Clients disappear from your salon for all sorts of reasons. Some things you can’t do anything about (like clients who move interstate or die), but other solutions, which can be incredibly simple, are often overlooked.
Replacing lost clients is actually one of the biggest expenses in any salon. Did you know it costs at least 5 times more to get a new salon client than to keep an existing one?
If for no other reason (and there are plenty of other great reasons), retaining your existing clients should be very high on your list of ‘must do’ activities.
Here are some other very interesting facts about why existing clients are so much more valuable to your business.
• According to the authors of Leading on the Edge of Chaos, a 5% reduction in client loss, can result in much higher profits. Not just 5, 10, or even 20 % more, but a staggering 25 -125% increase.
• Research done by Gartner reveals that 80 percent of your salon’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing clients.
• Marketing Metrics states that the probability of selling to an existing client is 60-70%, whereas the probability of selling to a new client is only 5-20% (Source http://bit.ly/WAaE1x). That alone makes a significant difference in your ability to sell retail and additional or more premium services.
Clearly, there are lots of compelling reasons to keep existing clients returning to your salon, rather than constantly chasing new ones.
This leads us to the ‘how’ part of this article.
How to get your salon clients to stay without having to spend a fortune to do so is not as difficult, or expensive, as you may imagine.
In fact, there are many quite simple and cost-effective strategies that you can implement into your business in less than 30 days, that will substantially improve your client retention rate.
Let’s take a look at 3 of the major (but straight-forward) retention strategies that you can use…
Treat your clients like you’re genuinely glad to see them.
This sounds ridiculously simple but is surprisingly often overlooked in favour of more technology based solutions.
To hit the nail on the head with this strategy, you can implement these key points:
- Greet every client by name, and expect all of your team members do the same. It’s essential that all of your team understands that clients don’t belong to just one therapist. The client belongs to the salon, and therefore it’s the responsibility of every team member to greet every client as they arrive. If they’re busy with another client, a simple but genuine smile and quick “Hi” (with the client’s name if possible) is all it takes. This creates quite a positive impact on your clients, and sets the scene for an enjoyable visit to your salon.
- Ensure that the client’s service provider has fully researched the client’s service and purchase history prior to her arrival, so she can discuss previous treatments and purchases to determine if improvements or changes are necessary. This line of conversation also opens up buying opportunities for the client.
- Never skip the client consultation part of the service. This is important because it’s when the client gets to tell you want she really wants from her service. Not everyone wants the same thing every time they visit (even though this is often what they get). Life is full of changes, and with that comes changing needs also. Consultations don’t need to be formal and lengthy at every visit, but they should be included before every service is provided or every retail sale is made.
- Make the client your sole focus while they’re having their treatment. There’s almost nothing more frustrating for a client than to have her treatment constantly disrupted by her therapist leaving the room to answer the phone or go to the reception. Whether it’s a haircut, a Brazilian wax, or a facial, the client has paid for your time and deserves your uninterrupted attention. You may need to introduce new strategies in your salon to accommodate this, but it’s something you must do if you’re to keep your clients satisfied.
- Supply everything your clients need to have optimal comfort during their treatment. If your treatment rooms get a little chilly, then make sure the client is well covered and stays warm. Make sure she has a comfy chair to sit in when taking off shoes and jewellery. Provide a jewellery bowl so she knows her items are together and safe. Each treatment area needs to have a mirror on hand – you know what some treatments will do to client’s hair. All small things, but important to your client and her level of enjoyment.
- Invite her back. Offer her a re-booking so she’s not disappointed in 4 or 6 weeks time when she needs to return, but can’t get an appointment to suit. Clients are no longer prepared to just wait and fit into your schedule. If they can’t get an appointment with your salon when they want it, there’s always another one to ring just down the road.
Revisit each of these areas in your salon to see where you can make simple changes that will impact on the quality of your clients’ experience.
Stay in touch.
Do you receive local magazines and flyers at home? Well, so do your clients. And they’re chock full of advertisements from other salons that are trying to lure your clients away from you.
This means there’s a real need to maintain quality contact with your clients between their salon visits to ensure they stay up to date with your special offers, and of course, so they remain loyal to you.
Here are a few easy and inexpensive ways to do just that:
- A quick follow up phone call, especially to a new client, lets her know that you care about her needs and not just her dollars. For a 5 minute investment of your time, your new client will feel valued and that’s important when it comes to client retention.
- Treat your client to a card and salon voucher for her birthday. How many service providers that you deal with acknowledge your birthday? In fact, it’s pretty rare, and this is what makes it special in the eyes of your clients. A real card with a salon voucher included makes a big impact on how valued your clients feel.
- Send a monthly e-newsletter to keep your clients up to date on new services, products, promotions, and even team members. Keep your newsletter short, visually appealing, easy to read and not all about sales pitches. Make it worth their while to read it, with monthly special offers that will appeal to them. If you really can’t manage it on your own, get some help.
Deliver first class service and treatments.
This should go without saying, but sadly many salons disappoint their clients by delivering treatments and customer service that don’t match their price point.
Begin by taking an honest look at your current standards (this may be a little painful for some), identify where you could do better, and from there start to implement the necessary changes.
Here are a few ways to get started:
- Google your salon name and look for reviews. Unhappy and disappointed clients are always the first to leave a review. These poor reviews hurt your business, so at the very least you should know what they are and learn a lesson from them.
- Revisit any client complaints you’ve had in the past couple of years. Did you do anything about them at the time? Was there a lesson in the complaint you didn’t take action on, but could now?
Simply think about your own past experiences in other salons. What was great (these are the ones you should emulate) and what was terrible (make sure your own salon is not guilty of any of these).
- Ask your team members to share their past experiences at a team meeting, and get consensus on the changes everyone is prepared to make to improve your levels of service.
- When it comes to delivering a better experience to your clients, one of the best tools you can use is a Secret Shopper. Secret Shoppers can provide you with invaluable information that you could never normally access, and they don’t have to cost a fortune. Offer to provide some free treatments to a friend or colleague who doesn’t normally visit your salon, in exchange for her Secret Shopper duties. The secret to the success of this strategy is to ensure they have a comprehensive questionnaire to complete and return to you after their visit.
Delivering first class service and treatments doesn’t happen by itself. Salons that enjoy high client retention rates have also developed first class team members through ongoing training.
Like any athlete who wants to enjoy peak performance, skills, and service, training needs to be a regular occurrence.
Some salon owners reject the idea of investing in training because inevitably team members move on, and naturally take that training with them. However, to quote Zig Ziglar, “The only thing worse than training employees and losing them, is to not train them and keep them”. How absolutely true!
Training doesn’t need to cost you a fortune. Usually, the salon owner is the most knowledgeable person on the team and can, therefore, run productive training sessions with their team.
Product suppliers will often agree to come to the salon to run training sessions with your team members. And if you’re lucky enough to have some very talented team members in your salon, organise for them to run some training sessions with other team members also.
Successful training is like anything else…you must plan for it. Create a training schedule for your salon so that your team members understand the importance of keeping their treatment and service skills up to date.
Well trained team members deliver better treatments and customer service, which in turn provides better value for your salon clients. Clients who receive great value from their salons, rarely look elsewhere to have their beauty needs met.
Whatever your budget, build in time for training.
Gaining a new client in your salon is wonderful, but keeping an existing one is even better.
Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.
~ Tom Peters