I hate that I’m writing this column. I know it’s a very touchy subject, so I want to start this post by saying that at least for me, I value anyone walking through my door. Whether you are in for a $25 Happy Hour Shampoo Blowout or a $300 cut and color with Ombre, you will be treated like royalty.
But recently, I’ve received an overwhelming request from hairdressers (who will rename anonymous) to write a guideline for the proper etiquette for using a coupon (Living Social, Groupon, Amazon Local Deal) for a beauty service. And though it’s a very uncomfortable subject to speak on, I do believe that it is crucially important. For hairdressers and customers. Because it can make or break the relationship from either end using a coupon incorrectly or with an insensitive approach. But used respectfully on both ends, it can be the beginning of a great relationship for both. So, let’s all check our past experiences, biases and egos at the door and discuss this oddly sensitive topic. Ready?
Do: Read The Fine Print
Hair Stylist, Estheticians, Nail Techs and Massage Therapists all put out deals for a specific reason. Either they want to fill their chairs when the salon is typically slow (whether that be a day of the week or a season), they want to promote a new service added to their menu or they just have some newer technicians that need to start building a clientele. Whatever the reason, there is always a calculated one. I ask for 24 hour notice because I require a pre consultation form and that needs time to be reviewed. Some salons may only be offering the promotion for select stylist whom need to build their books and they may not be available for same day appointments. In most cases salons have rules as to if a returning client may use a promotion multiple times or not.
Do: Accept No When Management Won’t Make An Exception
I’ve been yelled at, cussed at and threatened for not honoring deals when I am sticking to my fine print. Clearly, these ladies haven’t read the guide on salon etiquette. Even when their deal clearly states that it must be referenced when booking appointments and turned in at the beginning of the service, that only one may be used at a time even if they bought a second as a gift for a friend or faimily member. Grown women who are respected in their fields and social circles are suddenly disrespectful and catty while speaking with me. Now, how fair is it to go around all of these rules that I’ve asked to be followed and then yell at me in my salon when I tell you that I can’t break them? Please, before you cause a scene, recognize that you are the one that broke the rules. And asking me to go around them and throwing a tantrum when I don’t is just embarrassing you.
Do: Tip Appropriately
When a salon runs a promotion, no one sees money from it. And that’s fine because we’ve signed up for that. But just to give you a little bit of understanding: we already have to discount our services 50% or more to run the deal and on top of that, the company we ran our deal through will take up to 60% of what we bring in. Meaning that if we sell a blowdry deal for half off what we typically charge ($30), our deal company will take $15 of that, leaving $9 to pay out when they disperse funds which is usually twice a month, maybe, we are at the will of the company paying us. I’ve been lucky in my salon that the majority of my promotional clients usually end up tipping well and becoming regular customers. I'm happy to honor a promotion in person for first time clients. But on the occasion when a stylist has spent an hour perfecting someone’s hair on a busy day (and only seeing $3-4 for the service) and that guest walks out without leaving a tip (or leaving $2), I believe that’s just in poor taste. Your stylist is taking care of you, so take care of her. She’s discounted her services and is willing to take virtually no money in order to give you the chance to sit in her chair. So, if you had a great experience, tip her the recommended 10-20% on the full value of the service.
Don’t: Lie About Why You’re In The Salon
Promotional deals are great for so many different reasons. They allow those on a budget to receive a $150 massage for $50. They allow you to try a service or new salon without the risk of spending hundreds of dollars to do so in case you don’t love it. And for hairdressers, they allow us the chance to book fresh faces to sit in our chairs. Your hairstylist (or masseuse or nail tech) has discounted her services almost entirely with the only reason being the chance to see a new customer. She values the opportunity to open up her chair to new guests so much that she’s willing to do a service for a just a few dollars on a slower day.
In light of this, please be honest with your hairdresser. If you are only in the salon because you want to have a new experience, then tell her. If you plan to never come back and this was simply just a treat, tell her. If you have recently moved and are looking for a new hairdresser, tell her. When we run promotions, we understand that there will be those guests who just want to try us out and don’t have plans to come back once that color is truly going to cost $200. And that’s totally fine because that’s what we’ve signed up for in running a deal. But our main goal is to see some retention and if we know you live in Kansas and don’t plan on coming back to Indianapolis anytime soon, we probably won’t push for you to come back. It’s not that you won’t get amazing treatment, it’s just that we will
be realistic when speaking with you about a return visit.