Successful business leaders know that inspiration and best practices can come from unexpected sources.
Several years ago, as I was laying the groundwork to launch StyleSeat, a booking platform for hair stylists, I spent the better part of a year in salons talking to stylists about how they run their businesses. It quickly became clear to me that the hair stylists pulling in six figures a year are some of the savviest entrepreneurs you’ll find.
They work in an industry with an exceptionally high client churn rate and financial success requires keeping your chair filled with clients all day long. The most successful hair stylists are masters at client retention, and the secrets to their success in this area are lessons applicable to most any entrepreneur.
Here are a few tips.
Know when less is more. Smart stylists read their clients. They know that some people come to a salon and look forward to chit chatting. Others prefer to relax and enjoy some quiet personal time.
Paying attention to your clients’ signals and understanding when less is more, is a lesson that can be applied to everything from in-person meetings to your company’s email strategy.
Provide an amazing experience from start to finish. This may sound intuitive but clients notice every detail -- from the front door of your salon to the homepage of your web site.
Ensuring that every aspect of your client’s experience is consistently wonderful will leave them feeling satisfied to continue working with you and make them more likely to send referrals your way.
If you need to raise your prices, be transparent. At some point, most businesses need to raise prices. It can feel uncomfortable to tell a client that the price for your service now costs more (and it might be tempting to not mention it upfront).
However, it’s critical that you unapologetically communicate about the change before your client engages you again. There’s nothing worse than having a client feel like they are left with no option but to pay an unexpectedly higher price.
Give clients the opportunity to provide feedback. It is easy to assume that clients who keep coming back must be happy. Think again. Successful hair stylists don’t make this assumption.
Proactively asking your clients for honest feedback about your work product as well as their overall experience with your business is simply a smart thing to do. Happy clients will likely be diplomatic with constructive feedback, and you would rather hear it now vs. letting something that’s easy to fix become a bigger issue down the road.
Always continue to hone your craft and differentiate your brand. Hair stylists frequently attend classes and seminars to learn new techniques, stay current with trends and perfect their skills. Even if your industry’s trends don’t change as frequently as popular hair styles, your clients will appreciate the fresh insights and new capabilities you consistently offer them. Staying abreast of the latest trends will ensure that long-time clients never feel your services are dated. It will keep them as happy today as they felt working with you five years ago.
The next time you’re at a hair salon, consider putting down the magazine and deviating from the standard small talk with your stylist. Looking through a different lens at a room full of busy stylists serving their clients may inspire some new client retention ideas for your own business.
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