While a proficient mastery of their craft is essential to any barber’s professional career, it is important for barbers, hairdressers, and hairstylists alike to acknowledge that there are also other skill sets they need to acquire if they want to run a successful barber business.
From responsibly stocking up on must-have professional tools such as hair clippers; trimmers; and other hairdresser equipment, to adopting good hygiene habits and developing business growth strategies, there is an entire suite of pre-requisites one must fulfil if they are to achieve sustained success operating a barber shop or hairdresser salon in Singapore. Of course, at the top of that list is something that all businesses in the service industry regard as sacred: interpersonal skills for quality interaction with customers and clients.
Here's why every barber, hairdresser, and hairstylist should look to cultivate their soft skills if they want to go far.
Why Soft Skills are Important in the Barbering Industry
While technical skills can get you easily recognised and regarded amongst your fellow barbers, it’s much harder for clients to be impressed by your barbering prowess if they aren’t packaged together with an enjoyable experience.
Soft skills are important in the barbering industry because they allow you to make better impressions on your customers — not just of you as a distinct individual, but also of your professionalism and quality of service as a barber shop business or hairdresser salon.
All the barber tools, hairdresser supplies, and technical skills in the world cannot replace interpersonal skills when it comes to building strong customer relationships and ensuring your customers enjoy their haircut experience. Furthermore, cultivation of soft skills can also allow barbers, hairdressers, and hairstylists to develop a more extensive network of contacts that facilitates more room for new opportunities such as cross-promotions, collaborative partnerships, and extended reach to new demographic groups.
The Most Important Soft Skills for Barbers to Focus On
But with all that being said, what are the important soft skills that barbers should focus on cultivating as invaluable tools of the trade? Below are five key interpersonal skills that have been found to be the most crucial for professionals in the barbering industry:
1. Active Listening
Many customers go into a barber shop or hair salon already with a rough idea of the haircut they want. However, not everyone is a trained public speaker, and it can sometimes be difficult for customers to make their requests in a clear and comprehensive manner. As such, barbers should practise active listening in order to better understand or investigate what their clients have in mind.
This includes asking clarifying questions or probing further into ambiguous requests before fishing out your professional hair clippers and getting to work. Recommendations should also be made to the customer wherever appropriate, seeing that your hair knowledge and expertise may prove valuable in helping your customer uncover a haircut or style they never knew would suit them.
As you are working on your customer’s hair, be sure to also listen to any feedback given along the way, and adapt your service accordingly.
Certain haircuts or other grooming services require hours-on-end of work. However, long waits filled with boredom easily make for impatience and dissatisfaction. Customers should thus never be left unengaged or bored whenever you can help it.
This is where the art of conversation-making comes in. Having the soft skill of conversation-making can help you start and maintain an exchange with your customers while you work. Professional barbers, hairdressers, and hairstylists can leverage this soft skill as a tool to ensure that their customers always feel attended to. Not only does this help you provide an enjoyable haircut experience, you’ll also build a stronger relationship with your clients and inspire loyalty in customers to keep coming back for your professional services.
3. Body Language
Since barbering work necessitates face-to-face interaction, soft skills related to verbal communication aren’t the only ones you need to work on. Professional barbers, hairdressers, and hairstylists must also demonstrate strong non-verbal communication skills via their body language. Some simple body language habits to practise include:
- Smiling when greeting or attending to customers
- Maintaining eye contact when face-to-face
- Sitting or standing attentively to display focus
- Not crossing arms or legs when working or addressing customers
- Relaxing your shoulders to appear more approachable
4. Being Patient
Seeing that some hair services can take significant time to complete, it is of utmost importance that barbers and hairdressers in Singapore add the ability to be patient into their professional tool box of soft skills. Having patience will not only help you prevent rushed-out cuts and ensure quality results, but also to be understanding and kind to customers who may have trouble trying to communicate across what they want from your service.
Furthermore, when dealing with more difficult customers, your capacity for patience can go a long way in allowing unbiased evaluation and addressing of tension points in a professional manner that dissolves animosity and conflict, thereby allowing for better customer relations.
5. Retention Skills
Lastly, an often-underestimated soft skill all barbers should cultivate is the ability to retain and recall information. Retention skills can be a great social tool in the barber shop or hairdresser salon with regards to making your customers feel special and appreciated. For example, asking a customer who once excitedly told you about their cat on how their pet is doing is bound to improve your relationship with them while lifting their mood immediately.
Remembering what each customer likes and dislikes in terms of their hair preferences can also help you serve them better whenever they return to your barber shop.
Experience Wahl for All Your Barbering Needs
At Wahl, we commit ourselves to giving aspiring barbers what they need to achieve greater success in this competitive industry. From cordless hair clippers to corded hair clippers to all sorts of professional trimmers and even barbering tips and tricks, Wahl provides only the best when it comes to both the tangible and intangible tools of the trade.
Shop Wahl Singapore today, or visit our Experience Wahl page for more barbering help.