Customer loyalty is arguably the most important ingredient to a long-lasting, successful business. It's been proven that loyal customers visit more often, spend more money during those visits, and provide free, word-of-mouth promotion. Yet, small business owners, including salon professionals, often focus their efforts on chasing new customers as a way to increase cash flow. New business is great, but don’t neglect those clients you’ve already snagged. Try these tips for increasing the kind of loyalty that’ll have customers coming back for years to come.
Create Strong Relationships
Client loyalty comes when you can meet the needs of your customers before they even have to ask. Sound complicated? Relax! You probably got into the beauty industry for a number of reasons, one of which is that you’re good with people. It’s time to use those people skills to your advantage by establishing honest, open communication and trusting relationships with each customer right from the start. A consultation before each appointment is the perfect time to check-in about style preferences and issues or frustrations they may be facing. Lifestyle can also make a big impact on the final product you leave them with. Do they work from home or are they constantly on the go? How much time do they want to spend recreating a look or style?
Say Thank You
It might sound obvious, but in a world where premium customer service is on the decline, remembering to thank clients for their business can set you apart from the rest.
A short, personalized thank you note (bonus points if it's handwritten!) or email to your most loyal customers is a great start. Or, lean into technology with a follow-up text message a few days after an appointment asking your client how they liked the results of their last service. As always, be open to feedback, and be accommodating if they aren’t happy.
You might also consider sending clients home with a small gift, such as a sample product — something you know they’ll love. The truth is that customers will remember the first and last moments of their appointment far more vividly than anything that happens in the middle. A small token of your appreciation can go a long way, and who knows? You just might get them hooked on your newest product line!
Speaking of manners... This tip may be short and sweet, but it’s critically important. Be on time for appointments, and if you’re running behind or you get held up in traffic, be courteous. Call or text your client to let them know asap. In an effort to be fair to all customers, you might even consider imposing a 15-minute grace period policy for the sake of sticking to your schedule. Just make sure you’re upfront about the rule so late clients aren’t stunned.
Partner with Other Professionals
When current clients have to go to another full-service salon for a treatment you don’t offer, you risk losing that client to another beauty pro. Making sure clients stay loyal, though, doesn’t have to mean adding to your list of salon services.
Partnering might not be as complicated as you’d think. If you do hair, try partnering up with the nail technician or cosmetologist down the hall for some killer package deals they can't refuse!
Being consistent and predictable is one of the best ways to build trust with your clients. This shows that you are reliable and solid, and it tells clients that your beauty business will be a trustworthy one that’s deserving of their time and money.
Allow clients to have expectations for your salon, and vow to meet those expectations. When communicating, strive to contact clients in a consistent way—either always by text or always by email. Pre-booking is key to repeat business, so make sure your systems are in place. We also recommend keeping salon messaging simple: Live by a mission statement or a motto that will keep you in line with your overall salon goals.
Show The Love
A recent Forbes survey showed that 71 percent of customers who ended a business relationship did so because of a poor customer service experience. If you want loyal customers, do your best every time, and give your clients way more than they expect.
If you have extra time on your hands, for example, you might do a longer scalp massage or offer a free service like a deep conditioning treatment. You don’t have to do something special every time—sporadically going the extra mile can make a huge difference.
Keep in Touch
Staying connected to your clients is key. Not everyone is on social media, but even your least tech-savvy clients have an email address. Email newsletters are an easy, effective way to stay in touch with clients while pushing out valuable information, such as tips for between-visit hair care or news about product promotions and rewards programs - all great for attracting repeat business. Every once in a while, send your top 10 clients a random email or text with special offers or deals just for being loyal customers.
And if they are on social media, get them to connect with you there! Seeing your content on a regular basis will keep you top-of-mind and remembering how much they love being in your chair.
Take the time to listen to what your clients want. Don’t just assume a client wants the same style or service as last time. We recommend having a list of questions to ask at the beginning of each appointment. This ensures you know exactly what their wants and needs are on the artistic side, while also making sure they don’t have any problems with the price or products before you start.
If you love what you do, your clients will feel it, and they’ll have a better salon experience because of your joyful, positive energy. It's your salon. Your standards.