Keeping your existing customers happy whilst attracting new customers is the crux of a healthy growing business – but how do you know if your customers are truly happy? What can you do to stop them from being lured into trying a new salon, or even taking advantage of the deal sites?

In a day and age where reviews are available for literally any product or service, gathering regular feedback has never been more important.

Your loyal customers will be happy to outline exactly what it is about your service that they do & don’t enjoy! Don’t be afraid of reviews – unless you know what works and what doesn’t, how will you ever know to adjust your business.

Salons need to be hugely proactive in securing this feedback, it’s not as easy as you’d imagine!

If you think about it, creativity aside, the three main objectives we wish to achieve from our Salon / Spa businesses are:

1. Improved Client Retention

2. Increased Referrals

3. Higher Staff Productivity

Reviews are the simple answer. Feedback will only help you improve what you currently offer. Happy customers will promote your services, by referring their friends to your salon, ultimately filling some of that white space in your appointment page.

I personally can’t remember the last time I used a really established service provider, and wasn’t contacted after the experience to collect feedback. The Marriot Hotel, Vodafone and Lloyds TSB are just a few that spring to mind. If feedback is so important to these brands, then why isn’t it important to your brand?

Now I’m not suggesting that you start dedicating your life to gathering reviews, but I am suggesting that you make it a part of the strategy in growing your business.

Follow these steps to get yourself started.

1. Where do you want to gather your reviews? There are lots of sites available, but I’d recommend you choose one that’s specific to your industry. Make your profile on that site attractive, list all the essential information you can, with plenty of links back to your own website & social media platforms. Some suggestions would be, Yelp / Qype & SalonSpy.

2. From my experience, salon owners can’t solely rely on the stylists to promote that feedback is important to your business. We all live busy lives and often your customers will forget. If you take the time to send them a request, whilst they’re in the comfort of their own homes, they are much more likely to post a review for you.

3. E-shots are by far the easiest way. Create a template that explains how important feedback is to your business and email it to all the clients that have visited your salon that week. If you can do it 24hrs after the appointment, that’s ideal. Be sure to provide a direct link to your salons profile on whichever review site you choose.

4. Promote client engagement – respond to your reviews. If you take the time to leave a management response to each of your reviews (good & bad), it will not only show that specific customer you care, but also any onlookers will see that you take your customer service seriously.

Did you know 93% of reviews left on SalonSpy.com are 3* or above.

Feedback gathered from SalonSpy.com users, highlights that 79% prefer to trust user reviews on 3rd party websites, OVER testimonials that are displayed on a salons own website.

Displaying testimonials on your salons website won’t do any harm, but a prospective new client is only going to read them, if they already know about you & have arrived on your site, the same goes for your Facebook page.

You need to display a clear link from your own website (ideally on your homepage – as this will be the most visited page on your website) to the 3rd party site that hosts your reviews. This shows any new customers that you’re SO confident in your customer service, that you’re prepared to point out where to go and read your reviews.

5. Be consistent. Follow through with your intentions. If you’re serious about growing your business then take your reviews seriously. Online is here to stay and becomes more important to businesses each and every day.

by Adam Thomas, Founder – SalonSpy.com

‘Word of Mouth and peer recommendation are the number 1 source of attaining new customers’.

Adam set SalonSpy up in Jan 2012, with the aim of aiding salon/spa owners with not only managing their online reputations, but also helping them expose themselves to much larger audiences.

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