They often say that the front desk is the heartbeat of the salon and it’s gone digital –from online booking to AI systems, and text confirmations. We are living in the modern, technology-driven times, but our industry relies 100% on authentic human connection. As the new era of salon clientele emerges, so does the need for growth in our communication. In watching this trend I became curious, are we losing the heart connection so important to stylist/client relationships with our reliance on social media and digital communication to fill our books?
To understand this, you must understand the differences between independent contractors and employees. According to the IRS, a business may pay an independent contractor and an employee for the same work, but the legal differences include employment and labor laws, income tax withholding and Social Security tax. For example, a company may employ stylists and control how each person is paid, if expenses are reimbursed and whether or not back bar or tools are provided. Independent contractors are responsible for insurances, advertising, income tax, supplies, tools, vacation and sick time, the list goes on.
If you live in a state where laws regarding employees and independent contractors maintain that a business must be one or the other (like my state, California), the changes at the front desk have probably been an adjustment. Without the ability to employ a receptionist, salons have become collaborative of independent contractors working under the same roof. Each stylist must maintain and schedule their clientele, support a retail and resale license, and participate in the cleaning, upkeep and daily chores of the salon. This means folding towels kids!
This is not new for many stylists working over the past 20+ years. Of the seasoned stylists I interviewed, a majority still does their towels at home daily, keep a paper, (yes PAPER) appointment books, and have a Rolodex of client formulas. These men and women chuckled when I asked questions about Instagram followings. Most are so booked with referral clients and prebookings that the platform of social media as advertising is simply less valuable than the word of mouth and personal connections they have spent a career cultivating.
In states where blended salons exist and a mix of booth renters and commission stylists work together under one salon brand, these changes may be coming your way. No matter what structure you work within, the opportunity is present to step up our connections now and be open to communicating with our clients, current, and future, in a different way!
Heart to heart connection is so important in this industry. Have you ever had a client disappear? The ‘ghosting’ is real people...wondering why they left is normal and so often we place blame on their shoulders while failing to look in the mirror. That client may have been feeling a lack of connection and we are responsible for taking time to find out why.
I challenge you to take 5-10 minutes and think of someone no longer in your chair who may have felt like they received less than your full attention. Be honest with yourself. How did your action or inaction contribute to the change in the relationship? Did you react or respond to their needs? Were you listening?
Now, take a few deep breaths. If you are anything like me, that felt a little painful and maybe you sent a text or made a pie for them or something. Beyond baked goods and sincere communication, what are ways we can cultivate more opportunities to connect with clients directly and keep the PERSON in PERSONal service? We would love to hear from you!
Until next time beauties,
Stay tuned: Next month, Ritual Adornment and Intuitive Haircolor to FREE YOUR HAIR!
For more fashion-forward styles and product picks and be sure to stock up on all goodies the Bangstyle store has to offer!