First meeting with a client: how to establish contacts, work out needs and avoid conflicts

Permanent makeup is a part of the service industry; therefore, customer orientation should be one of the main priorities of permanent makeup artists. The final result of the artist’s work, as well as the loyalty of customers, depends on whether the specialist can be trusted, on how well he or she can communicate with the client, and whether the client’s needs and expectations can be understood correctly.

How to establish contact with a client

Psychologists say that the overall impression of a person develops in the first 15 seconds of communication. During this time a permanent makeup artist should not only show his\her professionalism, but also (and more importantly) establish contact and win the client’s trust.

The client’s opinion about the artist during the first meeting will be formed as a result of the combination of three main factors:

  1. The way the artist looks
  2. The way the artist speaks
  3. What exactly the artist says

The way the artist looks.  The appearance of a specialist working in the beauty industry plays the role of a business card. The artist’s appearance should be well-groomed, and this is the main criteria. The hairstyle, manicure and makeup should always be in perfect condition; clothes should be appropriate, neat and clean.

Not recommended:

-Extremely short skirts, low-cut dresses

-Too much jewelry/bijou

-Makeup which is too bright (overdone)

-Wearing hair down

-Extremely long nails

-Presence of odors, such as cigarette smoke, heavy perfume, smells of food, etc., in the salon.

The way the artist speaks. According to research, only 7% of the information is received by people through verbal communication; the remaining 93% is perceived through the manner of speaking as well as body language. In order to win the customer’s trust and to do further work more effectively, it is necessary to comply with the ethics of communication and know some basics of psychology.

When greeting the client, the artist should smile in a friendly way. It is important to make eye contact, looking in the client’s eyes during the conversation.

It is necessary to be aware of body language – the posture as well as body movements should be “open”, therefore it is not a good idea to cross the arms or the legs, or to keep the hands in the pockets. The artist should invite the client with the gesture to come into the office/salon. When sitting at the table, it is better to turn the body in such a way that it is facing the client. It is also very important to be a good listener. During the conversation it is necessary to show the interest via nodding when agreeing, asking follow-up questions etc. – this will make it clear for the client that the artist is genuinely interested and is trying to understand the situation in detail. On the other hand, it is not a good idea to interrupt the client, or to show any signs of hurry.

In order to establish contact with the client and win the trust, one might try a psychological approach called “The mirror effect”. The essence of this approach is rather simple – the artist is trying to reflect the client’s manners of speaking, moving, etc., which makes the environment seems more comfortable and relaxing for the client. There can be a few different levels of such adaptation to the client: verbal (intonation, volume, rate of speech), emotional (moods) and physical (body position, postures, etc.)

What exactly the artist says. Apart from the fact that the artist should give the client full information on all matters, he or she should also be considerate and polite, as well as a pleasant conversationalist. During the first meeting it is very important to introduce yourself, find out the client’s name and then use this name as often as possible when having a conversation.

During the conversation, the artist should not only ask questions, but also try to clarify the received answers by saying something like “If I understood you correctly, you mean…” or “Am I right to think that you would like to…” – in this case the client will know that his/her wishes are understood and will be taken into account during the procedure of permanent makeup application.

During the procedure, the artist should not forget to comment all the actions as well as asking questions about the way the client is feeling, especially if he or she is having the procedure for the first time in his/her life. At the end of the procedure the artist should ask the client a few important questions: “Have you got any questions?” “Was the procedure comfortable for you?” The interest that is shown in those questions will let the client know that the artist really cares about his/her feeling.

Not recommended:

-to criticize the client in any way, to discuss his/her private life as well as religious and political views;

– to use terms which are not understandable for the client.

Understanding the client’s needs

Those clients who decide to get permanent makeup applied normally know for sure what exactly they want – they want the result to look beautiful. However, they might have no idea about the exact ways, techniques or approaches used in order to achieve the desired result. Therefore, one of the main artist’s tasks would be to figure out the client’s needs.

After having established contact with the client, it is better to start a conversation with open questions which presuppose detailed answers, such as “What makeup do you prefer in your everyday life?” or “Which style are you keen on?”

Open questions should then be followed by specifying ones that will help the artist to come to a final decision: “If I understand you correctly, you would like to add more volume and brightness to your lips? At the same time, you would still prefer them to look natural or like with a tiny bit of makeup on?”

In order to make sure that the client’s needs are understood correctly, the artist could draw a sketch. This is a necessary step prior to the permanent makeup procedure. The artist should bear in mind that the outline drawn with a lip pencil should look exactly the same as after the procedure of pigment application. The client should be given the opportunity to see the way permanent makeup will look on his/her face before it is too late to change anything. This will help to avoid misunderstanding, frustration and conflicts.

Solving conflicts with clients

Sometimes working with various groups of clients can lead to a conflict situation. There are three main types – difficult, incompetent or dissatisfied clients. In order to minimize the risk of occurrence of conflict situations, it is important to understand the difference between all those types, and to work out the strategy that will help to deal with each type.

Difficult clients are those who do not want to listen to expert’s recommendations since being really opinionated. Sometimes the situation can be rather ambiguous: for example, the client’s request includes green eyebrows or black lips. Would it be a good idea to take this extraordinary order? Most likely, the result of such a whim will be the following: in a couple of months the client will be tired of such extravagant image, therefore a session of permanent makeup removal will be required. At the same time, all the negative feelings of the client will be connected with the work of the artist, thus, the situation can be followed by terrible reviews and seriously affect the artist’s reputation.

In order to avoid that, it is important not to concentrate on financial aspects only, but to perceive the client as a person who needs our help. The artist should explain why he/she is reluctant to follow the client’s request, to warn the client that the consequences might be not very pleasant (i.e. an expensive and complicated course of permanent makeup removal). The client’s decision will be affected by the points that demonstrate his/her benefits or, vice versa, disadvantages of the situation. If the client continues to insist on his/her request, it is better not to provide the service under the pretext that professional ethics does not allow the artist to do so.

Incompetent clients. Before starting to work, the artist should tell the client about all the possible consequences, such as: the necessity of touch-up procedures, the importance of aftercare, and possible individual reactions to the pigment.

Before the beginning of the procedure the client should sign a document confirming that the sketch is approved, and that the client is informed about all the possible consequences of the procedure. Also, this document should contain the list of services provided by the artist – this will help to avoid being responsible for somebody else’s errors in case the client receives services from various artists.

Dissatisfied clients. Even experienced professionals from time to time face negative reactions of the clients after the procedure. The reasons may be either justified or not. Was it impossible to reach an understanding? Or is the client a person who is ready to ignite a conflict without any apparent reason?

First of all, do not start defending yourself or attacking the client.

Secondly, try to move the conflict from an emotional area to rational. It is a good idea to analyze the situation in detail – this can help to understand the reason of client’s dissatisfaction and solve the conflict.

Finally, accept the client’s claims and try to fix the situation and/or compensate for the damage.

Remember that your professional success in the beauty industry is largely dependent on communication with the clients. It is necessary to be attentive to them, to try and find an individual approach, to give positive emotions, and then in return you will receive sincere gratitude, trust and loyalty of your customers.

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