When it comes to the success of your business, the salon client experience is everything. To keep your salon’s chairs filled it’s essential to make every visit to the salon an enjoyable one. Yes, people do want a great haircut, beautiful hair color, and enviable styling no matter the occasion. However, it’s how the client feels about their experience when they leave your salon that matters. And their hair is only part of the story.
People want to be pampered and to feel good about themselves. When someone finds a salon that provides top-level service beyond the hair, they leave feeling good and are more likely to tell others about their experience. It’s that experience that makes them want more and shout it from the rooftops about their great find.
So, how do you make the salon client experience an amazing one?
Start at the Beginning
Creating a great client experience starts long before they walk in the door. They either search for a salon online and follow the reviews or are recommended by a friend, co-worker, or family member. Regardless, every person who has contact with your salon is a potential client and should be treated as a guest in your home.
First Impressions Count
Most people shopping for a new salon or stylist will go online to check things out. Make sure your website is up to date plus has a friendly, navigable path people can take to get information and ultimately book an appointment. If possible, have a Book Now button on your site, so clients have access to open spots on your schedule.
The same goes for your social media. Use the platform to show off your team’s talent. Make sure it portrays a friendly vibe and has an easy way to either book an appointment or get more information.
Also, pay attention to review sites. Monitor and respond to all reviews – good and bad. Just remember that others are watching, so handle everything with tact. People want to know that a salon guarantees their work but will not be defensive about correcting what a client believes is an issue.
If a new client does not want to book online, they may call or stop by the salon to get a better feel for it. That’s why you want to ensure that your reception team greets everyone in a friendly and helpful way, even if the salon is super-busy. And for the times when the salon experiences a rush, have protocols in place where other team members can step in to help. That way, no one falls through the cracks. The last thing you want a client (new or otherwise) to see is the reception desk in a chaotic state. After all, it is the helm of the business.
Personalize New Client Consultations
Go out of your way to make the very first salon client experience extra memorable. Take the time to meet face to face, ask about their hair care and styling regimen and how much time and effort they are willing to put into it every day. Ask about their lifestyle, what they love, and yes, even what they most dislike about their locks. Ask the critical questions, genuinely listen to their answers, and even study their expressions and body language to pick up on subtle queues. Really be in the moment and connect with the client.
If your new client brings in examples of what they want, pull apart the nuances of what they like best about the image(s), but be honest about their likelihood of achieving the same look. Do they have enough length or density to their hair? Or, can they accomplish that specific hair color, and if so, how much time, effort, and cost will it take? Don’t try and talk them into or out of anything, but do offer solutions you feel are best for them. You want them to trust you – to feel like they have been heard and that you understand what they want. And from there will do all that you can to help them achieve the look. This step right here can be the difference between a one-time service and a loyal, life-long client.
During the services, take the time to explain anything they need to know about their new look. How to style their hair at home, how to keep color looking vibrant longer, what the re-growth process is like, and what sort of upkeep they can expect. Part of your job is to ensure that they can live in and recreate the new look you just gave them.
Naturally, you want to thank your new client for their visit and for trusting you with their hair. If possible, walk them to the front desk to check out and to make sure they have the products and tools they need for home care. Also, follow up after the appointment to see how they like their new look. If they did not already make their next appointment, offer to book it for them; that way, they can keep their hair looking its best.
Keeping the Momentum
Once your new client becomes a recurring one, keep the momentum going by staying engaged with them. Each time they have a salon visit, ask your client how they liked their last service, what they would change about it, and if they have any questions about upkeep or how to style their hair at home. Each time they visit, make sure they leave feeling like they got their money’s worth and had a positive experience.
Here are some ways to offer more, so they enjoy their salon client experience more:
Come to the Chair Prepared
Before your client arrives at their appointment, take a few moments to look up their history. Go over their previous visits to see what services they received, what their last color formulation was, plus any special notes you may have left for yourself from prior visits. Now, when they take a seat, and you wrap the cutting cape around them, you can simply ask how they liked their last haircut, hair color, or treatment. From there, make any adjustments as needed.
Make it a point to call your client by their name. It may seem like a small detail, but it will mean a lot to them. If they prefer to be called by a nickname or formally addressed, make a note of it on their file. Also, keep on top of their details such as their new jobs, promotions, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and recent vacations. Connecting with salon guests on a personal level inspires repeat visits.
Keep it Positive
Clients can pick up on negativity. That’s why you want to keep your salon in a positive zone. It’s best to keep the conversation on the light side and avoid any negative or controversial subject matter. Just make sure that it’s a policy across the entire salon. If one client takes the conversation in a direction that may offend others in earshot, learn to turn the conversation into a friendly one, even if you have to change the subject.
During conversations, remember that words matter. So, how you say something is as important and how you sway it. For example, instead of saying, “your hair cannot look like (insert celebrity example they brought in),” try, “we can certainly achieve that color, but if you’d like that hair density or length, hair extensions are your best option.”
Stand Behind Your Work, Always
It’s essential that you guarantee your work and your clients know they can count on you to fix any service they are not happy with. The same goes for any product you sell as retail. It’s equally important to ensure that clients have the means to voice any issues they may be having and that your entire team knows how to handle any problems tactfully. Meet challenges with calm professionalism without a hint of defensiveness. Address their issues, and offer empathetic solutions.
Ask How You’re Doing
To ensure that your salon is staying on track with customer care, ask your client how they would rate your success. You can always ask directly, but people will tend to be more polite than honest when confronted. Instead, consider a customer survey. You can also ask for reviews, which is great for others to see, but if you want genuine feedback, make the forum private and the answers anonymous. That way, you get constructive criticism that will help evolve your business and improve your level of service.
No matter how many years you have behind the chair, there is always room for improvement. Fine-tune your skills and learn new techniques and trends so that you remain relevant to your clients. Also, offer regular educational classes and events to your team, so the entire salon stays on par.
Offer a Loyalty Program
Allow clients to earn points for every product or service that they purchase at your salon. Consider other ways to earn points, such as pre-booking appointments, scheduling online, filling in cancellations or booking on a slower day, buying products from your online store, or even referring a friend. These points can be applied to future services or purchases, including gift certificates for friends and family.
Make the Guest Experience Memorable
Salon days offer clients a little pampering and take their minds off their busy lives. Make the visit memorable by providing little extras. Think shoulder massages during the consultation, a scalp massage at the shampoo bowl, a complimentary hand massage, even peace and quiet during color processing. Whatever your “extra” is, make it enjoyable and personalized to each client, so they walk out of your salon refreshed and feeling fabulous.
So, what tips do you have to ensure the ultimate salon client experience?