Keeping Customers in today’s competitive and changing business environment is challenging to say the least. Salon owners can no longer afford a trial-and-error approach to client retention. 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.
Satisfied customers will patronize your business again and again, and will be happy to recommend your salon to their friends, relatives, and business associates. Unsatisfied clients will not. Negative word-of-mouth advertising is the worst kind of advertising there is, affecting the entire salon and the reputation of our profession.
A recent study showed that 96% of dissatisfied customers never complain; 91% just never come back. Another study showed that a dissatisfied customer will tell an average of nine people about the poor service they received at your salon. So how do we lose clients, and how can we go about keeping customers?
When it comes to keeping customers, avoid these common mistakes:
- Uncaring Hairdressers
A true professional should always display an enthusiastic and caring attitude toward meeting and exceeding client expectations. Today’s consumers have many choices and price ranges for services; they’re gladly willing to take their hard-earned money elsewhere when their hairdresser displays an attitude of indifference or apathy in meeting their needs. As the leader of your team, it is your responsibility to set a high priority towards customer service and make sure this kind of behavior is not part of your salon’s business environment.
- An Unprofessional Environment
Our customers have their own problems; they don’t want to be a part of ours. An environment where gossip, negativity, and salon pettiness is allowed to occur is not a positive, relaxing environment. Real professionals not only make their clients look good, but should strive to build self-esteem in themselves and in others. Everyone in the salon should do their part in making a client’s visit a positive and enjoyable experience. We must all work hard to make our clients feel like valued guests. A positive and professional work environment should be a high priority for everyone.
- Failure to Understand Client’s Needs
Lack of communication is the number one cause of customer loss. 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 explain in an articulate manner what we can realistically do and not do in finding a winning look that is just right for our client.
- Poor Artistic and Technical Skills
Each salon should develop its own high educational and quality control standards. It is the responsibility of the salon owner to make sure everyone on your team is following your salon’s educational and artistic guidelines; then to monitor customer feedback. In addition to monitoring customer feedback, it is also important that you monitor and improve employee performance and productivity. Make sure your staff members are following your educational and artistic guidelines.
- Keeping Customers Waiting
In today’s hectic business environment many of our clients place a high value on time. Keeping customers waiting, while not even acknowledging their presence, implies a lack of concern for a person’s valuable time. Sometimes we will run behind schedule, but if you acknowledge your client’s presence and advise your client that you’re running a little behind of schedule, they’ll be more sympathetic and patiently wait for their turn. Always try to make an effort to keep on schedule, and be sure to thank a customer for being willing to wait. By making a sincere effort to stay on schedule, your customer will appreciate that you do value your client’s time restraints.
- Poor Customer Service
Customer service should be a high priority in your salon. We should all strive to meet and exceed client expectations by doing a little more than what’s expected. Employees should be educated on the importance of doing their part in meeting and exceeding client expectations. Make customer service a high priority in your salon; it will play an important role in giving your salon that all-important competitive edge.
I urge all hairdressers to take classes on public speaking to enhance their interpersonal skills with their clients. Become a people person; work hard at developing an enthusiastic and caring attitude toward people. Develop a caring and sincere effort in trying to understand client needs, fulfill those needs and exceed client expectations by doing a little more than what’s expected. Listen to what your client is saying; then in an articulate manner, offer your professional opinion.
- Lack of a Dynamic Personality
A dynamic personality and a great smile will do wonders in enhancing your client retention efforts. With a pleasing personality you have a wonderful opportunity to enrich other people’s lives by being a joy to be around. The beauty profession is an “up” profession and provides a good opportunity for contributing to a professional and positive salon environment. Smile a lot, it will do wonders.
- Poor Management
Excellence should start at the top. The higher the level of employee training, the higher the level of your client retention results. Lack of business management skills is one of the leading causes of business failure. If you can’t manage yourself, you’ll not be able to manage others. As leader of your team, it is your responsibility in helping your staff maximizes their full learning and earning potential, to create conditions that foster employee loyalty and to share your vision and salon’s goals and expectations.
As business costs continue to rise, as leader of your team, make sure your staff is aware of the devastating costs of losing even just one customer.
when you lose just one customer and their family, you can lose up to $1200.00 in lost revenue.
The real damage is negative word of mouth publicity that will affect your salon’s reputation, profits, and the livlihoods, and the reputation of your other members of your team.
I will address this topic at my 2 day business seminar in Las Vegas.
Next week I will release part two of this very important topic.