Frequency of Visit is a metric that significantly contributes to salon productivity and profitability, but it’s also one that many owners and managers overlook or find challenging to track.
When a client who typically gets her hair colored every six weeks starts stretching her appointments to seven or eight weeks, it’s not always obvious to either her stylist or the salon owner. When that same client decides to try another salon, the financial impact is even more costly. By the time you or your service provider notice that guest hasn’t retuned in months, it can be too late to reclaim her business.
Stretched appointments and lost clients leave costly holes in the appointment book, leaving a salon scrambling to find new clients to fill them. In business, it’s frequently quoted that it’s five times more expensive to win a new client than to retain an existing one—nowhere is that more true than the beauty industry, which relies on predictable repeat business for its survival.
While it’s possible to study your appointments and take notes of when clients last visited, it’s a challenging, arduous task. Salon owners that use Phorest Salon Software are discovering that the platform’s Client Reconnect marketing tool automates the process of studying a client’s history, predicting when they are overdue for a service or at risk from not coming back, and helping the salon reconnect with the client and get them rescheduled. Even better, once the salon does reconnect with those at-risk clients, it calculates and tracks the revenue the salon generated from the reclaimed appointments.
At Headlines The Salon in Encinitas, California, Brittni Arhart, director of operations says the Client Reconnect feature helped the salon recoup $21,000 in service sales in 2019. “It’s super easy to use, and we have ours set up to automatically text or email clients who are overdue, then send a follow-up communication two weeks later if they don’t respond,” she says. “If they don’t want that communication from us, they can easily opt out.”
Arhart says the feature has helped the salon eliminate holes in the appointment book, and helps her be proactive. “If it’s a slow week, I can look ahead to see which clients will be on the late list in the coming days and can send them a text or email.” Phorest suggests the script for the text message or email reminder, but salons can also craft their own.
At I Design Salon and Blow-dry Bar in Hinsdale, Illinois, Owner Tami Abraham checks the Client Reconnect tool once a week, and says when she sends out the text or email communications (which are determined by the client’s communication preference in their file), the salon will receive about 12 phone calls over the following next 20 minutes. “It’s really amazing to see it happen,” she says. “I’ve gotten into the habit of giving my front desk team a heads up when I send out the reminders.”
The Client Reconnect features sorts the at-risk clients by service, and Abraham says she can choose to use Phorest’s script for the text or email or customize her own.
“Our clients really love it—even though we try to prebook clients when they are in the salon, not all of them will, and then they get busy and simply forget to schedule their appointments,” she says. “We’ve noticed when we send out the reminders, male clients tend to book online, while our female guests tend to call.”
If a client doesn’t respond to the first reminder or the follow-up one, it’s a signal that the client might be in danger of straying to another salon. Both Arhart and Abraham say that’s when they pick up the phone and call the client themselves.
Sometimes, checking in with an at-risk client can provide some honest feedback about your business or it create an opportunity to build a deeper connection with a client who is touched that you care.
Arhart recently called upon a client who was overdue on her regular color appointment and hadn’t responded to the Client Reconnect communications. She learned that the client had recently had surgery and she was embarrassed about the fact she had difficulty walking while she was recovering, but she really did want her hair colored. Arhart was able to reassure the client she would love to help her with her mobility in the salon, and the client happily booked the appointment.
Because I Design Salon is smaller, Abraham says most of her clients know all of her team members. When a client calls after receiving a Client Reconnect message, but her preferred stylist is booked, she usually can persuade the client to try another stylist. “And, because the client’s styling history and color formula is carefully stored in the client file through Phorest, it’s easy for any stylist to give that client her service the way she likes it.”
Arhart and the front desk team have even that the Client Reconnect tool is even helpful for clients in the salon: “We have several clients who get their hair cut every other color appointment or every third,” she explains. “When the client is checking and paying for a color service in the salon, Client Reconnect lets us know if she is due or overdue for her hair cut, and we can inquiry accordingly.”