How Do I Deliver The Perfect Client Consultation?
Want to crack the client consultation code? We’ve got you covered. Learn how to deliver the perfect client consultation, why consults are so important for both your clients’ happiness and your business's reputation, and get insider consult tips from some of the world’s leading hair and beauty experts.
First of all, ask yourself this: what can make, or break a client relationship?
The stylist or therapist takes the time to connect with, and listen to the client – no matter how busy the salon is. The client feels confident that she’ll get her desired outcome.
The salon’s calendar is packed with back to back appointments. The client is hurried through their service, with little to no time spent discussing the client’s unique needs and wants. They feel undervalued, and don’t rebook.
Your regular client decides she wants to switch things up. Her stylist or therapist coaches her through the change, manages her expectations and gives her the confidence to rock a new look.
The stylist assumes her regular client wants the same old cut and blow dry and launches straight into the service. Feeling frustrated, the client loses trust in her stylist and decides to go elsewhere.
A new client has sensitive skin. The therapist conducts a thorough consultation, taking notes on the client’s skin history, pre-existing health conditions and ingredients that have irritated her skin in the past. The client signs a waiver to confirm what was discussed.
Feeling nervous about her skin sensitivities, a new client raises her concerns with a therapist. The therapist reiterates that the treatment is suitable for sensitive skin, despite the client’s hesitation. The client breaks out, complains and leaves a negative review on your social media.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
If you’re regularly managing client complaints, or your rebook rates are decreasing, you’re not alone.
Being in the hair or beauty industry can be stressful at times. Without the proper support and training, managing client’s expectations can be a challenging task.
Introducing the new and improved Consult app
That’s why we’ve developed the Consult app – to help you conduct professional and thorough consultations, ultimately reducing complaints, elevating your client experience and protecting your business’ reputation.
Consult is an easy to use client consultation app for iPad & iPhone that’s free for everyone, not just Timely customers. It’s designed and tested by people just like you. More than just client consultations, Consult offers customisable forms that let you design and tailor forms, including client intake forms, waivers and consent forms, to meet your business’ needs. It even includes a library of templates, which have been designed by industry experts.
So, armed with the Consult app, how can you take your consults from an afterthought to a priority in your business? We’ve asked the experts from the hair, beauty, barbering and wellness industries. Read on to find out their favourite questions to ask during a consult and why consultations are an important part of any client experience.
First things first, what’s the purpose of a client consultation?
A consultation allows you to gather information from your client, understand their goals, and recommend the right products.
The key to a great consultation is understanding the client’s needs and expectations, which are then recorded and signed off by the client and the stylist or therapist. That way, you can both move forward together, and you are both accountable for the end results.
Why are client consultations so important for your business, no matter what industry you’re in?
Build confidence and loyalty
It’s a no-brainer: when you listen to your clients, they feel valued. And by giving them the results that they want, you can be sure they’ll rebook. Listen actively, read their body language, and ask relevant questions to understand exactly what it is they’re looking for.
Protect your reputation
It only takes one scathing review on social media to damage your brand’s reputation. Consultations reduce the likelihood of client complaints. They give your staff the opportunity to ask clients about any allergies, sensitivities or health conditions that might impact their treatment. Identify and prevent problems before they happen – and be sure your client signs off on what you’ve discussed, before progressing with the treatment.
Increase retail sales
A client consultation is the perfect time to upsell products and treatments, which will lead to a better bottom line. Remember, it’s not just about the ching-ching, it’s about offering your clients products and services that will make them feel great about themselves. Win-win!
Keep client notes up-to-date
By keeping a record of your client’s treatment history, other stylists or therapists will be able to take over from you if you’re away. Keep your notes in a handy place where your colleagues can access them. Consult automatically connects to Timely so you can upload your completed forms, edit existing client details and store all client information in one place.
Let’s hear it from the experts!
You’ve heard enough about how to run the perfect client consultation from us. What are the experts doing? What questions are they asking? We spoke to some of the world’s leading beauty and hair professionals to see how they run a successful client consult.
Hair Consultation: Cristina Tatasciore, Flipped Hair
Sometimes, it can be difficult to read a client. If you’re struggling to connect with the client in your chair, Cristina suggests dialling into their body language. Make sure you’re listening to how as well as what they’re saying, and don’t jump to conclusions.
Here’s how Cristina runs consultations in her hair salon:
With only three questions, I can understand what type of client I have sitting in my chair and how to tackle my service.
- What are your main struggles with your hair?
- What has been done in the past that you’ve really disliked?
- How much time do you spend on styling?
Tamara Shaw, Beaute Industrie
Understanding your clients’ skin history is a must. Help your clients put their best face forward, and ensure your recommendations will work for their unique needs. Take the time to diagnose their skincare concerns and identify realistic goals for your session.
Focus on emotions when describing how the treatment will make your client feel afterwards. For example, “your skin will be brighter after the Vitamin C facial!”
Here’s Tamara Shaw’s approach to conducting a consult:
- Ask open-ended questions following the acronym T.E.D. – tell me, explain to me or describe for me as this allows for the client to open up and makes the conversation flow.
- When asking about current products your client is using, ask savvy questions such as ‘What brands are you using?’, and ‘How long have you been using that range?’. This will give you an insight into the customer journey they’ve previously gone through and the budget they’re on for home care.
- Ask questions like ‘When did you notice this became a concern for you?’, and ‘Can you point to the areas where you’re experiencing this condition?’ This gives you a reference as to internal triggers that might be manifesting themselves through the skin.
Jazz Pampling, Eyebrow Artist
When it comes to eyebrows, clients tend to have pretty strong opinions! Just because a full brow is en vogue, doesn’t mean it will suit your client’s facial features. Consultations often get derailed by clients with unrealistic expectations. Take an empathic but honest approach, so your client understands what can be done realistically.
Jazz is all about a 5-10 minute consult with all new clients, and 5 minutes for existing clients. Here’s her favourite consultation questions:
- Why did you choose to see a specialist brow artist?
- Have you had your brows damaged by previous brow specialists?
- Do you like a natural brow, groomed brow, or somewhere in between?
- Do you like to use makeup in your brow, or is low maintenance your preference?
- Have you had issues with cleaners or cosmetics?
Bridal Consultation: Paula Hibbard, Hair Educator
Helping a bride-to-be find her wedding day look can be a lot of fun, but also a big responsibility. Be mindful of her needs on the big day. Is she planning blustery outdoors photos? Does she want to show off the back of her dress? Will she have time for touch-ups?
Here are the three questions Paula uses to get the most out of her bridal trial sessions:
- What hairstyle do you dream of for your special day? I ask this question and use the word dream so that we’re not promising anything that we can’t deliver.
- When you go out do you wear your hair up or down? This gives you an idea straight way whether they’re an up or down style.
- If you could make changes to this hair style what would it be? I ask this question as we look at photos or magazines of ideal weddings.
Jonathan Cannizzaro, Valiant Barbers
Sometimes clients struggle to explain the haircut they’re after – a ‘fresh fade’ can look different on everyone, after all! Use photos and visual aids to inspire them into doing something new or different.
Here’s how Jonathan ensures he delivers the best cut for his clients:
- How often are you maintaining your haircuts? This gives me an indication of style/maintenance.
- Do you spend time washing and styling hair? Or are you a wash and wear guy/girl?
- What would you like to do with your hair today? Then I can help them decide on a style that best suits their needs/wants.
Brodie Proykova, Frenchie & Co
Take the stress out of massages, and set time aside before the appointment to get a detailed picture of your client’s medical history and points of concern. Be sure to take notes, and get your clients to sign your consult form – this serves as a record of the information shared, keeping both you and your clients safe during the treatment journey.
Here’s Brodie’s top questions to ask before a massage treatment:
- Do you have any areas of concern or points of specific pain?
- How firm do you like the pressure?
- Describe your current stress level.
- Are you ready to get started?
The perfect client consultation is a breeze when you use Timely’s Consult app. We’ve just rolled out our biggest upgrade ever for Consult, with an enormous new feature set! With the app you can:
- Create, edit and perfect your own custom consultations forms with our simple new form builder
- Access a library of industry templates to get you started with the perfect consultation
- Share templates with your Timely business to ensure your team starts every appointment on the same page
- Sync your consultations back to Timely and automatically update Client contact information, and even create new contacts directly from Consult!
Consult’s customisable forms will help you streamline your business, protect your brand and deliver an exceptional client experience. Use Consult for client intake forms, consultations, client waivers, consent, patch testing, and more.
Get Consult on the app store today. It’s free for everyone, not just Timely customers.