I was taking with a client the other day and she asked me about client retention… Well, her actual question was “why do our clients not come back Malcolm”? And that prompted a discussion on client retention and what causes clients to leave and go to another salon.
So, to the question… Why don’t clients return to your salon? Or more to the point what makes them go to another salon after visiting yours and ending up at your competitors.
Well the answer can be for many and varied reasons, although if we look at the common ones then most of us will be able to do something about them. There will always be the one offs, but let’s not focus on those in this piece, let’s concentrate on the common reasons:
The first thing is to grow with your clients, as you get to know them, their hair (or skin) their likes and dislikes you should be able to advise them better each visit, don’t assume that because your client hasn’t asked for something different that they don’t want something different! Clients often change salons because their stylist doesn’t offer change.
Follow a predictable flow with your clients, create a client experience system that each operator follows to ensure the clients get consistency and all bases are covered at each step of the visit, from how they make their appointments right through to the other end of the service when they rebook their next appointment. Don’t leave client service and consistency to chance, set the standards, document the standards, train the team and watch the clients love your salon and return time after time.
If you’re not listening to your clients you’re not caring about your clients, you need to listen with 3 ears… Listen to what they are saying, and listen to what they aren’t saying and listen to what they’d like to say if they thought they could to you.
And importantly, get out of your comfort zone, if you’re feeling stale and are afraid of the latest hair styles, or skin rejuvenation techniques, get off your butt and go do a refresher course, you’re not doing your clients any favours by getting old and stale, and they won’t do your business any when they go looking for new and refreshing.
And another thing… As a salon owner it’s important you communicate with your clients between their visits via newsletters, client surveys, text offers, thank you notes etc. reward them for visiting by staying in touch with them and attending to their needs.
And one last thing: if you’re client retention system is robust and being operated efficiently, don’t beat yourself up when the odd client leaves, often it’s more about them, NOT about you. Just check your retention system, decide what you might have learned, make any adjustment and move on.
Malcolm Gibbons loves helping salon owners grow their businesses and has an outstandingly uncomplicated way of doing just that.