In this article, I will be addressing your salon’s language and communication between your team and your clientele. This is part 2 to a series we have dedicated to coaching salon entrepreneurs! We hope you enjoy.
Now, let’s get back to salon communication and talk about your new team members fresh out of school first.
Communication Challenge: Salon Newbies Talk Differently
Your salon newbies to the industry can be a bit challenging. They can be a lot of fun and inspiring as well. These employees can bring their own set of ideas and salon vocabulary, making terminology a challenge. For instance, when I was in cosmetology school years ago, the terminology used for services was totally different than the language used today. We used to call a root touch-up just that, a root touch-up. Today, it is referred to as a color service on outgrowth.
Simple nuances in terminology need to be addressed. All of your team members should use the same language to describe your salon’s services. It is important that you, as the salon owner and team leader, set the tone on your business communication language and style. Keeping things clear and concise will help your clients know what services they will be receiving.
There are a few simple ways to keep things moving in the right direction.
Set the Tone in Your Salon Business
I like to have a staff meeting whenever I bring on a new team member. It helps to brainstorm with all the team. This allows all voices to give their input. We discuss the ways that we use specific language to describe our services. It is always helpful to get some content from our recent beauty industry graduates. They are fresh, excited, and ready to take on the world! This enthusiasm is refreshing and inspiring. They bring a current view on what they have just learned. As a salon owner, I like to keep up-to-date on the salon language being used in the current marketplace. This will help keep a team informed when a super savvy client drops a new term for a service you have already been doing, or maybe need to take a look at for the future.
Nothing is more frustrating than to have a client ask for a service you have never heard of. I have had to use Google and YouTube on many occasions to figure out what a client was referring to.
Pick Up On The New Beauty Lingo
When you are interviewing new staff, make sure you do your language homework. If you want to attract young, fresh, energetic team members, you need to speak their language. You have to stay up-to-date on the new terminology for old services. Just one easy example: the permanent wave is now called a texture wave.
Most new graduates will never use the term permanent wave – it sounds old-fashioned and outdated. Another simple example for lash and brow artists is the use of adhesive instead of glue for bonding. Adhesive sounds much more professional in my opinion.
Now let’s take a little time to discuss the seasoned salon professional.
Communication Challenge: Seasoned Salon Professionals
As I mentioned earlier in this post, vocabulary and terminology have changed significantly over the years. I am going to rely on my cosmetology background for some examples. Back in the day, we used to highlight hair using a cap and a tiny crochet hook. It almost sounds barbaric today but this was the technology used then. We referred to this service as frosting. Not many people would know what this service is today. We use foil or plastic wrap or even freehand paint on lightener to get the desired result. Bleach is now referred to as lightener. Terminology changes, techniques change, and so should we and our staff.
The best way to guide our seasoned team members into the updated terminology is to have a meeting, class, demonstration or discussion on how to bring the new and updated language into the salon so all your team will feel comfortable discussing the changes. Your clients will be pleased that their salon is up-to-date, too.
In the past, I have borrowed esthetic and cosmetology student books and read through them. I was amazed at how much had changed just in the terminology describing the techniques and services. I am fortunate to be a licensed cosmetology instructor – this gives me the opportunity to peek in once in a while on what is being taught in the schools currently. I am an on-call educator for a local cosmetology school, so I have access to everything going on in the school.
Being an educator, it is extremely important to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening in the industry.
Your team and clientele will appreciate your dedication to them if you adopt this policy of continuously learning.
Mix the Old With the New
One other strategy I have found helpful is to pair up a newbie with a seasoned team member. I let them shadow each other for a few hours a week. This gives them each time to develop a relationship. In addition, it gives the seasoned team member the opportunity to listen to the language they use to describe the services and how it might have changed. The seasoned member can see how easily the client takes to the new language being used. If there is any confusion, the seasoned member can help explain to the client exactly what the new language means and what the final result should be. This really helps both parties and the client make a smooth transition to new descriptive language for an old service.
We should always be trying to elevate our industry by using language that is descriptive, professional, and up-to-date. Nothing says old-fashioned like dated, stale language.
So, in conclusion, what step can you take as a salon leader to keep up-to-date on the beauty industry language?
I suggest attending beauty industry shows and learning from the amazing talent publishing on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. Maybe you will learn some new lingo you can adopt in your salon during your research.
If you are interested in more tips and tricks to successfully run your salon business, then check out other articles in our coaching series righth here. Keep lashing and learning and we hope to see your eyes here next time!