Real Talk – Carolyn Newman on delivering top-tier service standards

by | Mar 17, 2022 | Self Employment, SELF/STYLED Business

Moving from fully-employed salon to freelancing is a new opportunity to reassess the key elements that reflect your style and brand, and to up your game.
Colourist, educator, and UK ambassador for INSIGHT Professional Carolyn Newman explains why delivering outstanding service in 2022 is just as important as creating a fabulous haircut and colour for your clients.


If you have ever experienced disappointing service, you will know how much it can impact your day and your feelings. If the welcome was unfriendly, or the person looking after you doesn’t make you feel comfortable, the experience becomes unenjoyable. You become less confident that they are going to do a good job and meet your expectations.

Now think about how your clients would feel if they received that service, if that is what they thought of you.

What we do every day is physical, mental and spiritual, and has a direct impact on our clients’ wellbeing. In this current climate this is more important than ever – with so much happening in the world, it’s only natural that clients feel uneasy or unsettled. The market is very competitive and our clients have plenty of choice in where to spend their money. They want to feel special. They have very high hair expectations.

Our job is not just what we do, but equally how we make our clients feel, and this is why service levels are so important. If you are not consistent in delivering top-tier service to every client, consciously tuning into their needs, this can harm your client return numbers and your business.

I’m fortunate to work in many locations and network with both freelance and salon hairdressers, and am very aware of the changes happening in our industry. Leaving a salon to start your own freelance business – whether that’s in a co-working space, studio or home salon – gives you the opportunity to shape your vision, values, client communication and service standards to your clients, both regular and new.

It is not just about money – it is about time, and how they feel about the environment they are in. They want the service to be memorable. Most salons and freelancers offer a great cut and colour, so why should they choose you? If they are going to spend their precious time with you they want professional advice, expertise, to feel pampered with amazing hair and attention to detail. Clients view our spaces as their sanctuary.

You need to seriously consider how your client feels, from the minute they walk in the door to when they leave. The experience they will have with you is tied solely to you; it’s your business name and reputation they are visiting and deciding to spend their money with, so you need to ensure it is outstanding.


Carolyn’s top tips for five-star service

  • What is your greeting like? First impressions are so important for all of your clients.
  • How do you deliver your consultation? Your opening question will always set the tone of the consultation, whether it is to a regular or new client. There should be consistent structure to your consultation which ensures you get all the information you need to deliver your client’s hair expectations.
  • Your space or workstation needs to reflect your brand – have your business cards out on display for your clients to take. You can put a candle or fragrance diffuser on the section, seasonal treats like wrapped sweets or biscuits.

  • Offering an excellent experience doesn’t have to be expensive and needs to work within your business budgets, so make sure these costs are included. I have invested in sustainable colour capes which look much more stylish and professional than plastic ones, and are comfortable for the client.
  • How are you communicating outside of the salon? This can be done through your website, a newsletter with tips or advice, or your social media pages.
  • You can set up a referral system – this helps you shape your business with the type of client you want for your brand, while keeping existing clients rewarded. A bespoke hair treatment with a relaxing head massage can be an inexpensive way of giving a reward.


Find more Real Talk first-hand freelance experiences here >>

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