If you can truly listen and understand your client’s needs, not only will you be able to improve the client experience at your salon, spa or beauty clinic, but you’ll also boost your bottom line. When you’re building relationships with your clients, it’s about much more than focusing on salon decor or decreasing wait times. We sat down with salon business coach Caitlyn Menzel who shared her insights on why client experience matters along with expert tips that you can start implementing today. Caitlyn has been a successful owner of hairdressing, beauty and barbering salons for years and knows first-hand how client experience can make or break your business.
“Client experience is so important because that’s the one thing that sets you apart from every other salon. Your focus could be on hair or beauty or whatever you’re offering at your clinic or salon but the client experience is the thing that keeps that person coming back. It’s about how you made them feel.”
Watch the full interview with Caitlyn and read on to learn how to elevate your client experience.
How to create your signature client experience
Tip 1: ask for feedback
The first thing is to know who your clients are and try to get inside their brains. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients while they’re in the chair. For example, while you’re doing their lashes, talk to them and ask for feedback. Some people won’t say anything and that’s fine but some clients would be glad to share little gold nuggets of information.
A client could give you instant feedback such as “I was literally not offered a coffee for my whole appointment” and you can fix it right there.
In the past, we would text clients after the first appointment or in between appointments and ask them “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?”. Then if you get anything less than an 8, get on the phone, try and sort it out. We always said that constructive criticism is welcomed and appreciated in these comments. Feedback is the key to improvement and becoming the best that you can be.
You could also do Survey Monkey or use a similar service to create a questionnaire but keep it really short and easy, for example, top three questions.
Tip 2: get to know your clients
Another part of it is really getting in-depth with your consultations. I feel as though this is so overlooked, and especially when you get real comfortable and complacent with your clients. You can easily lose sight of what they’re there for. The old classic “Same as last time?” doesn’t work.
A lot of stylists forget to ask their clients about home care between appointments, what their routine is in the morning and in the evening, how much time they’re willing to spend or willing to invest into maintaining whatever services you’re giving them and educating them. It’s your job to spend the time educating your clients.
Tip 3: evolve with technology
It’s important to constantly adapt and evolve the way you do things. For example, when I owned a barbershop, we didn’t have a front desk and we would come to the client with an iPad or our staff would invoice them on their phones. Especially in the post-pandemic climate, when you can’t really shift people around and you’re trying to keep everyone in their little sections, this is a great solution.
Tip 4: use mystery shoppers
There’s a real power to mystery shoppers. It can be your friends as long as your staff don’t know them or the AHC (the Australian Hairdressing Council) offers mystery shoppers. After a mystery shopper’s visit, you can send them a survey and ask them really in-depth questions about their experience at your salon.
You can also go to another salon, a salon that you really like, and get the service done and learn from what they offer.
Tip 5: think about client touchpoints
Once you receive feedback, start using it. At our barbershop, our clients preferred to book on the same day, most would ring up in the morning. They also wanted to be in and out – they didn’t want to lie there and get a head massage, they wanted to have a beer. So we sat down and thought about what else they might want: what TV channels they like, what magazines they enjoy. Try and think about all the little touchpoints for your clients.
Tip 6: keep your brand experience consistent
Another thing is consistency across your team. It’s really important that no matter who your client sees, they’re always getting that same experience from start to finish. Clients are usually going to stick to one person. Should that person be sick, leave or go on holiday, your client should be able to move around and still know they’re going to get the same quality cut, service, or facial. Everything from start to finish should be pretty much the same. We all have our own flavour but the experience of your salon should be consistent.
The other thing outside the service itself is your first impression of your business that can be everything from your website, Facebook and Instagram, or when a client first arrives in your salon. Everything you do should be consistent and there should be a clear message that you want to give to your people because otherwise, you get the wrong people.
How client experience can elevate your business
When you put the effort into improving the client experience, it often has a positive impact on other areas of your hair and beauty business, such as increasing your client retention and boosting referrals. So try implementing any of these expert tips for enhancing your client experience and reap the benefits.
For more tips on growing your business, download our free guide, 100 ways to grow your salon, spa or clinic.