One of the verticals most known to offer online appointment scheduling are hair stylists and salons.
I do not have a hair stylist that I go to with any kind of regularity or commitment, however.
When I need a trim (which I usually get around to maybe twice a year; it’s bad, I know), I pull up Groupon, find a salon offering a discount, and order it.
I have friends, though, who wouldn’t dream of letting anyone but their primary hair stylist cut their locks. I’ve just never been the type of chick who’s great at making small talk while looking at myself in the mirror with that black cape around my neck that makes me look awful regardless of how well the trim’s going.
So, my question to some of the beauty shops and salons that use TimeTap was how do you keep clients coming back? In a time where a good hair cut is relatively inexpensive if you use a Groupon or LivingSocial purchase, what can hair stylists do to create clientele loyalty?
Here’s 4 of the best responses we got from our online scheduling users. I hope they’ll help you in building your clientele too.
1. Do Something Complimentary Without Telling the Client Upfront
One of our users has a partnership with several perfume manufacturers to get little samples of perfume every month that she then passes on. She says “Clients always look great getting out of the chair but typically smell like hair products. Those don’t necessarily smell bad but having a little perfume sampler I can hand them is always a treat and not something they were expecting.”
It’s also not something that other salons are thinking to do, at least yet. Everyone loves a perfume sample, so long as it’s not coming from the women standing in your way as you walk down department store aisles. Having complimentary things but not trying to promote them as complimentary things (which comes down to trying to either brag or get praise and thanks) can go a long way toward customer loyalty. Plus, if someone, for instance, compliments the client on the smell of the perfume she’s likely to say where she got it from and word of mouth is always the best marketing technique.
2. Give Them Something to Look Forward to
Most people know what they want when they sit in a stylist’s seat. What’s funny is how much what they want today is exactly what they wanted the last time they got their hair cut. “People will have the same haircut for years,” one of our users said, “and it may not even look that great on them!”
One suggestion we got is to accept what the client has in mind for this appointment but start baking in a dream as you’re cutting her hair. Start the conversation when you’re about 2/3rds of the way through with the hair cut as planned by saying, “You know, next time you come in we should really try doing [insert great idea]. I think it will look awesome with your [insert compliment]. What do you think about it? Have you ever tried something like that before?”
Hair stylists sometimes forget that they are the expert in the relationship and that many times people who are not experts don’t know how to ask the right questions. Everyone, however, wants to look good so start by kindly introducing some advice that will get them excited to come in again.
3. Ask for Their Help to Get Them Invested
One of the best tactics for any small business is to have clients give testimonials. So long as the hair cut really does look great on them, they shouldn’t have a problem with it, and if they know you care so much about their opinion as to solicit a testimonial then the client is going to feel a greater sense of loyalty to you.
There are a few types of testimonials. There’s the plain text based testimonial that you can have people read on your email newsletters or on your website. There are photo testimonials which will provide some solid proof although you got to make sure to get the best angle. Finally, there are video testimonials which you can collect using an iPhone or Android device and post on your website using a third party service. Take a short video before they get in your chair and then film their reactions as they get out. Not everyone will want to do this, but you’ll get more than you may expect.
4. Online Appointment Scheduling Thank You Emails
With TimeTap Online Scheduling, whenever you mark an appointment as complete an email goes out to the client as a thank you note. You can customize this email and even include a questionnaire.
One of our users puts a questionnaire in there about when do you want to come see me next? This way she can easily send out a “Book Your Appointment” reminder when the time comes around. “After they select what day they want to be reminded to make another appointment, that gets marked down in my email marketing provider and I can send out easy appointment reminders based on individual client feedback,” she says.
So there you have it: 4 tips for keeping clientele loyal when a good cheap haircut is just a Groupon or LivingSocial notification away. Do you have others or have suggestions on using online appointment scheduling to create customer loyalty? Let us know in the comment section below.