John, how can I keep clients when a stylist decides to leave my salon?
When an employee decides to leave whether on good or bad terms, or because of personal or professional reasons, as a business owner, it’s important to be immediately proactive. You have spent years building trust with your clients, and it’s vital that they hear the news from you. When you open this initial line of communication, this puts you in the driver’s seat as you guide them through the transition to a new stylist. This type of change presents you with opportunities such as growth and strengthened client relationships.
Your first action item should be getting in touch with the stylist’s scheduled clients. You will want the news to come from you, rather than your stylist or word of mouth. Reaching out to your clients with a personal phone call gives you the opportunity to show your clients you care about their business and rebook them with another talented member of your team. Don’t forget to turn off your departed employee’s login and external access to your software. Even if an employee is inactivate, their login and external access may still be live. This can be very bad as it allows the employee to still access things like your client lists.
How you communicate the matter is very important. Always acknowledge the situation in a positive way. This reassures your clients and keeps your business in a good light. If possible, refrain from mentioning why your employee left. Keep the message simple, lighthearted and confident. Offer clients who switch an incentivizing promotion for their next visit with their new stylist. It costs you next to nothing to throw in an in-salon hair treatment on top of your discount – but it will cost you much more to find a new client if this one decided to leave. Treat your clients well in this time of change, and show them how much you appreciate them.
Meet with your team to make sure everyone is aware of the situation. It is important to never bad mouth even a poor performing or ‘bad’ employee when they leave. Make sure there is no gossip about the employee from you or your team when out on the floor. This will turn the atmosphere sour, very fast. Instead, use this time to strengthen your team and become better than ever. Take advantage of your social media platforms to speak to all the great things happening at your business such as new training your team has received, new awards, as well as anything else you have achieved recently. Consider spotlighting the talents of each team member to ensure your clients that your business is still strong and has a deep range of skillsets.
When an employee leaves, it can be a stressful and chaotic time trying to wrangle all of their clients. While change is not easy for some, use your outstanding customer service and talented team to remind clients why they patron your business in the first place.
Millennium Systems International, Founder and CEO
About: John Harms, Founder & CEO of Millennium Systems International, creator of Millennium Software, has been designing industry leading salon scheduling software and educating the beauty & wellness industry since 1987. Today Millennium is utilized in thousands of businesses in over 38 countries and operating with approximately 150+ employees worldwide. Millennium currently runs its corporate headquarters out of New Jersey and its international office is based in the U.K.