According to Crystal Focus Salon Coaching, salon client retention is at a historic low—average repeat client retention is at 79 percent, and new client retention is at 29 percent. We asked a salon coach and two salon owners to give us their perspective on:
What can salons do to boost client retention numbers?
Kristi Valenzuela, Owner of Crystal Focus Salon Coaching and co-owner of Summit Salon Business College Kristi Valenzuela
Clients are customer service savvy, and they are conscious of what they are writing in their checkbooks. I propose a 5-point strategy:
•First, get back to the basics. Give your clients an experience rather than an appointment. Be excited when they walk in, and tell them you appreciate their business when they leave. Support local fashion shows and charity events.
•Enroll your team. Every educator you invite into the salon—whether it’s a cutting class, color class or a product knowledge class—should also touch on how to keep your clients longer with these techniques.
•Stand out from competition by offering rewards. There are salon software programs which automatically track preset rewards for clients each time they pre-book an appointment, purchase retail, send in a new client referral or buy a gift card.
•Make creative use of your marketing budget by using the money to keep the clients you have rather than market to new clients.
•Finally, stay close to monthly reading in Salon Today as well as industry websites. Look for business trends, reports and other salon owner advice.
Martino Cartier, Owner of Martino Cartier Salon in Sewell, New Jersey and Global Platform Artist for Keratin Complex Martino Cartier
I boost my client retention because of the way I do keratin treatments. Typically, when a client receives this kind of treatment, you have to flatiron the hair so it’s poker straight—where it’s almost stuck to the head. Clients don’t want to be stuck with that kind of hair style for three days straight, so they tend not to get a treatment again.
With Keratin Complex, however, you don’t have to do that. When I do my treatments I turn my hips as I flatiron—taking the flatiron off the scalp, straight up, and I follow through in a ‘C’ shape. This creates the appearance of blowout hair.
When clients tell their friends and co-workers the difference, that’s how word gets around and I retain clients. After the treatment, clients want to come back again because the it gives them the hair they’ve always wanted. When they leave looking beautiful, they come back like clockwork.
Eric Brennan, Director of Operations at About Faces Day Spa and Salon in Baltimore, Maryland Eric Brennan
We view retention as a combination of continuous staff improvement and tangible tactics that will increase loyalty and frequency.
Staff improvement begins with awareness. Through a combination of one-on-one meetings and technology we keep our staff continuously aware of their own retention numbers and then build goals around them. We emphasize the importance of respect, using names, eye contact, cleanliness, etc., that build strong client relationships. By focusing on the soft skills, combined with strong technical skills and training, we are able to create a one-of-a-kind experience.
The second part of our retention program focuses on tangible tactics that influence both clients and staff. For our clients, we focus on selling our service series. It offers savings and value for the upfront purchase of five services. In turn, we increase frequency and loyalty by offering greater value to our clients. For our staff, we are implementing a booking prioritization system that will arrange the order of the appointment book and automated operator selection based on a set of metrics that include and influence retention. This system will rank our providers and order them based on score. This will be a tangible motivator and a reward for staff with the highest retention.