5 Genius Ways to Get Clients in the Door and Coming Back for More!
“There are a lot of great haircuts and great hairdressers out there,” says Michael Crispel, owner of Earth Salon in Toranto, “but top-notch customer services is the most important part of maintaining a successful business.” Even during the recession, Earth Salon experienced success, testament to Michael’s belief about service. Here are five key customer-service initiatives he feels have truly set his business apart.
1. The Little Things in Life
To ensure that every client receives a luxury experience, Michael made improvements and added services that his competition wasn’t. For starters, he upgraded to a gourmet blend of coffee. He also offers complimentary hand massages (using high-quality hand creams) and gratis fringe adjustments and blow-dry classes. “The clients who come in for a fringe adjustment or blow-dry class keep the salon busy all the time,” says Michael. “And what’s better, other clients in the salon don’t know the guests are there for a free service; they only see a busy salon.” These complimentary services keep clients happy and encourage them to come back. “I’ve seen a 50 percent greater return from my clients since offering these added-value services,” he adds.
2. Pay It Forward
Earth Salon has a referral program called “Share Your Secrets” that encourages clients to refer friends to the salon. “For every two referrals a client brings into the salon, he or she will receive a complimentary service,” explains Michael. It’s a great strategy to prevent clients from stretching their appointments. “A lot of clients who would normally come in once per month were cutting back to nine or 10 visits per year,” he adds. “So we pointed out to those clients that if they referred a few friends to the salon, they could maintain their 12 appointments per year and only pay for 10.”
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reward!
“We offer a couple different retail programs that have really helped us build our retail business,” says Michael. First, the salon encourages clients to bring in gently used drugstore-brand haircare products and exchange them for 25 percent off any in-salon retail purchase (the salon offers KMS and Goldwell products). They then donate usable products to a local women’s shelter and apply the donations to their tax write-offs at the end of the year. Another major incentive for Michael’s clients to buy retail in his salon? “We offer full credit back on any product a client purchases and doesn’t like,” he says. It may seem like he’s taking a huge risk as a small business owner, but Michael points out that they don’t lose money. “We mark returned products with a big “R” and my stylists use it at the backbar and at their stations. It makes a client so much more apt to buy retail knowing that we guarantee everything we sell.” But no program is successful without full participation from the staff. That’s why Michael conducts regular product knowledge classes (twice per month) to ensure that every stylists feels comfortable suggesting the right products for their clients. “I also offer a pretty aggressive commission structure, which is quite encouraging to the staff.”
4. A Quick Fix
Michael knows that some clients have to cut back their appointments to save a little dough, so he offers lower-priced “tide-over” services like hairline and partial color applications or quick layer-refreshing trims using back-cutting. “There is always time in a salon to do something special for your client,” says Michael. “These lower-priced services take very little time—and assistant can do them—and they allow me and my staff to continue building relationships with our clients.” Michael revealed that he also might throw in a toner or treatment service as added value with a color or cutting appointment. “A lot of salons spend so much money on advertising when they could be using those dollars to offer additional services or added value to their clients.”
5. Rise to the Occasion
“All of these little things, when added up, create something special and different in our salon that our clients recognize and appreciate,” says Michael. The salon has a pre-booking, or “standing appointment” program, and clients who pre-book are given priority if an appointment time or date needs to change. It’s mandatory to make a follow-up call to every first-time client, to a client who was dissatisfied with her service and to a client who underwent a substantial change. The salon also offers appointment reminder phone calls that their busy, on-the-go clients appreciate. “We receive great responses directly from our clients,” adds Michael. “Many of them are business owners themselves, and because we develop solid relationships, they want to see us succeed and they want to support us. They’re as involved in our lives as much as we are in theirs.”