According to the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS) the average salon loses over 20 percent of its client base each month and, for every 10 new clients, less than 3 come back. Poor customer service certainly plays a part sometimes but there is a very different culprit to blame for low returns – BRANDING.
Branding is how you communicate to the public why they should choose your salon. In other words, your brand is your business. The problem is that many salons imagine they can compete solely on the quality of their respective work. So, they select the same overused fonts, decor and colors as a hundred other salons and focus solely on getting their names out there. They try to maintain a competitive edge through quality alone but, in reality, doing a good job is not a basis for competition in the salon business; it is a requirement. Many salons do a good job; they wouldn’t exist otherwise. The question is why someone should choose your salon over another. If the only answer you can give is the quality of the work you provide, the decision to choose your salon will be based solely on location and price, leaving you at the mercy of $6 haircuts and $10 facials.
Instead of getting in price wars with your competitors, creating a unique brand for your salon can attract more new clients and keep existing customers coming back. This is done in a few ways, including:
- Differentiate your salon – offer a unique product or service that sets you apart from the rest of your competitors. Whether your specialty is a cucumber face mask, stranded hair coloring, virtual haircut consultations or sugar waxing, when you offer a product or service that no one else does, you ensure that customers will have to visit your salon.
- Encourage relationships – customers are more likely to return when they feel valued or as if they are part of something. Encourage this sort of relationship through exceptional levels of customer service and personal attention. You can also facilitate relationships in your salon by introducing your customers to one another when they come in and creating an environment where socialization is encouraged, you can create a social scene centered at your salon and stimulate the development of a social network of clients within your salon. This will lead to increased referrals, as clients invite their friends to come along, but it also reinforces customer retention.
- Focus on visuals – however you envision your salon’s brand, you have to convey that basis of competition to the public. Everything about your salon’s logo, color choices, layout, pricing, services offered and decor should all say the same thing. For instance, if you want to push socializing in your salon, serve coffee and juice, provide comfortable waiting areas and position stations so that clients can talk with one another. Conversely, if you want your clients to feel very individual and special when they come in, have compartmentalized stations, upscale touches, and personalized service.