October 28th, 2020 In my experience, there are only five ways you can make more profit in your salon. Attract more customers Encourage clients to visit your salon more often Convince them to spend more each time they visit Reduce your overheads Retain more of your existing clients That sounds simple enough, but the reality is that most salons overlook the easiest and most effective method on this list. – Retaining existing clients. I am constantly amazed at just how many customers are on salon databases that haven’t been to the salon in months or years. After all, we spend hard-earned money on advertising, websites, social media, brochures, business cards or expensive shop fit-outs to attract them to us in the first place, so why would we let this money go to waste after just one visit? Most surveys suggest that it is approximately five to eight times cheaper and easier to retain an existing client than to attract a new one. Yet very few salons have a plan in place to maintain their existing client numbers. A well-known survey on why customers stop doing business with an organisation found the following: 1% Die 3% Move away 5% Develop other friendships 9% Leave for competitive reasons 14% Are dissatisfied with your product 68% Don’t return because of a perceived attitude of indifference towards them by either the manager or an employee. When I first read these results, I was startled that a massive 68% of our customers didn’t return because they felt that we didn’t care. Almost impossible to believe with the personalised services we offer. But it isn’t the service we provide in the salon that gives them the impression we don’t care. I believe it’s our lack of follow-up and haphazard communication systems that give these clients a false sense of indifference. Whilst we keep in touch with our customers, they feel that they have a relationship with us and therefore will choose to use our services again to maintain this relationship, often despite our prices. However, when we have failed to maintain communication with them, they no longer have that sense of relationship and now feel free to shop elsewhere. I actually believe that many clients feel awkward about returning after an extended absence. We have all had the experience of a good friend or relative that for whatever reason we have lost contact with. Now, it’s just too difficult to call them, it’s been too long, what do you say?…..Well, your customers have the same feelings, except you are the one that has to be responsible for maintaining communication. If you have not had some form of contact each twenty to thirty days, you may be seen as not caring. The good news is that it is easy to fix! It’s all about effective communication. Effective communication requires a plan that starts immediately after every client’s first visit. A plan that is a system of emails, phone calls, cards, social media and special events that will keep giving your existing customers an excuse to return again and again. Here are a few ideas to get you started. After every client’s first appointment write to him or her and thank them for visiting your salon. Try giving them a $20 gift voucher to encourage them to return. Record their birthday and anniversary dates. Email out cards for these occasions is a great way to show you care. Produce a regular newsletter. These do not have to be expensive publications but should encourage existing clients to try new services and products. Try emailing out a newsletter bi-monthly as a part of your regular communications plan. Email clients that you haven’t seen for more than two months. Ask them to return with a special offer that’s just too good to refuse. You will be astounded at how many just need a reminder to rebook. Find some time to phone a number of these clients each day, or set aside a particular time each week to call clients that you haven’t seen. Set yourself a target of how many you will call. Invite existing clients to special in-salon events. Closed-door sales, new product launches, Pre-Christmas drinks, salon birthday celebrations, demonstration days…etc. Email out thank you cards when an existing client refers a friend. Let them know how much you appreciate their referral. Try offering loyalty points with rewards for utilising your services. Clients can build up points towards free services or gifts. Send out reminders that clients are only a few points from their next reward. Follow up with every client that purchases a product within a week to check if everything is OK. If the client has a problem, you can address it immediately or simply reinforce how the product should be used. Either way, you are showing that you care. The trick to retaining more customers is to keep in touch more often. So, you have to be organised. At the end of each week email out new client letters. At the start of each month get birthdays from your database. Plan your special events to fall in the months between your newsletters. Send out “We haven’t seen you” emails to clients you haven’t seen for over two months at the start of each month, make a set number of phone calls each day or at a set time each week. Allocate each task to a particular staff member that is responsible for that activity happening on time each week or month. Many salon owners are amazed at how many clients are on their database right now that they haven’t seen for months and haven’t asked to return. By putting simple communication systems in place these clients may just become regular lifetime customers.