I have decided to break up from a 15 year relationship ……..with my hairdresser . Many service providers will be judged on how they treated us during this pandemic. It is evident that there are some Companies who are capitalising on the Covid experience but when it happens with those you have developed a close personal relationship with it is felt more deeply.
Talking to women everywhere the major anticipation of the big 6th July reopening of hair salons ending months of hair hell has resulted in varying experiences . So this is not directed at ALL hair salons but many of you have been victim to greedy hairdressers at this time.
Firstly let me set the scene this is someone who I have supported since she was a junior at a leading hair salon and when she set up her own salon 15 years ago persuaded me to leave with her and support her in the venture. A bi monthly visit for 15 years for highlights plus bringing many new clients with me constitutes major support.
Late 2019 my colourist moved up one level but the prices moved up several levels to almost double. But my loyalty continued. Early 2020 the salon decided they would no longer offer a “finished blowdry” unless you pay another £15. meaning the price rise in 5 months was now 150% . I decided to continue with the “rough dry” which meant i was leaving the salon looking worse than when I went in. Illogical , I know but…….my loyalty continued. All though on occasion I took my own tools in to blow dry my own hair if I had a meeting to attend immediately after. Why pay when I blow dry my own hair better than a junior.
Then the pandemic hit…………..
Many of us were thrown into mass panic not because there was a killer virus on the loose but who would tend to our tresses! Given strict instructions from our hairdressers not to colour our own hair under any circumstances. Of course knowing full well that we would all be clambouring for their services upon their return.
Sure enough 6th July was upon us the pandemonium was in full swing. Despite leaving several messages at the salon for appointments I eventually got an appointment 3 weeks later. It was at this point I realised customer care had gone out of the window and loyal long term customers were not to be rewarded and new customers scrambling around for salons anywhere to help were given priority. FIRST MISTAKE.
Contextually hair salons have had 80% of their wage bills paid , their rent deferred and no outlay on products during this period. On top of this a huge backlog of business building up which means they will be doing way over and above their normal numbers for this trading period. Unlike other businesses this is seen as a neccessity for most women and will not be as affected as other business and could potentially do very well and certainly bounce back in the first 6 months of reopening.
On the day obviously no tea and coffee served but no water either. Although I can go to any high street cafe and get one ? No water either ? Now i understand that coffee can be served in paper cups and bottle of of water could have been made available as in most repiutable salons who value their customers did. After all over 3 hours without refreshments IS a long time for any caffeine addict and of course no magazines to distract me either. SECOND MISTAKE.
But once the foils were in I ventured out to the high street scaring all the locals as if I was a space alien descended from another planet. After walking around for a good half an hour no available coffee anywhere and the local petrol station had decided to clean their machine at 3pm in the afternoon ! No decent glossy magazine shops either. So I settle for a bottle of water and a “Best” magazine.
I arrive back to the salon deeply humiliated and demonstrating caffeine withdrawal symptoms.. Then I am hit with the biggest BLOW of all, there will be no blow drying of hair due to “regulations” although everyone I spoke to during the writing of this article managed to get a blow dry ! Which of course meant I would have to leave with my hair dripping wet ! Please any hairdressers reading this HOW CAN YOU CHECK COLOUR WITHOUT DRYING IT ? My hair would be dry after my long drive home meaning I would have to wash it again in order to blow dry again. THIRD MISTAKE.
Obviously I cannot do anything about the salon owners interpretation of the “rules” so they got her on the phone ( yes she was at home with her feet up relaxing while making all this money) but I addressed with her that it may be a little unreasonable to expect clients to pay full price for half the service and perhaps a little adjustment was neccessary it was then that she informed me that she had in fact ” had to put up her prices due to Covid” and “im a business woman here to make money where I can” FOURTH MISTAKE
So with hair dripping wet, colour unchecked, caffeine starved and handing over the worst £100 I have ever spent was then politely told by the receptionist “oh……sorry love but you have to pay £3 for PPE” “but I brought my own mask” I replied . “Don’t matter love, it applies to everyone” she quipped back. FIFTH MISTAKE Witholding my normal generous tip I walked out of the door vowing after 15 years never to return.
Note not just to my hair salon but to hair salons everywhere your clients are not the virus, they are also victims of the crisis just as you are with their own financial problems. Now is the time to build loyalty and compassion not crush. I will urge any customers not treated correctly during this fraught time by ANY business PLEASE walk with your feet straight to another business that cares I am sure during this time there are many that will welcome you in. The businesses that will survive now will be the ones that cosset their customers not squeeze them dry.
FINAL NOTE TO MY HAIRDRESSER……..YOU WILL COME A CROPPER (EXCUSE THE PUN) AND YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL WASH (OH NO ANOTHER ONE)THEIR HANDS OF YOU. BUT THIS COVID CONNING NEEDS TO BE HIGHLIGHTED (LAST ONE I PROMISE!)AS IT SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING TO A LOT OF YOU.
JOJOS STYLELIST TIP: IT IS HARD TO BREAK UP A CLOSE DEPENDABLE RELATIONSHIP BUT IF YOU ARE BEING ABUSED WALK AWAY AND FIND SOMEONE WHO REALLY APPRECIATES YOUR WORTH.