Customer Service

On My Mind: Creating Client Loyalty

I've been thinking a lot about loyalty lately. Specifically, what makes clients loyal to certain salons or certain nail techs. Are you creating client loyalty?

I’ve been thinking a lot about loyalty lately. Specifically, what makes clients loyal to certain salons or certain nail techs. A few days ago, the company president popped into my office to tell me about a dilemma. The hairstylist who he has gone to for 30 years (30 years!) moved to a new salon. The new salon is right across the street from the old one. But he is considering looking for a new stylist because he doesn’t like the ambiance of the new salon.

Around the same time, a friend told me her hairstylist was leaving for another salon. My friend is a new client, having only been in for two or three appointments. She’s been happy with her services, but she’s still not sure if she will follow her stylist to the new location.

These are two very similar situations — both instances have a stylist moving to a new location that is literally on the same block as her last salon — with two very different levels of loyalty. But the outcome will likely be the same — both stylists will likely lose their clients.

It got me thinking about how you can create loyalty — either to the salon itself or to you as a technician — so clients won’t just pick up and leave. Here’s a checklist I think is a good place to start:

1. Technical quality and consistency: If you are really good at what you do (be it pink-and-whites, nail art, or killer pedicures), and you do a consistently stellar job, your clients will have no reason to consider taking their business elsewhere. If you’re a salon owner trying to create loyalty to the salon, make sure that no matter who a client sees, she gets the same high quality service. There is a reason Starbucks are so popular. No matter what store you visit, you get the same non-fat vanilla soy latte. You want your salon to be that for your clients.

2. High level of sanitation and cleanliness: Let’s face it, clients are still being bombarded with messages about the dangers of unsanitary salons. Following strict disinfection and sanitation procedures will let clients know you are always thinking about their safety. And if your salon is clean and tidy, that’s the first thing someone sees when she walks in the door.

3. Exceed expectations: Everyone (even discount salons) has magazines for clients to read and offers a beverage. You have to offer customer service that really goes above and beyond. Remembering the gel-polish color combination she loves is a good detail. Offering loyal clients priority booking on new services makes them feel like they are part of an elite group. Every so often surprise her with a small thank you gift for being a loyal client. It could be a discounted service upgrade or a free bottle of her favorite lotion.

4. Really listen: Listen to what clients are saying (and what they aren’t saying) so you can respond to their needs and offer exactly what they’re looking for. Responding to suggestions from clients, even if it’s just a small one, lets them know you really are listening and you care about her business. Just because you love to do the stiletto nails, doesn’t mean your client wants to wear them. Don’t push extreme nail looks on clients who love a natural look. Know who you’re servicing.

5. Be available: There are so many ways to communicate with your clients these days — phone, text, e-mail, newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, blogs. You don’t have to do all of these things. And you certainly don’t need to be available at all hours, but you can create loyalty by making clients feel like they are a part of your salon’s inner circle. Blogging about life at your salon or nail trends gets your clients excited to come in and see what’s going on. Posting specials on Twitter makes clients feel like they are insiders.

Do you have any interesting client loyalty programs? How do you keep your clients loyal? I’d love to hear from you so we can share your tips with other readers! E-mail [email protected].

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