In today’s world of online shopping & info searching, kiosks, robo-callers and automated support lines, people are hungry for personal connections. The salon is the one place we go where we are certain to interact with a live person. It’s also a more intimate interaction than just about any other place we go, aside from your doctor. Here are some ways to create a closer connection to your clients, and in turn create loyal, return customers:
When each client arrives, great her in a personal way (this is easier if it’s not the first time she’s been in your shop). Invite her, or him into your space, offer a beverage (even if it’s just a bottle of water), provide a place to leave personal items such as a coat and purse (but keep it nearby so they feel like it’s safe), and encourage her/him to make herself comfortable.
Give your full attention – ditch the cell phone, and don’t talk so much with others in the salon that your client feels neglected, or feels like you would rather be somewhere else.
One thing that my stylist does that makes me feel more confident in her work on my hair: she keeps a card file on her clients, with details about hair type, cut preferences, original color and coloring products used, etc., and whether the client was happy with it, and so on. Additionally, if I ask her to change something, she makes note of it on my card. She may also note other details that I am not aware of, but whatever is on that card, it works. With her, I have never been surprised by getting the wrong color.
Another thing I appreciate is honesty. If I ask about making certain changes, my stylist will either encourage or discourage it based on her experience and knowledge of what I like, or don’t like, and I am usually happy to accept her advice. Once, I went against her advice and it was, well, let’s just say I should have listened. But, she did her best with my request, and then graciously helped fix it (which took awhile – the price I paid for being stubborn). She also asks me how I feel about her work, and if I have been happy with it between appointments. If I express a complaint she addresses it and/or helps me make changes. You can also encourage your client to be honest with you about your work – if they feel like you are willing to listen and make changes, then they feel more confident in your abilities and are less likely to just go find someone else.
Conversation can be a connection-making tool. It can also be a wedge-driving weapon. Try not to allow political or religious conversations continue very long, and steer clear of all-out gossip. These can be real turn-offs for your clients. Ask about their personal life, upcoming weekend or holiday plans, vacation plans, etc., and share yours – one-way conversations feel more like interrogation so be sure to share some of your own side, being careful not to make it all about yourself, though. Next time you meet, ask about whatever you discussed previously. When you remember something personal about them, it makes them feel like you care and that is ultimately what creates that personal connection, which in turn, creates customer loyalty. Your clients will be more likely to bring you additional clients, too.
And finally, encourage them to book their next visit before they leave. This ensures you of having repeat business, and it makes the client feel like you are dedicated to their beauty goals. Remember to hand them a business card with the next appointment noted on the back. That way, the appointment isn’t forgotten so easily and they have a way to contact you if the need arises.