The way you finish an appointment, the way you cross that finish line with your client in the salon is so important.
You only get one chance to make a first impression but the same can almost be said of a parting impression. So don't rush your client out the door. Don't start cleaning up while your client is still in your salon. Don't make her feel like you're in a hurry.
I've said that when a client steps through the door at the beginning of an appointment, you should make her feel that she is the one and only person you want to see at that moment. Do the same at the end of her appointment, and then let her know that you're looking forward to seeing her again.
If your client confides something personal during her appointment, let her know as she leaves that you'll be thinking about her, maybe send her a note or email later wishing her the best.
We all know as hairdressers that our business is about so much more than cutting hair, that our work is naturally intimate. That experience is so important to so many of our clients. If they have shared something sensitive and important, respect that information and honor the relationship. Help them leave with the sincere impression that you care. Even if you're in a hurry, or if your client suddenly divulges something at the last second, you can still acknowledge the information with a moment of warm, sincere eye contact.
Here are some other things that you can do with clients approaching the end of an appointment. Finish by rubbing their shoulders for a moment if that's appropriate and they seem particularly stressed. If there is time, take a minute to sit and finish chatting after a long appointment.
Always ... always offer to schedule another appointment before they leave. As a busy stylist, when you offer to rebook, you alert your client that you're in demand and avoid disappointing her later, and if your client defers, you can remind her again soon.
If your client pays you in cash, never count the money while she's still there. If you're handed a check, don't examine it, because you don't want her leaving with the impression that you do this just for money.
The best finish begins at the start of an appointment. Schedule and pace yourself so that you can finish without rushing. There will certainly be situations, though, when clients walk through the door and they are in a big, big hurry, or maybe they're late. First and foremost, keep your cool. If they are anxious, stressed, worried or even angry, stay calm. That's better for you and your client. You can respect their mood, firmly assure them that you'll work quickly so they can leave on time, or even early, and still remain cool and calm.
If your client is late, assess the challenge. Ask yourself: "Can this be done?" Be honest with yourself and your client. She may want a cut and color but there simply isn't enough time. Don't pretend otherwise, don't let optimism lead you astray. Be very careful not to steal time from your next appointment. Ask your client to consider a cut alone. Or suggest that she reschedule. That's a tough one because time and money is at stake. Maybe you can offer an opening later in the day.
If you agree to a tight schedule, signal to your client that you'll be moving quickly. Remember, stay cool, stay connected. Almost always, your client will appreciate your situation and your efforts to provide an artistic service and nourishing experience in a limited amount of time.