Top-rated salons have this is common:
Great salon customer service from the moment the client finds you online to weeks after they visit you (that’s right – weeks!).
After all, we return to those five-star restaurants and hotels for a reason, right?
At the end of the day, a great customer experience is what keeps your clients coming back again and again.
And here’s the thing: it’s between five to 25 times more expensive to invest in new customers than to retain existing ones, so a great customer experience really is critical.
Read on to learn how to provide a premier experience and turn yourself into a five-star salon with these nine salon-centric customer service tips.
9 Salon Customer Service Tips
1. It Begins with Your Digital Entrance and Online Booking
It used to be said that great salon customer service begins the moment the client walks into your salon.
Today, great customer service begins before your client enters the salon. It begins the moment your client interacts with you online, typically in the form of Google Search.
Imagine having a virtual receptionist available 24/7 that would allow the client to make an appointment and even pay the moment they find you on Google.
When clients are searching through Google, look how much a listing with the “Schedule” option appears so much more enticing (not to mention convenient?).
Indeed, we have found that the Reserve with Google button boosts bookings by as much as 64%.
What if the client could select the exact day, time, service or even location that works best for them?
What if the virtual receptionist followed up with parking directions?
The good news is that with the right scheduling software, you can do all of this.
This is important because great salon customer service is about choice.
While we are biased, this is truly what a great online booking experience looks like; remember, not all are the same.
It’s exactly why more and more salons are moving to online booking software.
Convenience is a hot commodity today, and online booking gives this to your customers, elevating your customer service experience in an instant.
Again, this happens through both convenience and choice.
(Indeed, when we analyzed hundreds of Google reviews of eyelash extension studios, reviewers were most likely to comment on flexibility in scheduling, [efficiency] and online booking when it came to customer service. You can get the full results to the right).
But, there’s more. And it’s arguably just as important as the convenience aspect of online booking.
Not only does online booking make you a premier customer service provider but it also effectively keeps your salon open 24/7. This is important considering that 40% of bookings happen after business hours.
With the right scheduling and online booking software, you can even allow clients to send pictures of their desired hairstyle/colour in advance of their appointment (more on this to come).
All of this serves to provide an exceptional first digital touchpoint for your salon and puts you on the path toward great, salon-centric customer service.
2. Digital Client Consultations Are Key
Many salons skip consultations entirely because they just don’t have the time; the problem is that they provide a very professional second touchpoint that allows you to:
- Discuss what clients are looking for so everyone is on the same page
- More accurately plan how long services are going to take
- Personalize your services
- Show that you care
Consultations are important in general but digital consultations, which happen in advance of the actual appointment, can really help optimize the process. With this, clients can attach photos of what style they’re looking for as well as pictures of their current hair. You can also have them complete information in a digital form that you show them as they make their online booking.
Here’s why this matters:
Accurately Assess How Long Services Are Going to Take Based on Client Pictures and Info
You can get a much more accurate idea of how long a service is going to take if clients upload pictures (and other information) in advance of their appointment.
Let’s say a new client wants to go blonde but they currently have jet black hair that’s been dyed; the process is going to take a lot longer (in some cases, it may not even be achievable at all in that first visit).
Knowing this information from the very beginning can help you more accurately plan your day while setting realistic expectations with the client from the beginning.
At the end of the day, digitizing this consultation process ensures that all parties at the salon always know what the client wants: things don’t get lost in translation along the way.
And just like that, you become like a Four Seasons hotel.
Because you know exactly what they want.
Have you ever noticed that the Four Seasons always seems to know exactly what you want before you even do?
It’s like that.
(Glass of cucumber water)?
Personalize the Client Experience
Here’s why this is important: when we analyzed hundreds of eyelash extension businesses, we found that clients appreciated when techs offered personalized information, like which types of lashes would suit their eye shape and so on.
The good news is that automated, digital forms can once again help with this process.
For instance, for first-time clients, you might have a special form that asks what they like or don’t like when they visit salons, or about specific hair care concerns they’re currently struggling with, or what kind of music and beverages they like.
You can then use this information to create a highly personalized experience that is tailored to them; 90% of (U.S.) consumers find personalized experiences very or at least somewhat appealing, which is why personalization was named the marketing word of the year by the Association of Advertisers (ANA) in 2019.
Now that’s a great salon customer service experience.
In fact, it explains the popularity of Function of Beauty’s line of haircare products (if you’re not familiar, this is a product line that allows clients to select and customize their shampoos – even down to the colour of the bottle!).
3. Use a Client Relationship Management (CRM) Tool for More Personalized Customer Service
A CRM is the holy grail of salon customer service tips. First, it allows you to create individual client profiles to record information like birthdays or other client information, which you can use to upgrade their service or offer a birthday discount as just a couple of possible examples.
(And again, having client information in an electronic system ensures that everyone is on the same page and that enough time is allocated to each service based on that individual client).
But you can also take this a step further:
For instance, you can create (and store) salon notes such as past styles or even more personalized notes, like the fact that the client’s child just entered kindergarten. The next time he or she visits, you can then ask how it’s going.
It’s about building relationships as this is a large part of what drives customer loyalty.
A CRM is also beneficial for the following reasons:
- See client history (past appointments, number of no-shows and more)
- Identify your VIP clients
- Go paperless and eco-friendly
4. Use the Right Approach to Upselling
Upselling is undoubtedly an important part of generating profits for many salons.
But as you can see in the example below, the right approach is imperative.
At the end of the day, most clients are open to product suggestions if they work (this is also why a CRM is important; if you take a note that your client is currently experiencing dry hair, you could follow up with them about it in their next visit).
The problem is that depending upon the nature of your salon (such as a commission-based salon), upselling can quickly lead to “product pushing” at whatever cost and lead to a poor client experience. Clients shouldn’t be pressured to buy products when they visit the salon.
Secondly, upsells should also be genuine; if a client suffers from dry hair, they would likely be more than happy with a genuine recommendation if it’s helpful.
Remember: research by Epilson showed that 80% of consumers are likely to make purchases from a company that provides personalized experiences, so you’ll see the best results if you tailor products to clients’ specific needs.
5. Focus on Providing a High-End Experience
When we analyzed hundreds of beauty businesses (get the results over to the right), do you know what we found?
One of the key findings as it related to technicians was the fact that clients liked techs who were invested in providing a comfortable experience; in other words, they liked to feel cared for.
Most clients today also want to feel pampered and luxurious when at the salon, so in this case, it’s in the details. For instance, offer a beverage menu; give clients a small shoulder massage; have shampooers offer clients a scalp massage.
Tip of the Day: Spend Time Reading Google Reviews
Pouring over Google reviews can be a great way to get direct insight into the little details that clients love – and things that perhaps you hadn’t thought of!
For instance, a client loved that one salon served wine! Another one loved that the salon served popcorn and candy.
You get the idea.
6. Handle Complaints Effectively
Customer complaints are inevitable, but the right strategy can turn the situation around entirely.
This means acknowledging and responding to negative online reviews.
Regardless of who is at fault, a professional response looks like the following:
- Apologizing and empathizing (expressing how you understand how frustrating the situation is, etc.)
- Clearly acknowledging the mistake
- Providing an explanation (but not placing blame)
- Explaining what you plan to do differently next time
Next, this should be followed up with some sort of monetary remuneration, whatever this looks like for your salon.
7. Streamline Your Service
Think about a five-star hotel experience: you can pay online, there’s valet service, etc.
Everything is on time and operates like a well-oiled machine; nobody is ever standing around waiting.
Scheduling software ensures your salon operates like a well-oiled machine and here’s what this looks like:
- Appointment confirmations and reminders for clients
- Staff notifications whenever appointments are made, rescheduled or cancelled
- Gaps and/or transition time are automatically added to your calendar via smart technology
- Clients can pay online or from their chair via an integrated point-of-sale
8. Send Appointment and Rebooking Reminders
Appointment and rebooking reminders are a final touch-point when it comes to salon-centric customer service. But they are actually just critical to your bottom line.
Salons lose thousands of dollars every year due to no-shows, but research has shown that reminders improve no-show rates by nearly 30%.
A simple appointment reminder (made possible by salon scheduling software) ensures that clients remember their appointments.
These automated reminders also reduce front-desk time, allowing receptionists to spend time elsewhere (such as on your marketing efforts, etc.).
Similarly, automated rebooking reminders remind clients that it’s time to revisit you again. Not only is this also a great touchpoint but it typically results in 30% more bookings for the average salon.
9. Implement a Rewards Program
For a lot of clients, once they find a stylist that they love, they’ll return and return again.
However, there are a lot of potential clients that will visit who don’t regularly go to the salon or like to hop around to different salons.
Reward programs encourage clients to return.
Here’s the thing: 57% spend more on brands that they’re loyal to and rewards are a key part of that.
Wrapping It Up
Great salon customer service or salon-centric customer service is about convenience and flexibility, providing personalized service, making clients feel cared about and providing streamlined service.
Do you have any salon customer service tips that you’d like to share?