Small business owners know firsthand that it’s easier to keep a customer than win a new one. The best salons aren’t just small businesses—they’re local institutions with a dedicated membership. But just because you’re getting some foot traffic through the door, doesn’t mean your work is over. Especially in the beauty industry, customers expect unique, high-touch service from their salon.
At the same time, research shows that getting a customer to come back to you again and again—aka salon customer retention—is both an art and a science. And it works in mysterious ways. For example, studies have found that overall customer satisfaction from a single salon experience is important—but it does not do a good job of predicting whether or not that customer will return. We’ve put together a list of a few tips and tricks to make sure you keep your customers coming back.
1 | Represent the right way, right away
Every salon needs an ambassador who will represent their business well. And every business needs to make a good first impression. Your receptionist needs to do both.
The person behind your front desk isn’t just there to answer phones and handle scheduling. They set the mood while customers wait. They provide an example of what kind of quality and service customers can expect throughout their experience. Put someone on the front lines who resonates your brand.
2 | Inspire loyalty
You’re probably plied by dozens of loyalty programs every day: ‘Refer a friend and get 50% off your next purchase.’ ‘Download our app and take $50 off your next order of $100 or more.’ ‘Sign up now and get entered into a chance to win a gift card.’ Why are loyalty programs so popular? Because they work.
An Accenture study found that customers who participate in loyalty programs are responsible for 12 percent to 18 percent more annual revenue growth than other customers. In other words, even though people who cash in on loyalty programs get a one-off deal, they end up spending more in the long run.
3 | Don’t be a stranger
Out of sight is out of mind. Once your satisfied customer walks out your door, it might be months until they need your services again. Remain present and increase brand recall with a follow-up message.
This might take many forms. Many companies send automated email blasts or even thank you cards in the mail. One of SalonTarget’s built-in features includes automated emails that remind past customers to book a new appointment. It takes the guess work out of the who and when, saves time, and can be incredibly effective.
With the possibilities offered by social media, there are numerous ways you can keep up a high-touch follow-up strategy with your clients to ensure continued engagement and customer retention. How many people post a selfie after a visit to the salon? Be active on your platforms and always show up for #TeamFollowBack!
4 | Collect feedback and respond accordingly
Your customer follow-up strategy can untangle more than one knot with the same brush. The best way for you to find out if customers are picking up what you’re putting down is to ask them directly. Ask for a review. Send out a survey. Contact them directly. Maybe even incentivize their response with a loyalty program.
As a salon owner, you’re going to want to know what is working. More importantly, you’re going to want to know if and where you’re dropping the ball. An unhappy customer, on average, tells nine to 15 people about their experience. That’s negativity you’re going to want to nip in the bud.
5 | Go above and beyond
Every experienced salon owner knows that transformation must come from without and within. You’re not going to turn your small business into a community institution with a long roster of returning customers by simply imitating everyone else.
You need to be yourself. Surprise your customers. Make them laugh. Don’t just offer coffee or tea. Hook up your customers up with coconut water and pistachio nuts. Take selfies with your customers. Distill your inner essence and channel it through your business strategy.
Why? Because at the end of the day, successful salons don’t just offer great products and services at competitive prices. They build personal relationships. That starts from the moment they walk through your door and get greeted by your receptionist. It carries through their salon experience. It continues on to the next week when they receive your follow-up message. Hopefully it extends months and years into the future. This is the essence of customer retention.
Looking for a turnkey software solution to your customer retention woes? Get in touch for a free demo of SalonTarget, where you’ll get a first-hand look at some of our built-in marketing and customer retention tools that will fill chairs and increase your bottom line.