By Bryan Durocher, Durocher Enterprises
I just opened my mail last night and was pleasantly surprised to see my Marriott’s Gold Elite card enclosed in the envelope. In 2009 I had not stayed the required 50 nights to maintain that status and they gave it to me for 2010 anyway. That is great customer service. The company is going the extra mile with something that will keep my loyalty and at very little cost to their organization.
We all have lost clients due to the economy, yet what are we doing to keep the ones we have? Many spas and salons are losing clients without really hearing why or understanding what caused the client to defect. Strong follow-up by salon technicians and front desk staff is, of course, an imperative ongoing tool and goal. However, by identifying what drives customer loyalty and engagement, successful spas and salons can begin to develop techniques that will have a direct impact on customer retention.
Successful salons first identify and truly understand their client’s expectations. Then they create structure and protocols to ensure the staff is exceeding the base expectation consistently. Take the time to review with the staff the expectations of the clients and the general public. Be absolutely confident that the entire staff recognizes and acknowledges how your salon plans to exceed those expectations with each and every client. Then it is time to give a little more. What extra add-on or complimentary upgrade can you offer that provides the client a little “wow factor” and keeps them with you. Select a service with a high perceived value, but with little product cost associated with it.
What Is on Their Mind?
Everyone enjoys being part of something “bigger.” It is no different with the salon client. Create short surveys that are unbiased and well-structured, with questions you really want answered. Remember, much of a survey’s success has to do with how it is presented. Write the questions keeping in line with the culture of your organization. Offer the survey in a fun, light-hearted way, if that is how your salon presents itself to the public. If you are a medical spa, priding yourself in being on the cutting edge of technology, create a survey for your website that is interactive. The goal is the same: to get feedback from the end user, the salon client. Offer an incentive to fill it out. Get a vendor to give you a $100 gift basket to raffle off for all surveys collected in a given month. What gets rewarded gets done.
Review the results of the survey with the key players and decision-makers at the salon. Finally, do something with the information! Reacting to surveys in a timely manner builds additional trust and loyalty with clients by showing that you do listen and care about their needs and wants.
Now that you have started to focus on identifying what creates loyalty in the present, develop plans and ideas for building more in the future. Trends — and the needs and desires of your clients — change over time. Make good use of the feedback data and information gathered by brainstorming with the staff and decision makers to understand how client intentions and motivations are changing. Look at not just what services and products they buy, but why they buy. Insight from the practitioners, technicians, and clients is the best and most profitable way to build loyalty in the present and into the future. Perhaps long and luxurious has turned into fast and affordable for your clients now. Give them what they want and can afford.