Three Strategies to Recoup Guests After a Stylist Leaves Your Salon

Kati Whitledge | December 19, 2018 | 9:20 AM
Photo By iStock

Every salon experiences the pain of losing a stylist, and unfortunately, that usually means losing their clients. The good news is, even though we might lose a stylist, we don’t have to lose revenue or clients! Regardless of why the stylist leaves, there are strategies salon owners can implement to help recoup guests and keep revenue consistent during times of staffing transition. To help you achieve that, I’ve provided three strategies to help be proactive, reactive, and go the extra mile when a stylist leaves your salon.

Be Proactive

We know that on average a salon will lose two stylists per year for various reasons. Knowing this is a common occurrence, it’s important to take a proactive approach. The first and most important way to be proactive is to always be hiring. If we want to recoup the clients of a stylist who leaves, we have to have stylists who are available to take care of the clients who need a new stylist.

Secondly, we must teach our clients before they visit our salon for the first time that there is more than one stylist at our salon that is a great fit for them. How the heck do we do this? By offering Meet Your StylistTM! Since 80 percent of website visitors are new to the salon, what better way to engage, convert and ensure their retention than offering them the opportunity to take a survey that will show them their top three stylist matches at your salon?!? With this tool we are showing them that there are multiple professionals who are a great fit for them and it becomes a positive culture shift for everyone on the team.

Not only should you encourage new clients to have more than one stylist to choose from, you should start to encourage existing clients to build a list of stylists at your salon. One way to do this is by including the Meet Your Stylist survey link in every email you send to your current clients. You may wonder what you should include in these emails, try using a messaging approach similar to this – “What happens if your stylist’s availability doesn’t match yours? We have your solution! Try our Meet Your Stylist survey to see the stylists at our salon who are also a great fit for you.”  This is amazing to use whether the issue is availability, price increases, maternity leaves or vacations. When you have this in front of clients on a regular basis, it will be the first place they go to find a new stylist versus searching for a new salon.

Be Reactive

No matter what the reason, when a stylist leaves a salon, you have to respond quickly.  A while back my salon had a stylist share that she was quitting and going independent. We felt blindsided—we never thought this would happen to us, until it did. Can you relate? Immediately we removed the stylist from every aspect of the business such as our POS system, email capabilities, social groups, etc. Then we sent an email to every guest that stylist saw within the year. In the email we shared how much we cared about the stylist and our disappointment with the departure.  We promised to take great care of them and asked them to please take a few moments to see which other stylists at our salon would be a great fit for them.  For their inconvenience of rescheduling, we gave them a $20 shopping pass to use at their upcoming appointment. What if we were as bold as Van Council, who will give the former stylist’s entire client-base an entire year of free services?! What are you willing to do to keep clients?

Additionally, we export the stylist’s guest list and then we import that list into Facebook’s Business Manager. Next, we ran ads that targeted those clients. The ad was strategic in that we chose a carousel image approach with the message, “What happens when the stylist you like is no longer at your favorite salon? We understand your frustration! That's exactly why we offer the Meet Your Stylist survey. You WILL find the right stylist at Be Inspired Salon. Try it for yourself!” The call to action (CTA) link is our salon’s Meet Your Stylist link.  What kind of impact would this make for your salon?  I’m happy to report that we retained over 60 percent of that stylist’s guests and we never lost any revenue whatsoever from the stylist’s departure. 

Go the Extra Mile

Finally, I chose to humble myself and reached out to every single guest of the stylist that recently left my salon. I apologized to those guests that their stylist left and ask them if they would be willing to maintain their relationship with our salon. Almost everyone replied! We didn’t keep all of those clients, but we did at least have the opportunity to share their importance to us. We believe we will be their first choice if something happens with their relationship with their stylist.

Another extra step we took was to share candidly at our weekly salon meeting about the pain of this loss. We encouraged our stylists to share their thoughts and told them that we wanted to hear from them. We openly asked if there were things in the salon that were preventing our stylists from reaching their goals. We wanted to make sure everyone felt supported and we were open to taking accountability in areas of the business that may not be serving our team members. You could call this a “come to Jesus” moment—it needed to happen. When you are authentic and transparent you can come out of terrible situations better than ever.

We surely cannot control everything, but we can now sleep well at night knowing that we are prepared to handle recouping our clients when a stylist leaves our salon.  I hope these strategies prove useful to your salon as well!

About the Author:

Kati Whitledge
Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author & Podcaster

Kati Whitledge opened Be Inspired Salon in 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Her passion for salon marketing and business grew tremendously and encouraged her launch of Meet Your Stylist, a matchmaking marketing tool used by salon owners throughout North America. She’s also the beloved host and founder of The Beyond The Technique podcast—where valuable education is provided on the vast topics of salon business. Kati’s mission is to equip salon owners and their teams with the most innovative business marketing strategies.

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