Strong relationships are a core component to success— and, that’s true in all aspects of life, particularly business. Building rock-solid bonds with clients usually takes time, energy and commitment. Trust us, it’s worth all of the effort: a personal connection with a client, studies show, leads to increased business, positive word-of-mouth and, ultimately, greater job satisfaction. We’ve got the lowdown on how to make good relationships great.
Treat clients how you want to be treated.
This age-old adage sounds obvious and, yet, it’s often overlooked. Put yourself in your client’s shoes, and think about what the ideal salon experience looks like. Better yet: go to another stylist, and take note of the behaviors you like when you’re the one sitting in the chair.
Evaluate your body language.
Clients can tell how you feel about being around them by observing your body language. According to Psychology Today, facial expressions are especially revealing. Raising your eyebrows, for example, indicates discomfort, whereas a friendly twinkle in the eye can put folks at ease. Experts also recommend keeping your back straight and your shoulders from lurching forward—good posture gives off the impression that you’re confident and in control. Crossing your arms or legs can send off negative vibes, and a smile and an appropriate amount of eye contact shows that you’re caring and sincere.
Don’t forget the niceties.
You want your clients to come back, right? Try to make all of your client interactions as pleasant as possible. And, never neglect basic manners. Greet clients warmly when they arrive at your studio, and remember to ask about their weekends, vacations, jobs, et cetera. You might consider keeping a book for jotting down post-visit notes—that way you can brush up on individual clients a few minutes before the next appointment. Remember to thank your clients for their business. From the way you answer the phone or respond to texts, to the way you handle the occasional unsatisfied customer, every interaction should be managed in a way that makes your client feel respected.
Communicate with your clients.
Some surprises are good, but nobody wants to feel surprised when it’s time to pay for a service rendered. List your prices upfront, and be clear about your policies on things like returns, refunds and cancelations.
Be a resource.
According to Forbes, the more value you offer, the more a client will depend on you. Your customers come to your for your skills, true, but that doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate your industry knowledge. Especially if you tout an area of expertise, take the time to educate yourself on the latest trends and the best products, and don’t be afraid to share what you know with your clients, whether or not it immediately benefits you. By sharing your wisdom, you’ll move beyond being a service provider—you’ll become a teacher, too.
Reward your loyal clients.
Some small business owners take repeat business for granted, and focus instead on securing new clients. That’s a huge mistake! Long-term clients should be continually thanked for their business, and you can do that by offering incentives. Some Sola stylists delve out product samples they know a particular customer will like, or add a small freebie now and then — like a deep conditioning treatment. Service and product punch cards work, too. The beauty industry is competitive, and the point is to entice clients to choose your business over another. And, if you’re smart about coordinating your incentive program and marketing plan, you’ll be able to use incentives program to boost business during slow seasons.
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients, point-blank, what you can do better. They’ll likely appreciate your efforts and the chance to have some ownership in their hair care. If you’re nervous about putting a client on the spot, consider keeping comment cards in your salon, or sending out one via email.
Create a beautiful salon environment.
Salon appointments can take hours. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time in a place you find aesthetically pleasing? Sola Salons makes it easy to build a Pinterest-worthy space by allowing salon owners to customize their suites and decorate with the colors and furnishings they like. And, make sure to keep your space clean. Nobody wants to hang out in a pigsty.
Keep in touch.
Client relationships aren’t all that different from friendships: for both to thrive, you’ll have to make an effort to keep in touch. There are lots of ways to do that, and technology makes it easy: holiday cards and e-cards, birthday Tweets, or a quarterly email reminding customers that you’re there for them if they need you. The key is to stay on every client’s radar.
Show them you’re reliable.
Many Sola stylists tell us their best advertising happens through word of mouth. These pros have clearly built good reputations for themselves. A business’s reputation, after all, is typically tied to reliability: the more reliable you are as a service provider, the more likely it is that customers will rave about their experience. Respond to calls and texts promptly, and show up on time. If you are running late, give your client the courtesy of calling. Whether you specializing in wax, color or cutting, it’s also important to deliver a consistently good service, which means being smart about scheduling, and leaving plenty of time for each individual customer.