4 Keys to Turn First-Time Salon Visitors into Repeat Customers

From value-priced salons to the upscale, industry statistics show that salons and spas only retain 3 out of 10 first-time clients.  Here’s a picture of what this means for your salon. Let’s say you have 2500 clients who visit an average of six times during the year and spend around $80 per visit.  If you only retain 30 percent, you are losing $360 thousand dollars in revenue in a year.  That’s a huge loss — and only 3% of salon owners are truly aware of how many guests actually return.

Repeat customers are the life blood in the salon industry.  Sure, you’ll bring in money from a number of guests that may come and go, but it’s the patronage from clientele come back regularly that fuels business growth. Acquiring new customers can cost as much as five times more than satisfying and retaining current customers. So how do you convert first timers into loyal customers?   Improving in the following areas seem simple, but are crucial to client retention. How does your salon add up?

1. Impeccable Customer Service

How many times have you said, or have heard someone express how you “just can’t find good service anymore.”  Don’t allow anyone to leave your salon with that feeling.  She could get the best haircut in the world, or an amazing massage – but it may not make up for the fact she felt ignored at the front desk, the restroom didn’t have any toilet paper or a dressing area was a mess.  Successful salons realize that building loyalty depends on the small details.  So be vigilant in instilling those values into your staff. Expect them to work as a team and to go above and beyond their job descriptions.

2. Loyalty Rewards

Let your clients know how much you appreciate their repeat business.  Work with your staff to figure out a way to best reward your core customers.  Reward programs work well. For example, let them build up points toward free services or products. Or even go as far as offering a free visit after so many pre-booked appointments.  Another idea would be to utilize texting or social media to offer “insider” deals or coupons.  If this feels like a lot to take on, consider a salon management software system to send automatic alerts when a customer reaches a certain amount of loyalty points. Another aspect of this is a referral program.  Why not offer extra loyalty points or a special coupon for those who refer friends and family to give your salon a try – and bring in extra business.

3. Social Media

Stay informed about the latest and greatest in the salon business — and share it!  Encourage customers to follow you on Facebook or Twitter for interesting information on cutting edge services, special promotions or for updates on what your salon is up to (i.e. charitable events or involvement in the community).  It does take time to post to these outlets, but intentionally scheduling a little time each week goes a long way to building relationships. You could go a month or two between client visits, so social media is a great way to stay in touch.

4. Good Business Management

When operations are working smoothly behind the scenes, it will reflect on the front end.  For example, a salon management system streamlines different aspects of your business, including:

  • Online appointment booking:  Attendants may not have to deal with as many calls and can spend that time catering to in-house customers.  Pre-booking is also critical to retention. Your salon should aim for pre-booking a minimum of 70 percent of your appointments.
  • Behavioral marketing: Customized software can also help market directly to your customers, giving them special promotions that will meet their fancy.  For the business side, it will let you know if a client hasn’t returned after a pre-determined amount of days, so you can make strides to bring them back.
  • Inventory management:  You’ll have the right amount of product on hand when customers ask for it.

When you turn out the lights and lock the door for the night, you need to ask yourself how today’s customers would rank your customer service. Was it enough to bring back those who experienced your salon for the first time? If not, schedule a meeting with your staff to receive their input on how you all can improve going forward.

Don’t become just another client retention statistic – practicing these simple steps will ensure your customers have a wonderful experience and wins repeat customers.

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Milano develops software for Booking and Reservation systems as well as Retail stores (Point of Sale software).

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