One of the biggest roadblocks to a happy and productive client/stylist relationship is lack of effective communication. It's the stylist's responsibility to be up front with the client about the types of work involved with requested styles and to rein in expectations to be more realistic. The stylist should also be willing to listen, intuit, and learn from clients so that misunderstandings don't occur. Here are some suggestions of what to discuss with your stylists to open the door to quality communication.

When a client asks for an easy wash-and-go kind of style, make sure your stylists know to dig deeper and discover what that really means for each client. To a stylist who is used to working with hair all day can mean something very different for a client who is unskilled in styling. Your stylists should know not to do a cut that will take an hour of work every day in order to look presentable in this situation. They should ask questions and pay attention to the client's responses and also be realistic with the client about which styles will take a lot of work and which won't.

Similarly, when a client brings in a photo of celebrity hair and asks the stylist to mimic it, the stylist should be sure to remind the client that those celebrities have a team of makeup artists and stylists at their beck and call and that their hairstyle may not look the same without such intensive resources. Stylists should be sure to be sensitive when breaking this news, but still firm. The last thing you want to do is allow unrealistic ideas to continue and then create disappointment when the look isn't exactly what the client hoped for.

While the salon is a busy and hectic environment, your stylists should learn to pause and take notice of the signals their clients are sending them. If you've suggested a certain cut and the client is hesitant, take note of this hesitation. Is the client nervous about a shorter length? Does she feel the style won't be flattering on her? It's important that your stylists are able to pick up on body language and facial expressions to avoid miscommunication and hurt feelings if a client is too uncomfortable or timid to disagree at first.

Finally, demonstrating styling and product usage to clients will go a long way toward creating a return customer. Stylists shouldn't just cut and run; clients will greatly appreciate being shown how to handle their new hairdo before they leave the salon chair. Taking this extra minute to show them what to do will foster a sense of trust and increase their comfort level with the stylist.

If you can get your stylists following this simple advice, your salon will be well on its way to being a relaxed environment where clients feel respected and keep returning often to your styling stations.