Customer retention is on the mind of every salon and spa owner and manager. With the rising cost of acquiring clients, businesses must be innovative and proactive by engaging in effective client retention tactics.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the process of acquiring a new client can cost five to seven times more than just retaining current customers! Such a figure should directly communicate the importance of new client retention to you.
The longer you keep a client, the more profitable they will become to your business over time. Loyal clients surely tend to spend more money. If you just reached a new client, do not let them simply walk away from your business.
Robert Maconi, Founder of Elysium Salon & Spa chimed in on client retention:
“Being a salon owner for over two decades, I’ve come to realize that retaining clients is vital to the growth and success of my business. I do this multiple ways, but there are two strategies I am always encouraging my team to focus on: One great way to retain clients is to build a culture around a client loyalty program and reward clients for pre-booking.
Getting your clients in the door is the easy part; getting them to come back in is where it’s harder and getting your clients to pre-book their next appointment will increase your retention rates dramatically.“
Robert also suggests you create a unique personal experience for your clients: “When a client comes in take a few notes about their likes and dislikes. Do they like their coffee a certain way or do like reading a specific magazine or newspaper? Maybe next time they come in, surprise them with their favorite drink, the exact way they like it made. A specific business once kept me coming back for 9 years using this very practice.”
Let’s Get Into the Nitty Gritty
Before we offer you actual methods to approach this matter, we would like to share specifics you should be aware of. This research may impact your new client retention strategy:
- 9% decide to use a competitor (various specific reasons).
- 14% may be unhappy with the product or service.
- 68% are simply unhappy with the service they receive.
Such genuine information should give you insight and the will to go ahead and improve your customer retention rate immediately. So how can your spa or salon tackle the client preservation process? Let’s see what actions we can take:
- Be The Expert
Being the expert in your field can go a long way. Become an advocate and educator for your customers. The best way to do that is micro-specialize in your industry. Sure, you are part of the beauty industry, but if you can be the authority for just salons, you’re likely to build a larger following. Definitely larger than if you were seeking to be an expert for the entire beauty industry.
- Focus on Re-Booking
This is important to consider when evaluating your own customer loyalty program. According to Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent!
Offer to rebook every client, every time. If this is their first visit, when will be their second? Keeping this question in mind will improve your numbers considerably. If you offer to pre-book 20 new clients, you’ll probably book at least ten.
Don’t think of it like you selling them – think of yourself offering a great service to a busy client, who’s not likely to pre-book on their own unless you suggest it.
How long are your clients waiting between visits? What percentage of your clients are repeat vs. new clients? What’s your average ticket for new clients? These are all important details you should be aware of.
- Set Customer Expectations
For some salons and spas, managing expectations is one of the best ways to retain new clients. You want to make sure your client is getting the service they request and expect, especially since it could literally be their first or second visit.
It’s important to not under-promise, or over-deliver. This is something to live by! And, the best way to do this is to anticipate the client’s needs before they know they own need. This strategy may take time to perfect as you learn your client’s preferences, but you’ll improve on this as you go.
- Build Relationships/Trust
Forming a strong relationship with your new clients and building trust is essential to your business’ success. What’s about relationships is truly going to help retain clients? Taking time to listen, putting in effort, and maintaining tact.
Treat others how you want to be treated. Be honest about what services and products you can and cannot provide. Remember that your customers are people, not numbers. Also remember, they don’t exactly know you well yet so it’s important to leave a lasting impression. Pay attention to client needs, and their body language. Make eye contact to make sure that the client remembers this personal interaction with you.
- Implement Approach to Customer Service
Discover the winning approach to customer service. Gear your services towards your guest’s expectations. Recruit low-ego, team players, who take on responsibilities and care about the client at the end of the day.
Recognize superior customer service from your staff, and reward them publicly and accordingly. Such action will make the team strive for better results, lift morale, and improve the atmosphere at the salon or spa.
And, guess what? When your staff is happy, the cheerful atmosphere at the salon or spa will improve your client retention rate, and new clients will be well catered-to.
- Automate Tasks
Task automation can save you a tremendous amount of time at the salon or spa. Let’s be honest, it would be extremely tedious to send each new client an e-mail individually.
Nowadays, spa and salon software such as Millennium can send an e-mail to your entire new client list with just one click, whether it’s to let them know they just earned points, or just a thank you e-mail for coming in for the first time.
The award-winning software offers other automation approaches such as the referral program, or a simple appointment confirmation. These are all simple yet great ways to maintain or increase your new customer retention rate.
Are You Ready to Retain Your Clients?
Client retention can literally make or break your business. It could determine if you succeed or fail completely. With 68% of customers leaving your business because they may not like your product or service, you must do a better job of refining what you offer.
John Harms, CEO of Millennium Systems International, speaks on the matter:
“Client Retention should be one of the foremost focuses of everyone in your business. Everyone has a stake in the game. The service providers build relationships, trust, and give recommendations. The front desk executes on those recommendations to rebook the client, and your software should automate both the rebook and the re-engagement process. If the client hasn’t been back within, say, 90 days.
It costs so much money and energy to find new clients, so take the steps necessary to keep as many as you can. Build a referral program that allows clients that trust you to refer other clients. Lastly, do your employees believe in your salon? They should be referring as well, and your systems should track employee referrals so you can reward the staff for trusting in your salon.”
Shift your priorities to rebooking, by building relationships and being the expert in your industry. Set the right customer expectations while you build a solid approach to customer service. A happy client will lead to a better customer retention rate, and more success to you!