Ultimate client experience: Something many service-based businesses promise, but very few deliver. In fact, not many service providers understand what “customer experience” means. In the hair and beauty sector, many business owners wrongly assume that a good customer experience starts and ends at providing excellent hair and makeup services. The truth is, a good customer experience begins from the first point of contact and has no definite end. It entails making the best first impression and being consistently exceptional during and after a client’s appointment. It is about understanding your clientele’s pain points and providing customized solutions to those pain points.
If your customer experience is truly ultimate, you will have a long list of happy repeat customers who don’t mind paying a little extra for “the experience”. You, therefore, cannot afford to keep using “good customer experience” as a cliché. Your salon business success depends on you walking the talk and actually making your customer experience unbeatable.
Now let’s answer the question that brought us all here: How do you create the ultimate salon client experience?
Well, it comes down to 4 things: Efficient systems, good workplace culture, top-notch services, and optimal comfort/relaxation. Allow us to elaborate:
1. Efficient systems
How easy is it for clients to book appointments at your salon? How convenient and secure are your payment gateways? Efficient systems ensure that clients fall in love with your salon at the very first contact. There are many systems that pull together towards creating a good customer experience. Some of them include:
a. Social media systems
Most of your clients are on social media, and so are your competitors. You need a working social media system that satisfies clients and stands out from the competition. How do you create a good social media system? Ensure that:
- Your team monitors and responds to all questions, complaints, and reviews from social media and other review sites.
- You show off your team on social media. Give clients a glimpse of the positive and friendly vibe in your salon.
- Clients can book appointments directly from social media. You can do that by linking your appointment page to your salon’s social media profiles.
- You have a system in place for incentivizing clients to share user-generated content on their timelines.
b. Online booking
Invest in a reputable hair salon online booking system. A good system is easy to integrate into your website and social media pages. That means you can add a “Book Now” button on all your online pages. The system should also allow clients to make appointments and payments from their phones, at any time, and from anywhere in the world.
While at it, make sure that the content on your booking page is up to date. Most importantly, ensure that all your web pages are navigable from mobile devices.
c. Friendly receptionists
Not all clients want to or can book appointments online. For the sake of the few who want to do things the traditional “walk-in” way, ensure that your receptionists are friendly and helpful. Have protocols in place that ensure every client is given a VIP reception no matter how packed the salon is.
d. Collect personal info
Use your online booking system to collect and keep databases for clients’ personal info. That includes birthdays, hair types, makeup preferences, email and home addresses, and phone numbers. This info will help you customize your loyalty programs, marketing messages, and service delivery. For walk-in clients, have the receptionists key into the system all the relevant personal data that clients share.
e. Loyalty programs
Use your booking system to assess the business each client brings to your salon. The system will tell you how much a client spends at the salon as well as how frequent their appointments are. That’s to ensure all your loyalty programs reward the clients who truly deserve recognition.
f. Automate appointment reminders
Have software that sends automated SMSs and emails to confirm appointments, remind clients of their appointment dates and time, and communicate schedule changes when they arise.
2. Promote a good workplace culture
Good workplace culture ensures that all team members are happy, efficient, and productive. Happy employees will put everything on the line to ensure that clients get the ultimate customer experience.
How to promote a good workplace culture:
- Assemble a team that is highly skilled in hair and beauty. Also important, ensure that your team is culturally diverse and that everyone in your team has impeccable people skills.
- Ensure that your team members have all the tools, equipment, and training they need to be perfect in their jobs.
- Motivate and inspire employees by giving them career advice and rewarding excellence.
- Communicate your vision, mission, and business goals clearly and effectively. Ensure that everyone in the team understands their role in the bigger picture.
- Create a supportive environment that helps members through their personal challenges.
- Invest in brand training. Ensure that everyone in your team knows your story and brand values. Teach them the dos and don’ts when interacting with clients. Teach new employees the specific styling techniques that make your salon unique.
- Hold regular feedback sessions with your team to ensure that you are all on the same page and to straighten out any teething problems before they spin out of control.
- Have regular goal-setting initiatives. Allow employees to set their goals as individuals and as a team.
- Hold regular team-building activities.
- Promote an open and honest culture. If someone feels disgruntled, ensure that they feel safe enough to share their feelings without being judged.
- Take actions early to resolve conflicts between team members. Avoid taking sides while at it.
- Nurture team leaders for every department. It is easier to manage a team of team leaders.
3. Ensure top-quality services
To ensure stellar services:
- Train your staff to be good listeners. Whatever a client has to say regarding their tastes and preferences is important, no matter how amateur it could be. Teach stylists to always explain to clients everything they should know about their hairstyling choices to ensure that clients know what they are signing up for. Be honest with them in case you feel a hairstyle they like isn’t good for them judging from their hair density, length, type, and other factors. If they insist against your advice, oblige gracefully and respectfully.
- Teach clients how to take care of their hair at home to ensure that their hair remains perfect between salon appointments. This may appear counterproductive because you probably want clients to come back as soon as possible. But on the contrary, clients will trust you more if they feel like your goal is to make them look good and not to take their money.
- Personalize your services. Remember the databases you created earlier? Use that information to connect with the client, understand their needs and styling history, and customize services. Always take your time to look up a client’s history before their appointment.
- Ensure that your team is updated with the latest hairstyling and beauty trends. Send them to hair and beauty events, sponsor them for refresher courses, and call in industry leaders to retrain your staff. That will ensure that your stylists are among the best in the business.
- Perfect your after-sale services. Follow up with your clients after their appointment to thank them, answer their questions, and encourage them to rebook.
4. Provide optimal comfort and relaxation
Check the environment in your salon to ensure that clients get optimal relaxation and comfort. After all, most clients come to your salon after long days of work and stress.
To ensure that clients are comfortable and relaxed:
- Paint the walls with light colors and bring in simple, calming décor items such as flowers.
- Keep your space clean to eliminate smells. Remove clutter for easy movement around the salon.
- As much as people go to salons to gossip, train your employees to be careful with words and to discourage conversations that might be offensive to some clients or controversial.
- Buy comfortable furniture. Get styling chairs that have full lumbar support, reasonably wide seats, and high-density foam cushions. A good styling chair should have a hydraulic base that adjusts to suit a client’s and stylist’s height.
- Choose music that’s soothing and relaxing depending on your target clientele. If you want to attract youthful clients, you should create a high-energy salon by playing high-energy music, e.g. rock and upbeat music. Older clients may prefer peaceful, soft music. Others may prefer vintage musical selections. The bottom line here is to determine the most appropriate music for your type of clientele.
- Bring in houseplants such as the Snake Plant, Dracaena, Spider Plants, or Aloe Vera. Plants will not only liven up your salon but will also remove from the air harmful toxins (ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, etc.). Your salon will smell better as a result.
There you have it! Ultimate client experience shouldn’t be treated as a cliché- it takes years of consistent work to build an exceptional experience for your salon clients. Start working on being different and exceptional right from your online presence, to the salon, and in your follow-ups. It may necessitate superhuman effort, but it is doable if you have the right mindset.