Making the business better every day should be an ongoing task for every business owner. Here are 7 tips for salon owners to take into consideration
Jul 1, 2020 · 6 min read
Customer service is the number one difference between choosing to have a treatment in your place, versus having a treatment in their place. Think about it - if the treatment is the same, but one salon makes you feel valued and welcome and the other doesn’t, which are you going to return to and recommend to your friends? It’s a no-brainer, but something that some salons forget about until they see their numbers dropping and panic sets in.
Exemplary customer service should run through everything - from your front desk staff to your therapists. Each and every one of them should be clear on the standards you expect of them and how to treat customers.
Try making a customer charter - that way, everyone can be clear on what is expected of them, no excuses. Make sure your team are making full use of the notes facility in your salon management software to keep track of any particular things to know about each client - from how firm they like their massage, to how they take their drink. It’s those small details that can make the biggest difference.
And don’t forget to listen. Whether it’s them complaining about their husband or hinting that they may prefer something done differently, being a good listener is the hallmark of a good therapist and a good salon.
Sitting back and hoping that you’ll retain the customer base you currently have is naive and misguided, to say the least. There is always a degree of attrition with customers moving away, changing their treatment choices or simply deciding they would like a change - and that’s before we even consider the ones who have been put off visiting thanks to global pandemics.
Marketing to attract new customers needs to be a constant process, not just something that happens when you have time, or when your diary space is emptying.
There are many tools to help salons market to customers, from setting welcome offers to new website visitors, to automatic social media sharing.
Marketing is the backbone of customer acquisition, but there are many ways to spend that marketing budget, so care needs to be taken that it is spent wisely, ideally across a variety of online and offline marketing tactics with careful measurement in place to be able to see what is working and what isn’t. And don’t forget that some marketing is free! There are automated tools that can also make marketing much easier, by distributing content across many media, or by capturing data of visitors to your website and engaging with them to encourage them to book with you.
The trick is to work smarter, not harder.
Going out and finding new customers may be essential, but it’s also expensive. In fact, it can cost up to seven times more than the cost of retaining existing customers. Which is why once you have them, you want to do all that you can to keep them, too.
Delivering outstanding customer service is of a no-brainer, of course. But what else can you do, that will keep customers coming back?
Loyalty programs have come a long way in recent years. Not only are many online these days, but they can be automated and integrate with salon management software, giving your customers a seamless experience, whilst making your job a whole lot easier too. Online means better metrics, which means you can see what is working, and what isn’t and who your top respondents are to ensure they get VIP treatment every time.
In business, just like any other industry, sitting still equates to going backwards. Thanks to a digitally-driven demographic, life is moving fast and with it, so too are the trends and what’s hot and what’s not.
As a salon owner, you need to make it your business to be constantly aware of new trends and treatments and be innovating in your salon with new and fresh services for your customers to try.
That said, it would be foolish to go chasing every trend for a service for your salon, but if there’s something out there that enhances your existing services, and doesn’t require a huge investment in training or equipment, why not try something new? Or ask your clients about the services they would like to see, by sending out a survey.
If 95% of your clients use laser hair removal and you’re still offering waxing, it’s time to start asking some questions of yourself.
Learning and growing as a business is vital for continued success. To know where you’re going wrong and what you could do better, you need a clear and readily available feedback loop. A place where customers feel able to openly and honestly share their experiences, good and bad, and you, as the business owner, can respond and resolve any issues before they turn sour and reach the public domain.
Be sure to share any customer feedback with your team, both good and bad, and make sure they also know that feedback isn’t something to be feared - that is a learning opportunity for everyone that can help to make things better. Making your team feel bad if they have received criticism is counterproductive.
Make sure you keep HR notes for your team and check in with them regularly to see if there are areas where they (or you) would like to see improvement. Set some milestones for them to achieve and support them in their personal growth.
And never forget - your business is only as strong as your weakest team member.
Teamwork makes the dreamwork! At least that’s what they say, and with good reason too. Without a strong team behind them, businesses are set up to fail. Everyone in your business - from the cleaner to your salon manager have ideas of what could be done better to make their lives easier, the customer experience better and for greater harmony within the team.
It’s all too easy for salons to get into the habit of doing the same things, the same way for no better reason than ‘that’s how it’s always been done.’ But is that really good enough? Technology and techniques change all the time. Don’t get stuck in a rut, when there could be a better way of doing things. This is where the benefit of regular team meetings come into play, so everyone can share ideas of how to make things better.
And don’t forget to factor in some fun times too. If your team work hard, it’s nice to reward them sometimes with a meal out or afternoon tea. Something that makes them know that they matter to you and that they are appreciated.
🗺 What’s the plan, man?
As life has recently shown us, all the planning in the world doesn’t necessarily always mean much. But, extenuating circumstances aside, it’s good to have a plan. If you don’t know where you are headed, how are you going to get there?
Of course, we all (mostly) craft a beautiful business plan when we start out, but how often we look at them and update them is another thing entirely, despite our best intentions.
At least once a year, take the time to set some targets for where you’d like the business to be - financially and otherwise. Be pragmatic, yet cautiously ambitious. Then think about how you are going to get there and put together a plan. It doesn’t have to be a 30-page tome, but there should be some budgeting and focus on what you will need to spend to achieve those goals and some timelines set against them.
It’s almost inevitable that COVID-19 has set back some plans and targets for pretty much everyone, but a business restart also creates opportunities, some which may not have previously existed. So perhaps the plans you made at the start of the year simply need a little readjustment? Make sure to do it so that you and your team have some goalposts to aim at, but keep it flexible enough to rapidly respond to a changing environment, if necessary.
Co-Founder/Customer Happiness Manager at RetentionForce
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