i’d probably just be a plain ‘ole billionaire).  also, some hair stylists are fast, but they are not superhuman.  they MIGHT be able to fit in a haircut to your color appointment if they’ve decided to work at lightening speed, thus sparing a few minutes to get a simple trim in there as long as you are ok with sacrificing your blow dry.  that’s feasible, though certainly not ideal.  additionally, wanting to be “squeezed in” is ultimately disrespect of your stylist’s time, as well as the time of their other clients.  i know that sounds harsh, but if you have begged your way into getting your hair stylist to agree to try to fit a 1 hour haircut into a 30 minute slot, they will inevitably run late, pushing into the next client’s appointment time (who pre-booked, btdubs) thus making their experience less satisfactory.  it doesn’t seem right to inconvenience another client who tried to prepare ahead of time to have an appropriate amount of time for their appointment.  there is one simple way to avoid all of this.  *see number 1*  [also, it’s best to allow the stylist the full amount of time so they can do their best work]

3.  try not to no-show.

*phone rings around 9 AM*

me: “it’s a great day at the cottage, this is terence, how can i help you?”

caller:  “i was wondering if you had any appointments available for cut and color around noon today.”

me: (screaming internally: WHY DIDN’T YOU PRE-BOOK?!) “unfortunately we are all booked up today.  i can look into next week if you’d like, or i’d be happy to add you to our waiting list for today.”

caller: “i was really interested in something today, so if you don’t mind, put me on the waiting list.”

me:  “sounds good.  if anything comes available, i will give you a call!”  *takes name and number*

caller:  “thank you!”

11:55 AM rolls around and we are waiting on tammy sue to show up for her noon appointment.  it’s noon.  now 12:05.  12:10.  finally 12:15.  we usually give an allowance of 15 minutes after the scheduled time before we call the client.

i call tammy sue.

me:  “hey TS, this is terence from the cottage, how are you?”

tammy sue:  “i’m great, how are you?”  completely clueless (and how?)

me:  “we actually had you down for a 12 o’clock appointment today.  i was just calling to see if you might be on your way.”

tammy sue:  “ohmygoshitotallyforgot!”

me:  (thinking “i don’t do confirmation calls for my health”)

tammy sue:  “oh no.  i am soooo sorry, i can’t believe i forgot.  i’ll call back to re-schedule.  have a good day.”

me: (thinking “weeeellllll you should probably re-schedule now ’cause you’re prolly not gonna get in for another 3 weeks”) “you too, bye.”

now it is 12:17.  even if i called the person who was on the waiting list for cut and color, by the time i called them and they came, there wouldn’t be enough time to fit them in.  (no squeezing, remember?)  two appointments gone.

guys, we are human, things happen.  i completely understand that.  i can’t hold it against you if you get a flat tire, or if your child is sick, or if you were in a meeting that ran way over.  for about 5 seconds i’ll be annoyed, then i’ll climb out of the pit of selfishness and realize that some things are beyond your control.  “forgetting” is a different animal.  don’t do that.  and if something comes up last minute, call AS SOON as you possibly can.  the sooner the better, that way we can fill your spot.  a phone call even 30 minutes ahead of time is better than no phone call at all.

4.  pick up the phone.

i think email is an amazing thing.  it has made certain aspects of my job incredibly convenient, especially since i don’t have a facsimile line.  at my salon, we don’t book appointments online, and don’t have a specified email address for making appointments.  (so if you go somewhere that does have these options, skip to number 5).  emailing to set up an appointment isn’t all that bad in and of itself.  it is more difficult, but really the reason why it’s better to make an appointment by phone is more for your benefit than mine.  it has happened several times that an appointment time will be offered through email, and before a confirmation response is received on our end through email, another client has called and taken the exact spot that was available.  also, consider that every salon has evening hours and weekend hours, so if by some odd twist of fate, your work schedule ONLY allows you to email (boggles the mind), call us on saturday.  we aren’t gonna bite, and we WANT to hear from you and have an actual conversation in order to make your experience more personal.

5.  don’t be afraid to try product.

there are DEFINITELY plenty of hair stylists out there who will sell ice to an eskimo.  i understand the hesitation sometimes if you feel like you are hearing a sales pitch, but consider that maybe the hair stylist is trying to equip you with the tools necessary to maintain the beautiful style you were just given.  if you get color, you’re probably spending a pretty penny on it.  as a protection of your investment, maybe try a product that is designed to preserve what you just spent a lot of money on.  or if you just got a really edgy cut, spring for the product that is going to best help you replicate the style at home.  it’s far more than just a sales pitch.  the products the stylists use are part of your look, and are necessary for re-creating it.  just start with one.  🙂  [it should be noted that the cheap stuff you buy at target is vastly different than salon quality products, and sometimes contains ingredients that will work against your desired outcome]

6.  have a plan.

it’s a beautiful thing when a client fully trusts their stylist.  that is what i personally want to see with every person who walks in the door of my salon.  both parties win: the stylist knows they have loyalty from you, and you can have confidence that you’re gonna leave lookin’ awesome.  i love that, and it’s what keeps us going.  one piece of advice i would have for you if you are looking for a stylist who you can trust is to know what you want.  unfortunately, i have seen that when somebody tells their stylists any version of “do whatever you think,” they are only giving themselves HUGE opportunity to be unhappy.  if you aren’t definitive about what you want, how can the stylist have a full chance at getting it right?  it is easy to say “it’s too ‘this’ or ‘that'” when there aren’t any guidelines, and furthermore, it isn’t really fair to the stylist.  having said that, be sure to not go TOO far with it.  in other words, try not to instruct your stylist about how to do their job.  they did go through intense schooling, after all.  lastly, if your stylist is doing an appropriate consultation, the likelihood that they’ll do exactly what you want skyrockets.  sometimes, though, communication mishaps happen, and something with your hair might legitimately be a cause for concern. so….(number 7)  [side note: if you don’t communicate your desires, please don’t say “this isn’t what i had in mind”]

7.  come back if you aren’t satisfied.

i hold this one so close and dear to my heart.  i am not happy unless you are happy.  i don’t want people to leave my salon unsatisfied.  it really stresses me out.  so because of that, it is totally acceptable and appreciated if you call back to get something tweaked if it isn’t quite working for you.  it isn’t a normal occasion that we have to change a few things, but it happens.  believe me, 9 times out of 10, you won’t seem annoying if you call us back (as long as it is within a reasonable amount of time after your original appointment).  you are our billboards.  people notice hair, and most people at least THINK about their own before they walk out of their house everyday, so we want you to be confident in what’s happening on your head.  so rather than feel annoyed in something you would like to be changed, just call us.  seriously!  we want you to be able to hold your head high and confidently tell people: “i have cottage hair.”

having said alllll ‘o dis, we (as in anyone works at a salon…usually anyone, anyway) really appreciate the chance you give us to give you good hair.  we wouldn’t be here without you, and it’s your loyalty that keeps us in business.  we really appreciate that.  in fact, we appreciate you so much that we would try anything within reason to accommodate your needs, even if you are guilty of anything i listed in this post.  these helpful hints are things that can only improve on what is (i hope) an already good experience for you, whether you come to my salon or not.  i would love to hear from you guys any ongoing problems you may have with your salon (without naming names, please).  if any of you reading this feel like de-phantomizing yourselves, leave a comment.  i am perpetually open to ways of improving my business, and the best way to do that is to ask the people!

anyway, thanks for reading, and we’ll see you at your next therapy sesh.  uh, i mean, hair appointment.  😉