6 Tips for Retaining Your Clients
“The experience is remembered long after the price is forgotten,” shares John DiJulius in his best-selling book, Secret Service. Owner of award-winning John Roberts Salons & Spas in Cleveland, OH, he challenges salon owners to answer the question: How do you compete? “Do you offer the lowest price, fastest service, convenience or superior customer experience? The answer will help define your competitive advantage,” says John.
According to John, you must decide what experience you are selling and do everything possible to be the best. Below are six guidelines John offers to help define what you are selling and make clients look forward to their salon experience!
1. Identify your point of difference
Price, convenience, upscale, specialized services or superior quality services—what do you want to be known for? Describe your salon culture, and define what customers can expect in their salon experience by sharing it on your website.
2. Enhance customer interactions
Think about how every customer interaction can be more of an experience—from the phone call to book an appointment, all the way through to the follow-up calls a few days later. Train your front end staff on proper phone etiquette, coach each level of service provider on how to engage and communicate with the client and conduct follow-up email or phone courtesy calls to ensure clients are happy with their services.
3. Decide what customers are buying
Along with the point of difference you identified, you need to consider how to create a customer experience that is the whole package. Create service menus offering quality technical skills, but present the options in creative, enticing ways. You want clients to buy more services. Your online menu sets the stage and encourages them to want to explore new techniques.
4. Offer training programs that produce star-quality staff members
Not only is it necessary to offer quality technical training programs to keep staff at their best, but it’s important to make sure those programs instill a sense of theatre in your staff—enabling them to see themselves as performers, in a sense, providing memorable service at each stage of the salon experience. Also, be sure to share the great work of your staff members on social media. Submit examples of their work to local newspapers and magazines that do hair and beauty features.
5. Turn unavoidable inconveniences into positive experiences
Wait times can be staged in a Starbucks-type atmosphere with refreshments, local newspapers and magazines available and inviting retail areas. Call-in hold times can be spent being entertained by creative messages on your telephone hold system.
6. Celebrate customers to make them feel like VIPs
Find ways to celebrate customers and make them feel like they are important to your business. Send greetings and recognitions for special events such as birthdays, weddings, graduations and other important life events. In addition, create VIP programs that reward them for their loyalty and referrals. Base the levels on your price range of services and return appointment patterns.
“While I believe our services are second to none, the reason we are so successful is that we sell an experience,” John concludes. “Clients can go many places to get a good haircut or manicure for less. However, as a result of our customer experience cycle, our clients feel that our service, or their experience, has more value.”
For details on how to establish a winning customer experience cycle, pick up a copy of John’s book, Secret Service. It gives tips on how to deliver unforgettable customer service, turn complaints into positive experiences and build a strong team culture.