Many of you will have read the story about Susan Parker-Jones in the Daily Mail, who travels 24,000 miles a year to see her favourite stylist. Whilst this might be a bit extreme, a UK survey has revealed that customers are more loyal to their hairdresser than any other brand, product or service. Although it can be difficult to build that customer loyalty in the first place, once you have it, they are more likely to stick with you.

Creating a relationship with your clients is one of the easiest ways to keep a steady stream of customers coming to your salon, and a regular cash flow through the till. But away from your business, it’s also really important for clients too. They want to look their best at all times and through your help and advice, they will come to trust and respect your salon. If you approach it correctly, you should be able to increase your rebooking in no time.

If you’re looking for ways to encourage repeat business, read our guide below…

Consultation is key

Every client, no matter if they are new or existing, should have a personal consultation offered to them. Through demonstrating that clients’ needs are not only important to you, but that you’ve got ideas on how to fix their hair and beauty issues, you’ll inspire confidence and gain trust from them.

You could always educate the client on what it takes to maintain their style or treatment to help them understand the importance of what you’re doing and why they should keep coming back to get the most out of it.

Reward client loyalty

In the retail world, loyalty schemes have been used to influence buyers for years – you probably have a few cards in your purse yourself – and when these are implemented correctly they can be extremely successful.

If you consider how much competition you are up against in the hair and beauty industry, running a client loyalty scheme should be a key part of your client marketing strategy. You could offer rewards such as free treatments or discounts after a certain number of return visits.

It’s important that you are looking after your current clients instead of constantly trying to chase new customers who might only visit once or twice.

Encourage repeat bookings

Stylists and therapists should provide each client with a timeframe of when they would like them to come in for a follow up treatment. You may need to motivate your clients who are are a little relaxed – inform them that your weeks are filling up quickly and they should schedule in now, although don’t be too pushy. Wording it in this way will seem less like a sales pitch and more like professional advice that shouldn’t be ignored.

Michael van Clarke has rebooking levels of between 80-99% in his London salons. One of his tactics for getting clients to come back is to have the reception staff encourage customers to rebook, following up from the advice of the stylist or therapist.

“A simple, “Is it 6 weeks for your next appointment?” can be very effective, and clients who rebook at this stage are more likely to keep coming back to the salon. Don’t be afraid to portray your salon schedule as busier than it is either – there’s no incentive to rebook if the client thinks your schedule is wide open!”

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Cross Promote

Your client won’t know about your services unless you tell them. During the consultation, refer to other members of staff who specialise in the treatment you are recommending.

Bringing other members of staff into your consultations is a great way of encouraging repeat business. Statistics suggest the more services a client receives at a salon, the more likely they are to stay loyal. Also, ensuring a client builds relationships with several members of staff lessens the potential impact of a staff member leaving.

Host offers

Instead of offering a single discount on a treatment, offer other incentives such as a free gift when you book treatment X and Y together. It’s more of an encouragement for them to pay for more treatments, but also to sample some of your other services.

Don’t forget about them

Losing clients is one of the biggest issues a salon can face, but how much does losing a client actually cost you?

According to LOCKHART-MEYER, if your average cut and finish is £35 and a new client visits 5 times a year, that’s £175 a year per new client. If you add in a couple of colour services at £55 each, that’s a total annual spend of £285.

Say, you have 50 new clients a month. Only around a third of those clients are likely to return, meaning that around 67% of your potential customers don’t come back – 33 customers in this case.

That’s 33 clients x 12 months = 396 clients. 396 clients x £285 (average annual spend) = a staggering £112,860 per year. So you can see why client loyalty is key to your business!

Focus on the detail

As there’s tough competition in the salon world, it’s important to think of ways that you can stand out among other salons around you. One of the easiest ways is to win customers over with your attention to detail. Have you ever had your local barista remember your regular coffee order, or someone going that extra mile to help you out? It makes you feel valued and you should implement this with your clients.

You could keep notes on client record cards and note down if they mention wanting to try another treatment next time – and remind them of it next time they visit. You’ll be up-selling your services without them even realising! You could also ask them about events they’ve been to that they might have mentioned to you at their last appointment. Remembering the little things really do go a long way.

Say thank you

In this industry, client loyalty is key. Reward your regular clients with thank you cards and offer them a free treatment for introducing a new client to the salon – word of mouth is, without a doubt, one of the best forms of marketing – and it’s free!

What do our customers say?

We recently asked our audience on Facebook to share their tips and advice on how they boost business, and keep customers coming back.

“Give a discount or money off voucher/card for a friend and one for the client – they will pass it on if they are getting something back!”
Angela Webber

“Offer a conditioning treatment with every returning colour and finish.”
Sweeny Toddzz Barbers

“The salon I used to work in did a refer a friend scheme – the client was given a card to fill out and their friend brought it with them when they had their first visit to the salon and they both got 25% off, it worked really well!”
Lynne Kernahan

“My sister’s salon does a recommend a friend card. If someone who has never been to the salon before comes with a recommend a friend leaflet they get half price cut & finish, as does the person who recommended them next time they go in.”
Sally Turk