In my previous blog we talked about WHY it is important to be a client of a student attending hair school now let’s examine my top 5.5 tips for how to make sure you get what you want.
1. Bring pictures. Students have less experience in conducting a professional client consultation. Consultation skills are, in fact, one of the most important elements of real client service experiences. Pictures will help both you and the student clearly identify your needs and desires. Pictures will make the process much easier and can dramatically reduce the opportunity for a misunderstanding.
2. Engage in the consultation conversation. The people skills, the soft skills, the interpersonal skills developed in cosmetology schools are as or even more important than the technical skills. Explain what you want. Listen to the feedback you receive. Question the suggestions offered. Do not be afraid to challenge the student and their suggestions. Be clear about what you want and be sure they are clear as well. Confirm that consensus is reached BEFORE the service begins.
3. Be patient. Things will likely take longer in a school clinic than they might at a regular salon. Students can and will be nervous and unsure of themselves. Use the relaxed pace and slower service delivery as the break that it is supposed to be. Relax and let the student set the pace. The service outcome will likely be more to your liking and both your needs will be more thoroughly met.
4. Speak up when necessary. If at any point in the service experience you are not comfortable with any aspect of the process ask to speak with an instructor. Everyone from school owners and managers to educators and students wants the services to be right. They want the experience to be positive. Teachers are there to teach, train and guide. Let them step in as needed to insure the learning that is a key element of the experience is happening as teachable moments unfold. If you are unsure of the situation or sense that the student is not fully dialed in and progressing, call for a time out. It is your right and it is the schools purpose. Speak up as needed.
5. Become a repeat customer. If you have a great experience, come back and have another. Repeat customers are the backbone of the beauty industry. Students and educators will appreciate the positive feedback that a repeat customer represents. If your experience is less than 100% positive, come back and have another. Remember, it was supposed to be all about the learning. If some element of the experience was amiss you do no one, including yourself, any good by not coming back. Allow the student, the educator and the business to benefit from the learning experience that getting it wrong represents.
5.5. Tip big. If the school and local laws allow students on the clinic floor to accept gratuities show your appreciation for their efforts by being a big tipper. In a student clinic it does not take a lot of money to move from being a cheapskate to being a big tipper. A few extra dollars might mean very little to you but they mean a LOT to a student. This meaning extends well beyond the value of the dollars themselves. The confidence and self esteemed boost that comes from a sincere thank you, a pat on the back for a job well done and some cold hard cash makes for a powerful learning experience.
You now know WHY patronizing a student salon clinic is important and you know HOW to go about it.
I look forward to seeing you in a chair in a salon clinic soon. Look for me assisting on the floor or look for me in a chair getting my hair cut. I practice what I preach. I get my hair cut every three or four weeks and half my haircuts happen in hair schools at the hands of a student.