We’ve all been there. You’ve come into the salon bright and early, all geared up for a great week. And a head appears around your door wanting ‘a quick word’. Your heart sinks. You know what’s coming next. A resignation letter. And it gets worse. They are off to your arch rival across town.

So let’s look at what you need to do to keep hold of your clients and stop them being poached.

Move quickly to reduce poaching opportunities.

Speed is of the essence. Social media allows leaving employees to contact your clients at the click of button. Ideally, you’ve already thought through the scenario and prepared your marketing materials in draft. Get in touch. Hit the phones. Immediately. Explain the situation and recommend another member of your salon team. The last thing you need is for clients to hear the news through the local grapevine.

You may think a text or email would do the job. Less trouble to do. But I feel a personal phone call is best. A conversation is more friendly. Less off-hand. And it makes your client feel important. Crucially a call also gives you the chance to re-book them on the spot with someone else. If you can’t get hold of them quickly on the phone then I’d send a personal email (this is where being prepared helps). I avoid texting as it’s too brief and may seem brusque.

What do I say to salon clients?
First confirm that the person has left, but make sure you add something positive (but non-specific) about them. It reflects well on you. I would say, “Kate is a lovely girl and we wish her well”.

Right, enough said about Kate. Move swiftly on. Focus on the client and what you’re offering to them (more of which later). Don’t get drawn into why Kate is leaving or how irreplaceable she is.

An enticing salon offer
Your clients are going to be showered with mouth-watering offers from the other salon or spa. It’s a galling situation. We’ve all been there. But don’t let your tetchy feelings get in the way. This is no time for being stingy.

Even if clients readily re-book with another team member I would always offer them a discount plus an added value extra for their next salon visit. Any discount pales into insignificance when compared to the cost of them following your ex-employee.

Don’t stop talking
So they’re not answering your calls or email. Frustrating – yes. Worrying – you bet. But don’t leave it there.

If they don’t re-book after your initial call or email then persist. Perhaps they were on holiday or just too busy. Follow up with an offer through the post or another email. Just don’t give up on them. There is still hope…All seems to be in vain. They have left and booked into your competitor’s salon. Still, don’t give up. You may yet woo them back.

The new salon might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Kate may move on again, or go part-time. The marketing trick is to stay front of mind, so if they want to leave you’re their first choice.

It’s easy to do. Leave them on your salon database so they continue to receive your e-newsletters, texts and mailers. Send a lapsed client offer to them after 6 months too. If they’re regretting their decision you need to make it easy for them to return.

In a nutshell: The art to stopping your clients being poached is to act quickly and be persistent.


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