How To Beat The Salon Discount Wars

Currently, It seems that everywhere you turn there is a deal site offering beauty, hair and aesthetic services at ridiculously low prices.
There just seems to be an insurgence of deals on discount sites and on every street corner ready to entice your clients away from your business, and possibly never to return.

I have spoken to so many salon owners totally downtrodden by this and on the brink of jumping in to join the others in the discount culture.
If this is you too, then please beware that discounting is a slippery road to nowhere.

With the right strategy, many salons are rejecting this deal mania and actually strengthening their business through it all.

There are so many things you can do rather than discounting, and I’m going to let you in on some of these here that have worked really well:
• EXCEPTIONAL client care needs to be the norm in your salon. You have to raise your level of customer service to a point where your services become ‘price irrelevant’. When your customer service is exceptional, you will be rewarded with client loyalty.

• You really do need to keep in touch with your clients between salon visits. Send them useful, informative beauty tips as well as relevant news on new treatments. Do this and you will really stand out as an expert in your client’s eyes. This interaction will also keep the client distracted from the deal sites offers.

• Don’t pay too much attention to what other salons are doing—instead totally focus on delivering quality treatments and service to the clients you already have to keep them loyal, and returning, to you. The deal site will tell you they are there to bring you in new business, but often these deals customers aren’t the clients you would want in your business. Most of these people simply go from one offer to the next without becoming loyal to any of the salons they visit.
Think about this for a minute—if your salon runs a cut-price deal and becomes very busy with people who don’t return for your full-price services, what happens to your regular clients who can’t get an appointment with you anymore because you are too busy servicing these cut-price people?
Your regular clients leave you. I have seen businesses in the UK go bust when regular and previously loyal clients have left the salon never to return, for this very reason.

• Focus fully on the clients you have. Work out who your ideal client is, and totally focus on marketing to them. The reality is that not every client wants offers. They want to be made to feel special and part of your business, and not just another number that comes through your door.

• Stay true to your pricing and don’t discount. Once you slash prices you devalue your business in your clients’ eyes. Drop your prices and it’s extremely difficult to get them back up again. Think about the message you’re sending to your client when you discount—you are saying to your client that you can afford to perform the treatment cheaper…even though you really can’t.

• My experience has always been that clients would rather have a special treat to make them feel valued and special. This could be something as simple as offering an eyebrow shape as a complimentary gift with their facial treatment. It costs you little more than 5 minutes extra time, but is of high value to a client. Look at the special extra little touches you can add to treatments to turn them into signature treatments. When it’s your very own signature treatment, clients won’t be able to find what you are offering on any deal site.

• A good way to make sure you are offering the best ever service is to picture your clients as INVESTORS in your business. Enroll them into your imaginary Exclusive VIP membership that has no contract so can leave at any time. What things would you do differently to keep these members? This goes far beyond any usual loyalty scheme. You would keep in touch, host events, have special treats, etc…

The two absolute most important things that you must implement are…

1. You MUST rebook clients every time before they leave your salon. If possible, book further ahead than just their next appointment.
If your clients’ appointments are already made, they tend not to look elsewhere. It amazes me how salons let clients leave and then keep their fingers crossed that they will remember when they are due to return. Again you could incentivize the client. You could offer an extra complimentary treatment for every 6th booking when they book in advance. Have a re-booking script for the team to follow, informing clients that it is best to book ahead to get the time slot they want.

2. Always ensure that your clients have more than one service with you. It has been proven that client loyalty will be around 50% if they receive one treatment from you. This percentage moves to 75% with two services, 85% with three, and 95% if they receive four different services from you. If your clients book different services with you, then you have a far greater chance of keeping them.

If you would like more ways to maximize your client experience, then join over 300 great salon owners in our Free Facebook Group called the Beauty Entrepreneurs Hub.
You will also receive a free download of my book ‘The Little Book of Client Retention.

Losing Customers – Here’s Why

As a hair or beauty business, you want to make a consistent, great impression on your client, whether he or she is a loyal regular or someone coming to the salon for the first time.

While some first impressions can nowadays be formed through your website, online booking process or social media profile, your receptionist is still very much the “gatekeeper” of your business. He or she is the person a client will encounter first – and you can’t afford to get this first interaction wrong.
Here are 5 simple tips for your team.

  1. ALWAYS FOLLOW UP MISSED APPOINTMENTS
  2. I really do not think that there are an army of clients trying to scupper your business by not showing up. Clients simply have busy lives and it is down to us to keep our client’s appointment time in their minds.

    You should always confirm the appointment at least 24-hours prior, by text or telephone. If a client doesn’t show on the day, contact them to make sure they are OK and reschedule.
    Most clients will be extremely apologetic and grateful for the call. But the key is, if you don’t contact them, then they may be too embarrassed to return.
    (I will be covering the topic of, the for and against of cancellation policies in a follow up email soon)

  3. NEVER MOVE APPOINTMENTS
  4. I find it incredibly disrespectful when a regular client gets moved from one column to another without being asked or consulted.
    When taking a booking, always repeat back to a client their appointment time, treatment and who the appointment is with at the time of booking. These details should now be set in stone, unless there are circumstances completely out of your control.

    If you do have to change an appointment, the client should always be fully informed and give their approval. Change without client acknowledgement at your peril!
    This should be no different with new clients. The client may have noted who their appointment is with and will feel totally undervalued instantly at their first, and possibly as a result, their only ever visit to you.

  5. DO LEARN AND USE YOUR CLIENT’S NAME
  6. Always introduce yourself and preferably wear a name badge. One sure way to make a client feel worthless is to refer to them in a three-way conversation as “he”, “she”, “him” or “her”.
    Always ensure you remember a client’s name – and know the preferred name they wish to be addressed by, and then use it frequently during the conversation.
    In written correspondence, where possible either always use a person’s name or a simple “hi” but never, ever refer to a client as “Dear client”. This is so impersonal!

  7. NEVER LEAVE THIRD-PARTY MESSAGES
  8. If you need to contact a client and cannot get in touch, please only ever leave a message on a personal mobile phone. Never leave a personal message with a family member or friend, or on a landline answerphone.

    Remember, it is a client’s own private choice to visit you, and you may be breaking their confidence and trust in you by revealing to a third party that they use your services.
    If necessary, only ever leave a personal name, along with a contact number requesting for the client to call you back. Never mention the business name unless you are 100% certain that you are not divulging unknown information.

  9. NEVER REACT
  10. I always say that there is one thing you don’t ever know about a client – and that is what they don’t want you to know. When a client arrives, you don’t know what kind of day they have had, or what is truly going on within their work, family or life in general.

    If a client does arrive in a less than pleasant mood, it is essential to read the situation and never, ever react. There is a saying “attitude breeds attitude” and it takes very little to accelerate a situation.

Always stay 100% professional, as there is a strong possibility that the client is unaware that their behaviour and attitude is noticeable to you.

Have a written policy and verbally go through the steps you expect your team to take if a client ever makes them feel uncomfortable due to their actions. It is not acceptable for a member of your team to tolerate aggression or abuse. Calling on someone senior and more experienced to help and intervene will normally result in a client apologising for their behaviour and your calming actions will help diffuse the stressful day they have previously experienced.

YOUR FREE GIFT THIS MONTH.
These tips are taken from my book, The Little Book of Client Retention, rrp £9.99, which can be downloaded for free, for this month only, when you join Beauty Entrepreneurs Hub. Click to join now and meet up with me and over 300 other salon owners supporting each other in our great private facebook community.

How to Increase Your Client Retention

customer retention for beauty business

Clients will only return when they are happy about your products and services. To do this, you have to make them feel that they have received their good money’s worth – exceed their expectations whenever possible!

My Top Tip is to always add an imaginary zero to the service price that you offer. Ask yourself how you would treat a customer if you are paid 10 times more for the same service. This will really help you become more aware of the level of service you are offering.

Reflect your realization on whatever product and service you are offering today and you’ll surely increase customer retention for your business. Make a list of the little special touches you could add to make your customer’s experience more memorable. Most will cost nothing more than just a little consideration and these will make a huge difference to your customer’s perception about your business.

Ask your Clients to Re-Book

Don’t let your clients leave without committing to come back again. This doesn’t mean that you have to force them to get your service, but you should at least make them feel that they are welcome anytime. This is one efficient way to increase customer retention for your business.

Once the client is out of the door with no commitment, they are open to the lure of competitor’s offers and friends recommendations.

Often due to external factors and a hectic life, clients forget to re-book. They lose the interest to get treatments from a professional and they resort to homecare solutions instead.

Asking for re-bookings is an effective way of making your customers feel that you truly care for them. The easiest way to make clients see the value in re-booking is to create a sense of scarcity. If a client believes that they need to book then they will.

A good idea is to have a script outline that everyone uses explaining how busy you are becoming and outlining that you don’t want the client to be disappointed if you can’t give them their ideal booking time later.

Susan Routledge works with salons, spas and clinics to help them to get the most out of their businesses. You can contact Susan here>>