–Salons that can achieve client loyalty will always be streets ahead of their competitors in terms of client retention, and given that it’s 91% cheaper to retain a client than to find a new one, this is something worth striving for. Creating the perfect relationship with a client starts from the minute they first hear about you, and continues on indefinitely.
Creating client loyalty is a process and one that every salon can work towards achieving. It’s not about having the flashiest premises, the newest equipment or the cheapest services. It’s about what you do that makes your client feel great about themselves when they’re in your salon and after they leave.
Here are 5 essential actions you can take to create loyalty to your salon.
1. Make your first impression your best impression.
You’ve heard it before. How many opportunities do you get to make a fantastic first impression? Only one so make the first visit to your salon the absolute best for your prospective client!
• Answer your phone in a professional manner and avoid letting your caller wait past 3 rings for you to pick up. Put a smile on your face, the caller can hear the difference a smile makes. Identify the salon, yourself and ask how you can help them. Speak clearly.
• Create the best possible impression of your salon from the outside so that as your prospective clients approach, they will be impressed with what they see. Always keep your windows and doors smudge and clutter free, the footpath area swept and clear of litter and ensure your signage looks fresh and is easy to read.
• Train your therapists to treat each client that comes into your salon like they are their own personal client. Ensure each of your team acknowledges every client that they encounter in your salon.
• Your reception area will reflect on the rest of your salon, so make certain it is clean, uncluttered and professionally presented.
• Clients expect a professional environment when they enter your salon. Train your team on salon etiquette to ensure that they act, speak and appear so as to reflect your desired image.
• Nothing else matters if the client receives a substandard treatment. Make certain your team are well trained and fully up to date with all the treatments you are offering.
• Re-booking your clients is a must. All of your team MUST be offering this service to your clients so that they feel that their patronage of your salon matters to you.
• Every new client should receive a follow-up letter to thank them for choosing you and to encourage them to return to your salon.
All of these things will contribute to making a great first impression on your clients. Now is the time to look at each of these areas in greater detail to see how you can make them even better, and give your clients the best possible impression of your salon from the very beginning.
Step outside your role as the salon owner, and review every aspect of your business from a new client’s perspective. Note what needs to be changed and start improving your business straight away.
2. Understand what your clients want from you.
Every client is an individual and as such will have different “wants” from your salon. No one is a mind reader and so the only way you can know for sure what each individual client wants from you and your salon is to spend time asking them the right questions about their needs.
By investing a small amount of time consulting with your clients before each service is delivered, you can gain a better understanding of what they require from you. This ensures that if they weren’t one 100% happy at their last visit, you can make things right, and avoid losing them to your competitors.
Research shows that 95% of clients who aren’t happy with their treatments, simply won’t tell you and 70% of them will go elsewhere. This situation can easily be avoided by making time for quality communication at each visit.
Client consultation is not something that should be done only when the client first comes to you. Make time for a brief consultation before every service, and you’ll see the benefits for both you and your client.
• Brainstorm with your team to generate a list of good questions that each team member can use during their follow-up consultations.
• From this, create a set of questions that you believe will allow your clients to communicate their wants and possible disappointments with you.
• Role-play them with your team to ensure that they’re comfortable in using this process with all of their clients.
3. Deliver outstanding service consistently.
Creating consistency in your service delivery is vital if you are going to generate client loyalty in your salon.
Your clients deserve the very best you can provide for them and be assured that if they do not receive it, there’re plenty of other salons willing to do so.
Competition in the beauty industry is high, and more and more salons seem to be popping up in suburbs all over the country.
Consistency involves ensuring that your team delivers the same service in terms of quality and procedure, every time the client comes into your salon. The random addition of discretionary services may seem like you’re giving your clients a bonus, but in fact, they can actually cause your clients to be disappointed when you don’t have the time to provide them.
• Develop set procedure guidelines for every service your salon provides.
• Ensure each of your staff members is trained to deliver exactly what is in that procedure – no more and no less. This way every staff member is delivering the same service to every client, and you can rest assured that you know what is going on in every treatment room.
• Retrain your staff on service procedures, and ensure that they understand why it’s so important to deliver consistency to their clients.
4. Invite your clients back.
Clients need to know that you value them and would like them to return to your salon. Offering to re-book your clients is one of the most straightforward ways to achieve this. By letting your clients know that you’re keen to help them to achieve their desired outcomes and would like to see them on a regular basis, you’re telling them that you care about what’s important to them.
Every client should be offered a re-booking before leaving your salon, and it should be a consistent part of the service your salon offers. The bonus for the salon is that clients who are re-booked before leaving the salon will return 50% more often than those who are not re-booked, and that will have a very positive impact on your profitability.
Another simple yet effective way to invite your clients back is to send them a welcome letter from your salon after their first visit, thanking them for choosing you to look after their needs. You can include a small gift voucher for them to use on their next visit to ensure they return.
By getting your clients to return for a second and third visit, you’re increasing the likelihood of retaining them by providing an opportunity to “settle in” and feel comfortable with you and your staff. A small gift voucher is a very small price to pay to increase the likelihood of retaining a client.
Statistics tell us that if you can get a client to return to your salon for a second and third visit, you have increased the likelihood of retention from around 25% to a whopping 70%.
• Train your staff not only how to re-book and pre-book their clients, but also about the positive results it will produce for the client, the salon and for them personally.
• Develop a client welcome letter, and include a special offer to encourage the client to return to your salon.
5. Reward client loyalty.
Everyone likes to be rewarded for their loyalty. Loyalty programs work beautifully, and you only have to look at large corporations like Qantas and Woolworths to see just how effective they can be.
A good loyalty program should be a win-win situation for your client and your salon. Not only does your client get the opportunity to get something for “free”, but the real bonus is that they have had to show your salon consistent loyalty to get it.
Loyalty programs vary depending on the market they’re operating in, but by keeping it simple to operate and easy for the client to achieve their reward, you’ll have a successful program.
The days when clients were loyal to just one salon are long gone. If you want your clients to be loyal to just you, you not only have to provide them with outstanding service and treatments, but you also have to give them an additional reason to stay. New salons are always opening and if you want to keep those hard-won clients, you must use proactive strategies to do so.
• Determine how you would like to reward your clients, and undertake a loyalty program today.
• Train your staff on how the program will work.
• Let your clients know that you’re going to reward their loyalty with something that they’ll want and enjoy.