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.