Making a Memorable Impression

We’ve all had such a wonderful experience with the service at a local business that we felt the need to let others know about it. That’s when a shout-out on social media or a positive review on Yelp, Google or any other review site is definitely warranted.

Today, other people talking about a business positively is the most influential form of marketing available. It’s easy for a business owner to talk about their business being great, but when someone else does it, it carries a lot more credibility.

People are also becoming more likely to ask peers for recommendations than to be overly influenced by most any form of advertisement. Savvy shoppers are quick to look to various online channels to find what they are looking for and will act accordingly based on what they find.

As a salon owner, you and your team should be taking full advantage of this word-of-mouth marketing. The question is if the customer service in your salon warrants the positive accolades. Why not offer client experiences that are so memorable and share-worthy that customers can’t resist telling others about your service? Here are some suggestions to help get you there.

What Makes for a Great Impression
The moment a customer steps foot in your salon, understand that they are critiquing everything: the first impression of the facility, the way they were greeted, the coffee that was served, the music that was playing, the conversation, the cleanliness of the stations, and, yes, even how they liked their hair. It’s not just about the service they came in for, it’s the attention to the little details and how they felt while in and leaving your salon, that they remember.

Making an Assessment
To see how your salon stacks up and to make any needed improvements, you’ve got to begin with an honest assessment. Start by looking into the reviews that you currently have. Some of the negative ones may offer some insight as to what can be improved. You can also ask your clients how your salon stacks up and what improvements or enhancements that they’d like to see. If you conduct a completely anonymous online survey, clients are more likely to give honest answers, some even painfully so. However, these are the ones that will help you grow. Just try not to take things personally; look at it as a learning experience and put the information to good use.

Another suggestion is to step away from the fact that you are the owner and try to imagine the salon experience from the client’s eyes. Take a comprehensive inspection of your salon and really pay careful attention to all of the little things. Even better, ask someone else who is not affiliated with your salon to do it for you. Just make sure it’s someone who will give you their honest opinion.

Some businesses even hire secret shoppers to book appointments or even drop by unannounced as a walk-in to see how the salon responds. They typically take video of the experiences and present everything back to the owner later with their assessment. This is a great way to test your current system and allow you to see it from the client’s perspective.

Facing the Truth
It can be a bit of a blow to come to terms with how your salon’s customer service is perceived by others. If you’ve ever watched Tabitha’s Takeover, it’s easy to realize that most of the mistakes being made in the salons she critiqued started with a less than stellar experience at reception, which is the window into any salon. Tabitha would often comment about the how lax or even negative the environment felt and how the attitude of the staff spilled over into a client’s experience during the service. She would even uncover that many of the issues had to do with internal conflicts and behaviors that were permitted to happen by management.

Perhaps there is something to learn from the mistakes of others so that your salon can truly live up to its potential.

Be Memorable
Now that you have done an in-depth assessment and know what needs to be improved, step up and make those changes. Add that long-overdue coat of paint, sweep more thoroughly between clients, stop the rabid salon gossip or negative talk, get a handle on any internal issues, rethink the way clients are greeted and what they see and experience in the reception area, and find ways for the entire salon to offer a better experience for every single client. The thing is that change absolutely has to start at the top, so be sure you, as the owner or manager, are setting the right example and sticking to the commitment.

Also, make sure that your entire salon is on board with this service-first attitude so that your team can work together toward the common goal: offering truly legendary customer service. Now THAT’S worth talking about!


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