Whether it’s the time it takes to complete a service, selecting quality and result-oriented products, the care and attention taken to ensure that your environment is clean and inviting or just being responsible and addressing concerns promptly, your efforts done consistently and diligently will help gain client loyalty over time.
Here are some points to consider:
Focus on the customers’ needs before your own. Don’t spend their time on idle gossip and irrelevant chit chat with co-workers. Your customer is paying for your time, expertise, and attention, so ensure they have the best experience with you. If you don’t take the time to understand and attend to their needs, someone else will.
Let your customers know that they can contact you should they have any questions. Your hours of operation, contact information and what services you offer should not be a mystery. Make known your preferred method of contact. You can easily list that info on your website, for example. Essentially, you should be reachable. I really like it when salon owners get this right.
Always use products that make good on their promise. If a product says it will extend the life of your customer’s nail polish, well then, it should. To ensure this, a good practice is to use each of your products yourself. Alternatively, you can give away samples to your team members, friends or even your customers and encourage feedback. Whatever your method, it’s important that you have first-hand knowledge of the products you use and sell. Don’t just rely on what is said on the labels, you can give a more convincing report to your customers having tried the products yourself.
Schedule your clients’ follow up appointment. Call or send a friendly reminder letting them know of an upcoming appointment. If you haven’t seen a customer in a while or maybe they’ve missed their appointment—give them a ring and let them know you missed them. Demonstrated concern is invaluable to effective customer care.
You are your business’s best advocate; make sure that your customers are aware of the services you offer. Keep your customers up-to-date about changes that may directly affect them—a change in the availability of a hair stylist, for instance. It’s also a good idea to educate your customers on the benefits of your services, highlighting the rationale behind the products you’ve chosen (which you’ve tested, of course).
Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of writing down the process for each of your salon’s services. This goes a long way to ensure that, not only you, but each of your team members know exactly what to do, how to do it, and what products to use. You should collect all of your processes into a procedure manual and distribute it to any existing and new team members. Your salon’s procedure manual should always be available on-site to refer to by whoever, whenever, for whatever reason.
Regularly schedule services for your team members, performed by your team members. It is important that you ensure the services you advertise are consistently performed as advertised. You want to make sure that your team members have the necessary tools and training required to perform their duties. Of course, make sure your team members know what to look for as they check each others service performance. Peer accountability is a great team-strengthening side benefit here.
The bottom line
I know it seems like a lot, especially if you’re looking to implement changes in an existing salon. Don’t worry, you can take the approach offered by Tara Hunt, author of “The Whuffie Factor.” Hunt suggests making “small, continuous improvements.” True enough, the customer and team member touch points I’ve outlined above will require time and effort, but pace yourself and remember that the return is well worth the investment. In the end, improvements in each area will help you better connect with your existing customers and foster a stronger team internally.
What would you add (or take away)?
Are there other customer, operational or team member touch points that you can think of to serve your customers better? What’s worked wonders for you? Do share!