Clients vs. Guests


In a recent podcast, co-founder Cyd Charisse made the point that hairdressers should call them clients, not guests.  Here's the reasoning:

Guests are defined as someone who is invited into one's home, someone to whom hospitality is extended, or a person who pays for a service at an establishment.  All true.

A client is someone who engages the professional advice or services of another.  Also true.

A personal trainer has clients.  A lawyer has clients.  A financial planner has clients.  Why is it important to change the language we use and how we think about the people that request our services?

Hotels call their clients guests to make them feel more at home.  A hotel is a home away from home.  There are many amenities they offer; housekeeping, complimentary soaps and toothpaste, room service, pools, and fitness and business centers and a big part of the employees job is to cater to the guests' needs.  That's good, right?

A guest in your house, you provide good conversation and a place to sleep and food, et cetera.  But they also aren't paying you. 

 Are you a professional or are you a host?

Are you a professional or are you a host?


As professional hairdressers, we need to be thinking that the person in our chair is our client.  A business transaction will take place during their time in the salon.  You provide services and they provide payment.  This doesn't meant that you work with them without passion or provide value added services like lattes or hand massages.  Quite the contrary; you have to pamper clients the way you stock up on the good coffee and change the linens for a house guest. 

It's a mindset thing.  We may be more inclined to slip that 'guest' the good conditioner instead of charging for it, or forget about the price of the six extra bowls of color when the 'guest' wants rainbow hair.  If they were officially 'clients', however, we would be in the mindset that your time is worth money.  The products you use have to be paid for by someone. 

What does your salon call them: guests or clients?  Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.