The Debate: Should Salons Offer Silent Appointments?
For silent appointments
Sophia Hilton, owner Not Another Salon
“Not Another Salon is famous for its ‘No Judgment’ policy and I knew that to be truly inclusive we needed to stop clients feeling embarrassed about their individual needs, which is why I introduced the silent haircut. In our over stimulated world, alone time is scarce, and I believe that quiet time is key to better mental health for everyone, not just those affected by mental health issues.
I think we are too ‘British’ in this country. In order to avoid burn out we all need to be clearer on our needs. None of our clients would ever ask for silence before it was a service option, because everyone was too polite to say anything!
Our staff are over the moon about the silent haircut. They all love a chat, but they also love to enjoy some calm as well. We still talk through the consultation and talk about a client’s hair needs through the service – we have just dropped the general chit-chat. Sometimes not talking is the best thing we can do for our mental health, but sometimes, on the contrary, talking is great for our mental health. It’s about offering what’s right for the client at that particular time.
Our salon is filled with banter and laughter, which is total escapism for some people, and I would never change that. However, one day I thought – if I really want to be inclusive, I need to let people know they can have any experience they want here. The silent haircut makes it easier for the client to choose and know it’s ok to be them.”
Against silent appointments
Tina Farey, editorial director at RUSH Hair
“Silent appointments have become a hot topic within our industry and I have to say I am strongly against them. In a world where social media has taken over and in-person communication has become less frequent, the client/hairdresser relationship is extremely important.
It’s not about creating a ‘silent appointment,’ it’s about educating the industry on reading and being aware of a client’s feelings and needs. We are fortunate that our industry encourages communication, and this is something we need to hold on to.
At RUSH we provide an educational course called ‘Serve the Client’ and all stylists take part. This course takes each stylist through the client journey and teaches them how to read the client in terms of their body language and to build a long-lasting relationship that will meet their needs at all times. Through this course we can instantly acknowledge when a client wants quiet time or wants to chat.
For me personally, I want to build up the relationship with my client. I want to show them my loyalty, receive it in return and even become their friend. I would feel extremely isolated myself if a client booked a silent appointment with me. I would feel very disconnected from them – almost like I was a robot. I want to tap into their energy and connect with them on a creative and professional level whilst also being someone they can talk to and confide in.”