Londoners are most likely to hate chatting to hairdressers

Poll suggests Londoners really are less friendly, with nearly half of people in the capital saying they prefer a silent haircut.

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Helena Young
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You’ve booked an appointment at the hair salon or barber shop, and the hairdresser asks how your day was. Are you (A), turning around to answer them eagerly or (B), scanning the room for the nearest exit?

According to a YouGov poll of over 5,000 Brits, 38% of us hate chatting to the hairdresser and Londoners are most averse. In fact, people who live in the capital are almost 10% more likely to say they want peace and quiet during their haircut than in the rest of the UK.

This anti-social behaviour means Londoners are living up to their stereotype of being unfriendly. But, with more than one in three of us now wanting silence at the salon, the findings could also suggest customer service needs updating for the modern age.

Quiet in the chair

It’s common for hairdressers to make small talk with clients about their holiday plans or family life while they work. However, the YouGov research shows that a significant proportion of Brits would prefer that salon employees keep their lips zipped.

In every UK region, bar Wales, more than a third of customers don’t want to speak to the hairdresser, with Londoners topping the introverted charts. 47% of people in the capital don’t want to chat to hair stylists, versus 36% in the rest of the South of England.

YouGov poll hairdressers

Surprisingly, however, Northerners are not living up to their stereotype of being friendly. Those based in the North of England were the most likely group after Londoners to keep mum while getting a makeover, with 38% of respondents choosing this option.

In comparison, Scottish customers are the most likely to blether to stylists, with 56% of respondents in this region preferring a chatty hairdresser.

Men’s mental health

The YouGov poll also reveals a gendered difference between how men and women like to spend their time while having their hair cut.

57% of women said they would enjoy a chinwag with their hairdresser, compared to 44% of men. However, some barber shops have carved out a niche in encouraging men to open up more while they’re sitting on the chair. 

For example, at the hairdressing chain, Murdock, every barber is also trained in mental health. This way, the organisation says, its workers can “signpost our clients and colleagues to the adequate help they may require”.

Does customer service need a restyle?

Overall, 51% of Brits say they still like chatting to their hairdresser during an appointment. But the chair could soon tip in favour of a “silent service.” This could even reflect the way that customers have become accustomed to communicating through – or even with – machines.

Human interaction has become increasingly rare in the digital age, and our reliance on technology is having an impact on our social skills. 

Studies have shown that Gen Zers dislike taking phone calls and become anxious when asked to make them at work. The same can be said for their email writing, which even Jodie Foster had a lot to say about

In an era where some customers will turn to an AI chatbot sooner than they would pick up the phone, salon owners should consider how to use key customer service skills, like personalisation, to create a service menu that caters to every client’s needs.

In Finland, one salon has already introduced a “chat-free” option to clients who don’t feel like talking. Perhaps it’s time for chit chat at the hairdressers to undergo a similar big chop.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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