Six months after your grand opening, you notice that your numbers are falling. Retail sales are down, client retention is down and your appointment book is blank. So, you investigate the problem.

As a salon owner, you need to pay attention to every aspect of your business. In no time, you’ll find that it’s the little things – a greeting, a smile, or even a cup of coffee – that make a customer decide whether or not she’ll return. Figuring out how to retain your customers can be frustrating, but with some help you, too, can run a successful business. We spoke to Strategies’ Dennis Gullo for the Top 5 ways to retain your clients.

Measure your retention. Create a system for measuring client retention. “If [you] don’t have a system for retention, then don’t bother,” Gullo says. Salon owners should keep track of how often their clients return within a certain period of time. Gullo suggests keeping track of new client retention and existing client retention. “In a new salon, new client retention is important. At some point, though, regulars become more important,” he says.

Reward your staff. Gullo says that educating your staff and creating incentives for improvements on retention is a good way to keep your business growing. “Compensate your employees,” he says. If a stylist keeps her customers returning, then give her a raise. Gullo also suggests setting a goal for how much you’d like to increase your numbers in a year. If your staff meets that goal, then throw a huge party to celebrate!

Prebook. Gullo stresses the importance of prebooking. “If you prebook, there’s a better chance they’ll return,” he says. Schedule an appointment for a customer, even if it’s not with the same stylist. “Don’t lock them into one service provider,” says Gullo adding that this can make a client feel uncomfortable to go to someone else in the salon. “If your client is uncomfortable, then they’ll just go across the street for their next appointment,” he says.

Sell products to first-time customers. “Newer customers tend to return when they buy retail,” he says. So, tell your customers about all of your products on their first visit!

Consistency, consistency, consistency! Customers go into a salon for more than a haircut, they go in for the experience. When a new client receives a great experience, she’ll expect that for her next appointment. Gullo says that if your staff doesn’t put in the extra effort for its regulars, then you’re sure to face poor retention. That’s why he emphasizes consistency, beginning with the greeting up until the prebook, for every client. “Customers vote with their pocketbook, if they come back then they’re happy,” Gullo says.



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