Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Getting the most from your hairdresser

To all my loyal readers, apologies for disappearing from the blog scene without a trace. Fret not, for I have been well, alive and kicking; and Fear not, for I'm back with a vengeance, and you can expect me to be prolific with my posts.

Well, this post is a fallout of yours truly being a victim of professional hairdressers in the recent past. Those of you who have seen me with my latest hairdo will immediately know my anguish.

You would empathize with me if you have had variability in your experiences with not only hairdressers, but beauty professionals in general - Head massages, pedicures or facials that fall somewhere in the continuum of absolutely awesome to oh please what did I do to you to deserve this. This set me thinking - is it true of all personal services, does variability exist only between individuals (service providers), or with the same individual at different points of time as well, if so, is there a way to manage this variability?

Questions that I have:
1. Does talking to the hairdresser enhance or mitigate effectiveness of service? That is, will the fact that I actively engage in a conversation with the beauty professional about life, the universe and everything make her warm up to me, and therefore she will do a better job? Or, by being chatty I make her uncomfortable and she ends up screwing up my hair?

2. What works better - expressing expectations clearly (I want my hair an inch longer than the shoulder line, 50 strands, no more, coloured auburn) or giving her a free hand (saying coyly do what you think suits me best)?

3. Does it pay to express dissatisfaction then and there? When asked Ma'am, is the pressure ok?, do I say no idiot you are doing a lousy job, you are hurting me and yell I demand that someone else does my pedicure. I have never tried it, will I get a better person if I do that, this time or the next?

4. Do you tip beforehand to ensure s/he does a good job, or by leaving it for the last, you are dangling the carrot that motivates her to do a good job?

5. Does leaving a large tip during a visit ensure better service during your next?

I have asked the questions, does anyone have the answers?


Maddy said...

Talking and all I dont want to do when having my head massage... just want to close my eyes and let the feelings take over me!

One possible solution (which I tried and worked) is to keep an eye for a particular guy who did it well "the last time" and ask for him and make sure he remembers you (tip and a good word) to ensure continued good service. But then it takes some initial experimentation to get a fix on a good guy of course.

Btw, your haircut ain't so bad :)

Arghya Banerjee said...

Tipping before service is better in a one-off interaction. You create an obligation to reciprocate with good service. But obviously, other than willingness, you also need ability - which no incentive can fix.

Sowmya Srikrishnan said...

Hey...nice to see u back.

And regarding the post, I definitely empathise and look forward to seeing what people comment on this. I need the inputs too.