For Happy Salon Clients, Start With a Happy Salon Team

Most salon owners would agree the key to success is a steady stream of happy clients, who recognize the value in their products and services, who rebook again and again, and give referrals from friends and families.

To create that kind of client, salon owners first need to focus on team happiness. Staff who are fulfilled at their jobs are far more likely to provide outstanding customer service, build better client relationships, and keep them coming back.

Here are the steps to foster the kind of culture that engages, motivates, and gratifies your salon team.

Offer Meaningful Career Development. 

For happy salon clients, start with a happy team.

Most beauty and grooming professionals want to advance and build their careers within the company where they work. Are you providing growth opportunities? Let them know their options for advancement and how they can get there. 

If team members have a solid career path available to them, and are clear on how to achieve milestones to advancement and promotion, they will take more ownership in the salon business and its clients.

Get Managers on Board With Your Salon Culture.

Salon managers and supervisors should know not only how you like your salon to operate, but all the why’s behind every decision. Take the time to make sure your team leaders understand why systems operate as they do, and why certain workplace policies and procedures are in place.

This is an ongoing exercise for salon owners to ensure that their managers fully absorb and appreciate the company culture, and are invested in keeping it thriving.

Managers and team leaders who are in tune with salon culture gain more confidence to have difficult or sensitive conversations when appropriate, and know how to resolve difficult situations as you — the owner — would want.

Ensure Your Team Feels Supported.

Listening to your team is the foundation to support. Does your team feel they can speak freely to you or their manager about issues they might be experiencing? This is important to cultivating a healthy, caring, and supportive work environment.

Team members should consistently get feedback about their performance, which means balancing praise with constructive criticism. When it’s the latter, ensure there are solutions to any challenges that keep them from doing their best work.

As far as praise: everyone wants to make a positive difference on the salon floor. Often, a little acknowledgement goes a long way.

Make Education Part of the Job. 

Make education part of the job for your salon or barbershop team.

Beauty and grooming professionals want to constantly hone their skills and learn techniques that will fill their schedule with the type of work they love to do, keep them on trend, and lead to advancement. Provide ongoing training and coaching that teaches in-demand skills, which will impress current clients and attract new ones.

But don’t limit knowledge-building to just technical work. Include ongoing customer service, product sales trainings, personal development, and wellness topics to round out their in-salon education.

Lighten Up!

For happy salon clients, start with a happy team.

A workplace that is seen as fun-loving generates enthusiasm — which in turn boosts productivity, client service, positivity, and higher odds that your stars will stay. 

Most people want to have light moments at work.  A boring, humorless or uptight work environment could send your top talent searching for a happier workplace. As you think about the atmosphere you have the power to shape, ask your team first-hand what would make their jobs more enjoyable.  While people appreciate elaborate outings, the reality is that the day-to-day work environment is what matters most.

Reward and Recognize.

There are several ways to reward team members for a job well done, and it’s important to do so regularly.

Not only does this boost morale and motivation, but it gives you the opportunity to reinforce key benchmarks and behaviors that are important to salon success. Reward employees monthly or quarterly for great performance in areas like prebooking, retail sales, generating five-star reviews, and going the extra mile to provide amazing customer service.

Team members who feel seen, appreciated, and rewarded for good performance are motivated to stay at that level and aim higher — and they’ll serve as role models for other team members to emulate or ask for advice.

If team members have their professional wants and needs met, they thrive in their jobs and make clients want to come back again and again. The opposite is also true: an unhappy staff fosters negativity, and who wants to spend time in that type of environment? It could lose you valuable clients and team members.

The formula is simple and it works — a happy staff equals happy clients!


Liz McKeon is a salon business coach and founder of The International Salon Business School. She’s the author of 30 Days to Beauty Business Success.

Salon coach Liz McKeon