Given the choice, most salon and spa owners will jump at the opportunity to learn how to attract more clients into their business. After all, that’s how their salons will grow, right?
In fact, this isn’t the case at all for most salons I’ve worked with.
Each time I work with a new salon or spa owner, and I ask them what their business goals are, at least 90% tell me that getting new clients is at the top of their wish list.
The fact is, that when we monitor the intake of new clients without any kind of promotional activity, we find there is generally good, and sometimes great, organic growth that required minimal effort or financial outlay.
This means that a lack of growth isn’t necessarily due to a lack of new clients; but it’s more likely to be caused by the inability to keep existing clients. And if that’s the case, shouldn’t the top goal of every salon or spa owner be finding ways to keep the clients she already has, instead of constantly chasing new ones?
Perhaps so, but how do you achieve that?
Well, your clients are just like you and me. When they come into your salon or spa, they want to be treated like a VIP – whether it’s their first, fifteenth or fiftieth visit.
When clients start to notice that their loyalty is being taken for granted, you risk losing them. From this point on, the client can be stolen away from your salon quite easily by another salon that looks like it might have something better on offer.
Many business owners mistakenly believe that their clients will remain loyal to them forever because they never complain. In fact, when clients do complain, it’s generally with their feet and without any forewarning at all. And when this happens, there’s a good chance you’ve lost them for good.
You may think that clients leave because the salon down the road has newer equipment, cheaper prices, nicer walls or fluffier bed linen, but in fact, the majority of clients who leave, do so because your salon doesn’t make them feel unique and special anymore. In short, they feel that they’re being taken for granted and it’s showing in the quality of their treatments and service.
As an example…
I was working with a struggling salon owner who wanted to improve her poor client retention rate. I suggested that every treatment should begin with a short consultation to make sure she understood exactly what her clients wanted from her, and to ensure they didn’t have any issues after their last treatment.
This salon owner couldn’t believe that spending a few minutes of her time, making sure her client was going to be happy was worth the effort. She didn’t see the necessity of ‘wasting’ her time this way when the client ‘always had the same thing every time she was in anyway’.
The rot had well and truly set in, but yet she couldn’t see the relationship between this and her client retention problems.
What are the benefits of increasing your salon client retention rate?
Research into client retention benefits shows that it’s substantially cheaper to keep an existing client happy (and thus returning), than to source a new one. To add to that, existing clients are likely to spend more money during each visit to your salon. This comes from additional service and product purchases that happen once trust and rapport are established.
Also, the expenses involved in constantly sourcing new clients can end up costing your salon many thousands of dollars each year; all money that comes straight off your bottom line. There’s no doubt that keeping your existing clients is a much more economical option.
However, this doesn’t happen by accident, but rather by design, and unfortunately, just being technically good at what you do is not enough by itself to keep your clients returning to you (although this is a very important aspect of client retention).
Once you understand this, you’ll realise that instead of continuously looking for ways to entice new clients into your salon, instead you really need to focus on ways to improve your existing clients’ experiences instead.
With this in mind, it’s very obvious that you must become more client-focused. No longer should you ask yourself the question, ‘What do I want to offer my clients?’ but instead, ‘What will improve the client’s experience in my salon?’
Now, this may seem to be over-simplifying the secret to business success, but in fact, if you can stay focused on what your clients want and find ways to not only meet but exceed their expectation, your ability to retain your clients is going to dramatically improve. And with that improvement will come greater retention and thus greater profits.
Every financially successful business operator understands that without clients who remain loyal, they are constantly chasing their tail and starting from scratch over and over again.
It’s only when clients remain with your salon and then new clients join their numbers and also remain, can you grow your business. Clients retention in an important part of business growth and is 100% dependent on their satisfaction not only with the service that they receive but even more importantly with how they are treated.
The really good news is that changing your mindset around how to treat your clients costs you nothing. Not one cent! The answer lies in the consistent attention to detail, the friendly welcome and farewell and the willingness to really listen to what they’re asking for.
So if your salon is constantly chasing new clients, you may want to stop for a minute to ask yourself why you need to keep doing that. Why do you always need new clients, when if you could just hang on to the the clients you already have, your business and profits would soon be flourishing.