Do you really know what your clients want? Pivot Point International, Inc., released its in-depth findings from a consumer research study determining what clients want from salons and stylists. The purpose of the study commissioned by Pivot Point and engaging more than 500 consumers, was to determine what consumers look for in a hair designer and to establish communication patterns between consumers and designers.
Among the highlights of the survey, are these important findings:
• More than half of consumers interviewed visit a salon six or more times a year.
• Men are more likely than women to visit their hair designer 10 or more times per year (34% vs. 19%).
• Hair shaping and styling are the most popular services purchased by both men and women.
• More than 40% of women receive hair color services vs. 16% of men interviewed.
Salon owners need to pay attention to the following aspects of their businesses, as the following are most important in their decision to choose a salon:
• Cleanliness of salon
• Ease of getting appointment when needed
• Hair designer is on time for appointment
• Cost of services in line with expectations
• Location is convenient for target clients
• Hours of operation match the client’s own schedule
Consumers are very loyal to their hair designer. And women from 36 to 60+ are the most loyal. Among men, those 26-35 year of age are most loyal to a single stylist. More than half of loyal clients have been seeing the same stylist for three years or more.
Hair Designers are Trusted Advisors
When asked to think about their trust in their hair designer, in relation to other service providers, hair designers were on par with a client’s therapist and auto mechanic. Pivot Point interprets this high trust factor as indicating the importance of continually improving both technical skills in hair design and the softer skills of stylist-client communication through ongoing, lifelong education.
Training, Training, Training
When made aware of a designer receiving regular training, consumers’ opinion of their designer changes. Respect for styling suggestions, referrals to others, respect for product suggestions and even a willingness to pay more for services all increase when a stylist informs clients he/she is getting regular training.
Increased training has more of an impact on those who do not consistently see the same stylist than those who are loyal to a particular stylist. Consistent training of all designers, therefore, will help a salon retain all types of clients.
Clients believe that attending classes, fashion and beauty events, along with online and television research are the ways stylists learn what’s new.
The Client and Hair Designer Relationship
In what’s important to clients about their hair designer, friendliness, technical skills and professionalism rank highest among those interviewed, over candor, humor and product knowledge.
In conversations with their designer, women choose to discuss what style or cut they receive as most important, indicating that the pre-design consultation is essential to building a strong relationship with female clients.
Women also want to discuss what salon products to buy, what hair color is best for them, and, of course, the latest in celebrity gossip and current events!
Above all, consumers value their stylist’s recommendations on hair care: Some 60% say they always or almost always rely on their designer’s expertise. This reliance increases dramatically with the number of years a client has been coming to a particular designer.
Simply explaining what they want in hair design remains the most often communication tool between stylist and client, making People Skills the most important tool for communication. Fewer bring in photos from a magazine, a book or the Internet. Here again, technology plays only a small role as only 6% show photos to stylists on a smartphone with 1% offering photos on an iPad or electronic tablet.
[Image courtesy of Vi Nelson & Associates, Inc.]