“Treat every customer as if they sign your paycheck — because they do.”
With skyrocketing business costs, heightened consumer demands, rising competition and the escalating costs of marketing and advertising, salon owners cannot afford the devastating effects of customer loss, it’s just too costly! Salon owners and staff can no longer afford a trial-and-error approach to client retention.
Word of Mouth Advertising…
The Best & Cheapest Form of Advertising!
Satisfied customers will patronize your business again and again and will be happy to recommend your salon to their friends, relatives and business associates; unhappy clients will not.
A recent study showed that:
- 96% of dissatisfied customers never complain and
- 91% of them never come back
Another study showed that a dissatisfied customer will tell:
- an average of 9 people about the poor service they received at your salon
Negative word-of-mouth advertising is the worst kind of advertising! It affects the entire salon and the reputation of our profession.
Causes of Customer Loss & How to Eliminate Them
If you follow the guidelines below, you will eliminate many of the causes of customer loss. A steady and loyal clientele will be your reward!
- Failure to Understand The Client’s Needs – Lack of effective communication is the number one cause of customer loss! Work hard at developing interpersonal skills and an enthusiastic and caring attitude toward people. Listen carefully to what your client is saying, and then offer your professional opinion. Sometimes our client’s expectations are unrealistic; it is our responsibility to find a winning look for our client by explaining in an articulate manner what we can realistically do and not do. (I urge all team members to take classes in public speaking to enhance their communication skills.)
- Poor Customer Service; Indifference & Apathy – As the team leader, it is your responsibility to set a high priority on customer service and make sure indifference & apathy are not part of your salon’s business environment. Employees should be educated on the importance of doing their part in meeting and exceeding client expectations and the power that exceeding expectations has in giving your salon and staff members that all-important competitive edge.
- A Negative & Unprofessional Salon Environment – An environment where gossip, negativity and salon pettiness among the staff is allowed is certainly not a positive environment and not the type of environment that clients expect. Our customers have their own problems; they don’t want to be a part of ours. Everyone in the salon should do his/her part in making the client’s visit a positive and enjoyable experience. We must all work hard to make our clients feel like valued guests.
- Poor Artistic & Technical Skills – As a salon owner, you should develop high educational standards and artistic guidelines. Then, you need to make sure the entire staff follows the standards you’ve put in place and you need to monitor customer feedback. Use the customer feedback as a tool for knowing which areas of an employee’s performance need to be improved.
- Keeping Customers Waiting – Keeping customers waiting implies a lack of concern for a person’s valuable time. If you make a sincere effort to stay on schedule, your client will notice and will appreciate that you have respect for their time constraints. If you are running behind schedule, you simply must acknowledge your client and let them know how long the wait will be. If you communicate with them they will more than likely be sympathetic and patient.
- Unfriendly or Dull Personality – A dynamic personality and a great smile will do wonders for increasing client retention. Strive to enrich other people’s lives by being a joy to be around. A pleasing and positive personality uplifts the spirits of everyone. Smile a lot, it will do wonders.
- Poor Management – Lack of business management skills is one of the leading causes of business failure. It is your responsibility to hire, train and motivate your team to improve performance and productivity. You need to help your staff maximize their full learning and earning potential, to create conditions that foster employee loyalty and to share your vision, expectations and salon goals.
- Irregular Work Schedules – Irregular work schedules make it difficult for clients to book an appointment that fits into their schedule. Many clients are afraid to book with another stylist when their regular stylist is unavailable because they don’t want to feel embarrassed or intimidated. Instead, they simply go to a different salon. To avoid this, each member of your staff should have a regular work schedule and stick to it.
- Poor Staff Development – Invest in your salon’s greatest profit potential by placing a high priority on employee training and development. The higher the level of employee training, the higher your client retention rate will be. You can’t expect your staff to perform to your high standards if you don’t provide quality education and tools.
- Poor Quality Control – Set high quality control standards for your team to follow and then carefully monitor your staff’s performance to make sure they clearly understand and are following your quality control guidelines. Improving quality will help exceed the client’s expectations and result in increased client retention.
- Lack of Courtesy & Appreciation – Through your actions and behavior, let your clients know you value and appreciate their patronage. Treat others the way you would want to be treated.
- Poor Workmanship – Take great pride in your work. Always strive for higher levels of excellence in your artistic and technical skills. Good is not enough, if you want to gain that all-important competitive edge. The more you learn, the more you earn.
- Staff and Business Instability – No salon will grow with a constant merry-go-round of staff turnover. Be extremely careful when building your team; hire only committed hairdressers who share your vision and are willing to meet your quality and educational guidelines. When staff turnover occurs, everyone is affected including clients.
Things You Want Your Clients to Say
If you and your salon are meeting and/or exceeding client’s expectations, your clients will make some of the following comments:
- They not only make me look good, they also make me feel good about myself
- They do excellent work, it’s always consistent
- They always seem to appreciate and value my patronage
- The salon is always clean and attractive; cleanliness seems to be a high priority
- I sense that management is very competent
- My hair is always easy to manage between salon visits
- I rarely hear any salon gossip or the personal problems of the staff
- The staff always looks professional in their appearance and grooming
- They are good listeners, they always seems to understand my needs
- They always make me feel like a very important person
- They make me feel like a winner
- They have very little staff turnover
- I can see they value my time; I’m never kept waiting
- I get a hairstyle that’s right for me
- The salon staff is always upbeat and personable
- I can sense that customer service is a high priority
- The owner always takes time to say hello and make me feel welcomed and special
The above comments are very basic but very important because they will help you understand and exceed your client’s expectations. When you accomplish this, you will have created a tremendous amount of good will for yourself, your salon and your profession.
Next Steps Toward Increasing Client Retention
- Above I have shared with you guidelines that will help you develop your own client retention strategies; strategies that will help you avoid the devastating effects of customer loss. I urge you to customize a solid client retention program to suite your individual needs and to education your staff on your program.
- You must give your staff members the tools they need to do a better job. One such tool is my new book, “A Hairdresser’s Guide to Success—Personally, Professionally & Financially”. (Click here for book info.) It will help you and your staff dramatically improve your client retention efforts!
- We as professionals must all work together to meet and exceed client’s expectations and to bring our profession to higher levels of excellence. We must create value in ourselves and our skills and create a demand for our services. Greater fulfillment, higher prices and an improved standard of living will be our reward.
For more information about Hairdresser Career Development Systems, click here to visit our website, give us a call or contact us via mail:
2872 Coast Circle Ste. 202
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Call Toll Free 1-800- 390-4237
Learn about our special seminars at the following links: