As business owners we all know the value of “word of mouth” advertising. We love it, it’s essentially free and we have the ability to attract new clients that come from the same “tribe” as our existing clients…perfect! But what is it that makes our clients want to tell the world how fabulous we are?
Well I believe a key driver for referrals is a combination of ingredients and experiences that I like to call the “Client Journey”. This is essentially what your client sees, hears, feels and touches from the minute they connect with your salon or spa and more importantly every time they visit or connect with your brand.
So the next question is, what procedures and guidelines do you have in place within your business to ensure your client’s journey is amazing, for every client and every time?
I like to think of the Client Journey as being a bit like your favourite cake that tastes delicious. But remember that the cake is the result of planning and preparation…a selection of the best quality ingredients combined in a certain way and baked to perfection at the right heat for the right length of time.
So here’s a recipe I use with the salons I mentor to help them build their own personalised Client Journey for their business.
- Do a taste check – Survey your clients to establish what they think about your menu and service. You can make it anonymous and invite all your clients to participate or hand pick some clients whose opinion you value and you know will be upfront. You could also organise some “mystery shoppers” to give you insight into your consistency and client journey. Offer them a complimentary service (ideally at least 1 ½ hours long) in return for filling out a questionnaire on their overall experience and areas that could be improved. Also ask your team if they have any innovative ideas to wow the clients and improve the client experience. Think about your own personal experiences of service and any point of difference ideas that you could adapt to your business.
- Every ingredient is just as important as the other This is a big one. The profitability of your business is directly related to the actions your team choose to take with every single client that’s sit in their stylist chair or enters their beauty room. Each client needs to feel like they are the only person that matters, the only client in the salon or spa at that point in time. You can’t leave this to chance, coincidence or personal choice. Don’t only focus on how great the cut/colour or facial is, take a holistic approach and build the full journey, for example the farewell is just as important as the quality of the haircut. Each ingredient/experience has equal importance and value in contributing to the end result. What’s the first impression a client gets when they phone you? Step through your door for the first time? This is really important to keep in mind when you are mentoring upcoming talent or younger team members. Appraise and assess them on their performance of the entire Client Journey not just how great the colour application, cut or facial was.
- Create the “recipe” with your team at a staff brainstorming session. You need a core recipe (the template of what the client experiences from the minute they enter your salon/spa to the minute they leave) and then you need recipes for all of your services and how they will be delivered. You need to build the experience together and put it in writing and ideally even role-play and critique your journey as a team. Role-playing is an amazing tool to build confidence and ensure all your team are on the same page in delivering the Client Journey consistently.
- Once you have your Client Journey mapped out, the recipe needs to be put in writing, become part of your Policy & Procedure manual and be embedded in your salon culture. You have now created a tool that will future proof your business and build a foundation that you can use to induct new team members. It’s a living document so keep checking you’re delivering consistently and keep looking for ways improve and unique ways to delight your clients.
- Keep measuring your performance. It’s impossible to truly understand your business without salon/spa software and measuring your new client percentage, referrals and retention is vital. These stats are an indicator of the health of your business and the strength of your Client Journey. If you find some weakness in certain areas then check back that your Client Journey is being delivered consistently and with passion.