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How To Provide A Great Salon Experience and Increase Client Retention In 7 Must Do Steps

a great salon experience

Have you ever had a new client who absolutely LOVED the haircut you gave them? They even raved about you on social media, only to never hear from them again?

It can be a blow to your ego when they ghost you like that, especially when you’re new and building your clientele.

In some cases, there are folks who just don’t like to commit. They don’t want to feel tied down so they hop from stylist to stylist. Even if you did everything perfectly, you’ll never see them again.

And there could also be a legitimate reason why they don’t come back. Relocation, illness, personal issues, financial issues…the list goes on.

Sadly, the average rate for first-time client coming back is around 30 percent. So for every 10 new clients who sit in your chair, statistically speaking, only three will come back.

It’s an expected part of doing business.

But what if you find this has become a pattern with some of your regular clients? If that’s the case, you definitely need to rethink your client experience strategy.

Are You Providing A Great Salon Experience?

Becca was a hard-working and eager stylist who came out of beauty school with hopes and dreams of owning her own salon. She established a plan and worked tirelessly to reach her first goal of building a solid clientele.

She was one of those stylists who just had a natural flair for brilliant haircuts and flawless color. And her appointment book reflected her skill level.

In record time, Becca had a full schedule with a waiting list. She was on the fast track to reaching her goals and felt so accomplished by checking off all the boxes on her aggressive To Do list.

Becca was so busy cutting and coloring and focusing on reaching her goals that she didn’t even notice a few of her faithful clients hadn’t rebooked. Then a few more cancelled their appointments, but she rationalized that something must have come up but they’d be back because they loved how she made them look. So she didn’t take the time to reach out to them to find out why.

It didn’t even occur to her that she was treating her clients like they were on an assembly line. Color, Cut, Next…

She wasn’t taking the time to connect. To really listen and make her clients feel important like she did early on.

She just put them in her chair, draped them, hurriedly swept up the last client’s hair, and started in with the exact same haircut and color without asking if they’d like to try something new. She wasn’t taking the time to find out if they had any personal changes that might affect their hair like stress, pregnancy, menopause, health issues or medications.

The personal relationship aspect that she built her business on had dwindled.

And her appointment book began doing the same.

It's All About Relationships

It’s rare that a successful business can be built and maintained without first building and maintaining relationships with your clients. Maintaining client relationships is key. They are the most important and valuable part of your business. Without them, you have no income or business.

it's all about relationships written in the sky

If you’re facing a client retention crisis, it’s time to take an honest evaluation of your relationship with your clients. Are you providing a great client experience?

What steps do you take to provide your clients with a fulfilling experience in your chair? How do you structure your allotted appointment time with them? Do you think of it as just giving them a great hair cut or a beautiful color and that’s good enough? Or do you spend some time connecting and getting to know them?

Keep in mind, you don’t have to be besties with your clients in order to build a relationship. Frankly, you don’t even have to like them. (Trust me, you’ll have some clients who will drive you crazy!) But as long as they aren’t hateful or abusive, you still need to keep a respectful relationship and provide a great experience for them if you want to build and maintain your business.

What Makes A Client Experience Great?

Anything you do to make your client feel special contributes to making their experience great. And we all appreciate feeling understood and valued!

Here are 7 vital steps for you to consider adding to your client experience to make it great:

1. Give great consultations. It makes sense to give a thorough consultation to a new client but what about your regulars?

It’s fun to catch up on their lives since their last appointment but do you take time to talk about their hair and find out if they are facing any hair challenges?

Do you ask if they’ve had any recent changes to medication, their health, their lifestyle that might affect their hair?

Do you assess their hair health, their growth patterns, and cowlicks? It’s amazing how quickly new cowlicks can emerge, especially for older clients. When you’re aware of these changes, you can adapt the haircut as needed.

Your clients will appreciate your attention to their needs.

2. Give a great shampoo. If you’re the one who shampoos your clients, this is a great opportunity to provide an amazing sensory experience.

Make sure the water temperature and spray pressure are comfortable for your client. Use soothing strokes while shampooing and conditioning the hair and finish it off with a brief scalp and neck massage. This is a perfect time to pamper your clients.

Pro Tip: Did you know this is the only time some people are touched? Taking just a few more minutes to massage their scalp and neck makes all the difference. You not only help your clients feel relaxed, but you will also make them feel valued.

3. Give great haircuts. Duh! It may seem obvious but you’d be surprised how many stylists don’t continue to improve their cutting skills or practice their techniques. Any haircuts outside of their area of expertise can be a huge challenge.

woman's haircut