A stylist blow drying client's hair while a client is reading a magazine

The importance of creating great client experiences

21 Jul 2021 by Tahlia Shorter

What better way to start an article on client experience than with an anecdote from the 1980s – styles greatest decade! In 1981 a study conducted for Cola-Cola on customer experience found that bad experiences would reach the ears of 10 people. This is where the old marketing adage of “Happy clients tell three friends; unhappy clients tell ten” originated from.

In a world of social media, more than ever client experiences define the success of a business and salon owners should never underestimate the value of an incredible client experience.

Learning from the hospitality industry

Hospitality is a great industry for salons, spas and clinics to learn the art of client experience from. When we look at hotel and restaurant reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, it’s easy to see what experience determines the rating. It’s not just the hotels with the best views or nicest rooms or the restaurants with the most Instagrammable food – it’s the entire experience.

You regularly see 3-star ratings instead of 5 stars because the breakfast buffet wasn’t well-stocked or looked unappealing to late-risers, or there was an extra charge for the spa facilities that wasn’t made clear when booking. Issues like these leave customers feeling like they got less for their money than expected.

Bad or even mediocre customer experiences are arguably the most damaging thing to a salon, spa or clinic’s prosperity and potential, and the numbers speak volumes. According to a McKinsey study, 89% of customers say they stop using a brand after a bad experience whilst Harris Interactive reports most would pay up to 86% more for the same service if the experience is good.

A waiting area at a beauty salon with a pot plant and a book titled "The gut-skin connection"

Creating an incredible client experience

A great salon experience is all about making the client feel totally catered to and you don’t need to break the bank to go above and beyond for clients.

Make your clients feel welcome the minute they step inside the door

The first thing clients see is the waiting area and while they ideally won’t have to wait for long, the waiting area experience needs to wow. Small touches like playing good music, offering drinks and ensuring the magazines are in date and cater to a range of interests (not everyone wants to read about the Kardashians) go a long way to making clients feel relaxed and looked after.

Provide entertainment

Keeping boredom at bay is vital to a great experience because some treatments can take hours. Having a variety of charging cables for popular devices, as well as high-speed free Wi-Fi, can make all the difference to a client who’ll be in the salon for hours. It shows the salon is thoughtful and such amenities are an added convenience – and in the modern world convenience is everything.

Offer refreshments

Refreshments are another inexpensive way to stand out. Most salons offer clients water, tea or coffee but a selection of soft drinks, smoothies and juices will cater to all tastes and make you stand out from the crowd. It’s not something that clients expect and exceeding expectations can lead to exceptional customer experiences.

The best client experiences are those that surprise clients and surpass their expectations like a free smoothie with their colour or a complimentary sample.

Round cookies with different imprinted phrases like Thank you or Superstar displayed at the reception of a beauty salon

Go the extra mile: providing an excellent client experience

The extra things a salon, spa or clinic does to enhance their client experience can be the difference between clients raving about it or ranting about it. Salons with experiences that exceed expectations create excellent brand loyalty because they set a new bar that competitors don’t meet – and by the time they catch on the repeat business is secure.

Creating great client experiences is important for so many reasons. From fantastic marketing through word-of-mouth to increased loyalty from satisfied customers, it’s a proven winner.

More tips on managing your salon, spa or clinic

As a business owner, you have to wear many hats and take on different roles from business planning to managing your team to marketing and client experience. You do it all! We created this ultimate guide to managing a salon, spa or clinic to provide you with tools and expert tips to ensure that you can accomplish all the work that needs to be done for your business to thrive and grow.  

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 12 Jun 2018 and has been updated for relevance and comprehensiveness.

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