Tune Up Your Listening Skills

Listening may seen passive, and something we can do while performing other tasks. In fact, we fake it day in and day out, pretending to listen, nodding our head in agreement, or exclaiming, “Really?”, while you stack 30 foils in place, when we should be stopping and saying, “I’m sorry,” and look at her, because she just told you her Aunt Martha just passed on and she is upset.

123rf.com/ Eric Isselee

123rf.com/ Eric Isselee


Or, our client has told you a million times she doesn’t like a wet towel on her neck, or she doesn’t like to have her head massaged, or she doesn’t like it when her hair gets too short, and you do it anyway, because you are on automatic, and not performing a consultation because she is a regular client. Or her hair turns carrot red, when she said she wanted auburn, and you didn’t take the time to really listen to her words. Does thais sound familiar?

We’ve all been on both sides of ineffective listening. We are not afraid to let our husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, and even the copy center down the street, know when we haven’t been listened to. We get furious, and indignant, because it is frustrating, and it doesn’t feel good. Imagine our clients then.

The notion that we can rest on our laurels is no longer relevant when it comes to truly listening to our clients, and delivering fabulous customer service. We cannot take them for granted. I don’t know if you have noticed, there are many talented hairdressers out there that are performing stellar consutations and would love to take care of your clients.

[tweetthis]”We all want to be heard, so do your clients.” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]


Listening, to pay attention to your clients words and to what she is not saying.  Listening effectively and accurately is a skill worth building upon, as it is what will keep your client returning to you for years to come.  It’s surprising that we haven’t had more training in this area.  Because truly, we can teach anybody to cut hair, but what makes a hairdresser successful in the salon and her or his life, is listening.


Listening Benefits

Training ourselves in this arena gives us the following:

Clients are happier
Fewer mistakes.
Better sharing of ideas
Better productivity
More creativity

Listening is active and requires using other senses as well. We listen to their words, watch how they say things, and perceive what they are not saying, and repeating back to them what you think you heard. You are watching their body language as they say what they want. You need to be able to interpret these cues accurately.

When a client says she describes her wishes or complaints with her hair in how it “feels”, that tells me, I want to use the same language when I describe what I will deliver. Or she may describe her desires and complaints with, “I don’t like the way it looks. I want it to look full and like it has body.” I know then, that I am going to repeat back, ” I want your hair to look full and look like it has body, and in order for that to happen I’m going to address the cut in this way, and it will require you use these products at home, which I will show you how to do when we get into the finishing stage.

Listening also gives us time to pause, to catch up with ourselves, resting our arms to our side or clasping in front, but in a restful position, or sit in front of them, eye to eye. Listen for inconsistencies in what they are saying as well. This is frutiful to explore, as it helps you and them articulate what the issues are and what is ultimately important to them. Seek clarification.

During this whole process, it is necessary to keep our own ideas, biases, opinions, judgements, assumptions out of the picture for now. This is exploration phase, and thier time to reveal themselves, and if you cut it off, or insert strong words and opinions, you will shut down the whole process, and rid yourself of opportunity to get to know them, and better serve them.

Breathe and enjoy the journey. These are the moments of building trust with your clients, the meeting is about them, and there will be nothing more satisfying to her or him.


Question:  How has listening or not listening to your clients affected you?  Leave your answer on Facebook, or Twitter.


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