We cannot talk about Hong Kong’s finest hair salons without mentioning Sozo Hair Design. This modern hair design boutique located in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong has put one focus in mind and works towards achieving it on a daily basis: customers’ satisfaction. We had the opportunity to interview Yoko, the salon’s owner. And we are very thrilled to share with you the story that gave birth to the place that keeps customers coming back.
I was born and raised in Tokyo. After high school, I went to a hairdressing school in Japan to learn more about hair. I honestly consider myself very lucky because I had the chance to go to a hairdressing academy in Japan. Getting a degree in hair design there is one of the hardest things. It requires a lot of effort, energy, and patience. And not everyone is able to keep up with the Japanese pace. But I got to practice and learn from senior stylists’ mistakes as well as being able to challenge myself. One simple example is the fact that it took me 3 months to take the shampoo exam! I also worked in Sydney which sharpened my skills in terms of hair diversity.
Before having my own salon, I worked in many different places that certainly taught me a lot. But there was one common thing that I did not appreciate and that was the main trigger behind starting my own hair salon. Customer focus. I noticed that the staff sometimes did not care for customers’ needs as much as they cared for showing their own skills, and what they think is best for customers. This used to truly upset me and I couldn’t do much about it. I did not have the power to change anything – that’s why I decided to open a salon that strives for customer satisfaction. We don’t want to be the best at hairdressing, we want to be the best at doing what customers want.
I love all my customers and I can assure you I know all of them and know what they like. I also get a lot of people coming to my salon with bad haircuts or low-quality colors that other salons made. Yoko, I need you to fix this right away, please! This definitely puts so much pressure on me because not only it’s a customer who is not satisfied with their haircut or hair color, but it’s also a customer who trusted me to change that. I have one chance, there is no way this customer leaves unsatisfied!
The staff is the backbone of the salon. If the staff is satisfied and happy, they will do a great job which will also lead to satisfied and happy customers. That’s why I emphasize on the staff meeting. It’s the touchpoint that allows me to know if everything is going the way it should be, what are the things that we should stop in order to be better, and what are the things we should start implementing to improve. I always tell my staff that careful listening to the customers’ needs is crucial, and before starting the haircut, repeating everything the customer said in order to make sure that there is no misunderstanding.
Milbon for hair straightening: it’s a very good brand that suits perfectly Asian hair and it does not have a strong smell, unlike some other brands.
Davines for hair coloring: It’s nice on the hair and does not harm it
Wella for different care always does a great job.
Kevin Murphy is best used for volume and also for hair treatments.
My salon is not focused on showing our customers the skills we have, we are here to show the customers that we can achieve the results they desire. So no matter what, we listen to our customers, give advice, and finally do what we agreed on.
I spent so much time, energy, effort, and money to practice hairdressing. Because I am a firm believer that you can never reach the customers’ desired style if you are not skillful enough. It would have been possible for me to become a hairdresser with less investment, but I surely wouldn’t be able to achieve the quality expected from customers.
I feel like it was more popular and competitive back when I started. Now, there are people who like to opt for easier jobs. Products also improved a lot and we now have plenty of good options to choose from which are no longer damaging and harmful for the hair. There is also technology that helped a lot in the industry. It’s always changing! that’s why I make sure to be up to date and make sure to ask my staff to do the same in order to always bring what’s best for customers to the salon.
I would not consider this as a secret, but I believe that the best combination for customers satisfaction is skills and good listening. Invest in your staff, train them and always remind them of our common purpose. In addition to this, customers should always be the salon’s number one priority. We always make sure the customer does not leave the salon until we achieve his or her desired hairstyle.
Japanese straightening as number one, digital perm as number two, and to complete the podium, coloring for both males and females. I shall also add the fact that we are experts in choosing the most suitable products for the customers depending on their hair nature.
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