Creative Solutions for Communicating with Your Clients
By Lisa Ferestad, Cura Hair Solutions, Marietta, Georgia
As we wait for custom orders, how are we accommodating our clients?
As many of you know all too well, custom orders that were placed a year ago have just started arriving at our centers. Waiting is one of the most challenging obstacles to manage in the era of COVID. We must prepare for even longer waits as vendors are seeing more factory shutdowns and delays.
Managing clients’ expectations on top of everything else is stressful, yes. But considering that we are all in this together, I believe communication is the best way to navigate through difficult times.
Here are a few things our studio did during the worst of times to help manage the extended wait times.
We remained in contact with the clients waiting for orders and asked my vendors to send a letter explaining why the delays were happening. We used that information to send emails to all of these clients. It is helpful for them to hear directly from the factory explaining reduced staffing and worker safety issues.
We searched through our inventory to find replacement pieces that could possibly work for clients, as well as checked with our vendors for pieces that were ready to wear and could arrive sooner. The deposits they had already given were credited to these purchases. We let our clients know that when their custom order arrives, they had the option to purchase it first. If they do not want the original hair, we will add it to our in-studio ready-to-wear collection. This gets tricky if the system is not a universal size, but we are willing to take the loss to help the client. We are also custom coloring anything that we can get our hands on to offer our clients who have been waiting.
We decided to stop taking custom orders from all vendors except for one because the delays are too long. We are only working with ready-to-wear pieces until the delays improve. Even while letting the clients know that their wait time will be over a year, it is too stressful for me as a studio owner to keep explaining that I do not have a ship date for them or any additional information.
I am encouraged by the support that I have seen on the American Hair Loss Council forum, where vendors and centers are connecting about the availability of hair systems to match their needs. This is an important opportunity to support one another and offer help when we can. The AHLC has been one of the best resources when looking for hair to help our clients. Hopefully, there will be a time in the near future when production times will return to normal.