The surly stylist

I’d been looking for a new hair stylist so decided to try an upscale one near my home who advertised a special deal. When I arrived for my appointment, the salon was empty but for a lone woman at the reception desk who was taking payment from a teenager and his mother.

They chit-chatted for about 5 minutes while I looked around the shop’s retail area, then sat waiting for my appointment. The employee didn’t acknowledge my presence in any way until the pair left. “Can I help you?” she asked.

I said I had an appointment with Nichole, which turned out was her! I was curious that she didn’t just say, “Are you Rebecca” since I was obviously waiting for an appointment and was the only one there.

I gave her my name and she took me back to her station. Soon after we settled in, she got a call from her husband. I could hear him screaming and cursing through the phone. She talked to him while doing my hair. She didn’t say much to me, even though I tried to strike up a conversation when she was off the phone. She was probably upset about her husband.

At the end, when we were settling the bill, I asked which credit cards she took. She said she only took cash. Luckily, I had been to the ATM that day as I don’t usually carry that much cash with me. I told her I wished she’d mentioned she only took cash when I made the appointment. She didn’t respond.

I will not be going back to this stylist.

  • Do your employees make eye contact or greet your customers briefly even when helping someone else. A quick “I’ll be right with you” goes a long way to setting up a positive interaction.
  • Do your employees (or you) ever take disruptive phone calls at work in front of clients? If so, you need to cut off the conversation immediately, saying, “I’m with a client. We can discuss this when I’m off work (or on a break).” Clients don’t want to hear terse conversations and cursing even if it’s from the caller, not you.
  • Do you make your payment terms clear with new clients before they agree to do business with you? You need to do this especially if your terms are out of the norm (most upscale salons take credit cards even if the individuals rent their stations).


Remarkable Customer Service...And Disservice
Remarkable Customer Service...And Disservice

Situations like these are discussed in Remarkable Customer Service…And Disservice, including questions to present to your team at staff meetings. Get your copy today.