by Gladys Mae
Gladys serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute.
Hairdressing is an art that is perfected with knowledge and practice. Qualified and experienced hairdressers know how to create lasting impressions on their clients with their work.
Equally important is the ability to build a client base and retain clients through outstanding service. It takes education and experience to formalise your skills and take your expertise to the next level. This helps you retain clients in a highly-competitive industry.
You work with your clients at an intimate level. This creates an opportunity for you to interact with them, know their needs and listen to them.
According to research, both participants in a conversation feel better when they perceive that the other party is actively listening to their point of view. In business terms, when you listen actively to customers, you make them feel happy and respected, resulting in client satisfaction. And satisfied customers stay longer with the business.
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You could make it even better by engaging them in a conversation, building a rapport, and encouraging client feedback. Ask them how they feel about your services, find out how you could improve their experiences, and actively seek their feedback. Working around client needs and engaging them with tailored services would go a long way towards retaining your clients.
That your clients are important is an understatement – they are the reason your business exists. That’s why you need to track and measure what makes your business successful.
Client retention refers to the percentage of clients that you manage to retain over a period of time. If you had 50 existing customers (E), for instance, at the start of a year, you ended up with a total of 80 customers at the end of the year (T), and you had acquired 60 new customers (N) during the course of the year.
Clients retained (R) during the year would be total clients remaining minus new clients obtained (R = T – N). In this case, this would be T – N (80 – 60), which would be 20.
Client retention rate, expressed as a percentage, could be calculated by dividing clients retained (R) by existing customers at the start of the period (E), and multiplying the number by 100, calculated as follows:
Client Retention Rate (CRR) = R/E x 100
CRR = 20/50 x 100 = 40%
A client retention rate of 40% is certainly a cause for worry, since it is crucial for a business to retain all their clients, if possible. By some estimates, the cost of getting a new customer could be between 5 and 25 times the cost of retaining an existing customer. And retaining clients as a hairdresser starts with knowing your client retention rate and tracking it over a period of time.
Customers love loyalty programmes. This is evident from an extensive survey by Mastercard, which discovered that the average Australian subscribed to as many as seven loyalty programmes, with close to 80% of Australian consumers being a loyalty programme member. Naturally, this has implications for the hairdressing industry.
One way to retain clients as a hairdresser would be to leverage the power of loyalty programmes, by rewarding members for their loyalty. Your programme need not try to match some of the most popular loyalty programmes around – just a simple rewards programme would do the trick in terms of customer retention.
It could be a discount on their custom for a specific dollar amount, or a free treatment upon completing certain number of visits – treat this as your investment in marketing. Plan your budget, determine your margins based on your turnover, and design your loyalty programme tailored to your hairdressing salon and your client base.
Retaining existing clients is an important, and a very rewarding, pursuit. Equally important are the new clients who have just signed up for your hairdressing services.
If you have planned for a fabulous salon opening, make use of the opportunity to promote your business to visitors and guests by offering special discounts valid for a short window. Use your salon opening to create client incentives to sign up – by encouraging new clients to sign up to your services then and there, you generate new business right at the outset and hit the ground running.
As the good old saying goes, out of sight is out of mind. In a world of growing competition, you should maintain your visibility to your clients. And businesses today have been blessed with the right tools to stay in touch.
Email campaigns and newsletters are useful tools to stay in touch with your clients. However, inboxes are getting increasingly crowded these days, thanks to the numerous businesses that have started their email campaigns. Thankfully, there is social media.
Social media has unparalleled reach, and can be a powerful tool when used at the right target market. For instance, Instagram has over half a billion daily users, with over 95 million posts shared every day. Such social media platforms as Twitter and Facebook can help your brand name stay fresh in the minds of your target audience.
Gaining formal qualifications in hairdressing would prepare you for your business, and equip you with the right skills to attract and retain customers.
Enroll to the ICI Hairdressing Stylist course and then start your own business.