3 things you do every day that actually hurt your salon

Good salon practices

You are probably very confused right now. Why in the world would you do things that negatively affect your business? You are an experienced salon owner, there is no way that you are sabotaging yourself. After all, your processes are tried and true, many of them you have learned from successful brand owners and they are pretty much common knowledge among specialists in your industry. Things like that cannot be hurtful. Right?

When we are used to doing things a certain way, we become desensitised to their negative impact, as we are prone to looking for faults in everything but our “tried and true” processes. However, in reality, there are little things that are fully foolproof and not subject to change – especially in the realms of business management. What might have been a great strategy a decade ago can now be completely irrelevant. It might also be a great strategy but not especially fitting for the type of business you run. Furthermore, not all common practices were a good idea to begin with! Let’s take a look at 3 common practices that may be hurting your salon – and establish better alternatives.

1. Storing data in a paper notebook

This one seems like such a natural thing. Many hair and beauty specialists are used to writing down information regarding their customers, noting appointments and planning schedules in a notebook they store somewhere around the reception area. Usually, it’s the salon owner, managers and receptionists who have access to it, but let’s be real – other staff members are also eyeing it. It’s been like that for years now, why would it be such a problem?

Setting aside the fact that it is simply very inconvenient, let’s imagine a situation in which something bad happens to this notebook – it gets lost, destroyed (all it takes is an overturned cup of coffee!) or worse, stolen. What happens then? In short – absolute chaos. You don’t have your schedule, no way to contact clients and have just lost years worth of information. But that’s not all – if this notebook falls into the wrong hands, your competition may start contacting your customers… and they will be very unhappy that their data got leaked. So you are not only risking losing them to another salon, but also paying some fat fees for a data breach! And believe us – once it becomes known that your salon failed at being GDPR-compliant, you will get a lot of bad press. Legal issues are painful, but the lost reputation is even worse.

What can you do instead?

Storing your data in a digital form is always the right answer. Versum delivers a built-in appointment book, work schedules and customer data section. All the sensitive information is stored as safely as possible, with the help of features such as access restriction, which limits select staff members from seeing and editing client records. You have full control over the access levels, giving your managers and receptionist different capabilities than your other employees. Regular staff members can only see their own schedule and information that is necessary for providing the service. Versum is 100% compliant with the personal data protection standards and all of our procedures are subject to regular third-party audits. Furthermore, even if something happens to your device, your data is still safely stored on our servers, with backups just in case. You can rest assured that nothing bad will happen. Not to even mention how much easier it is to check your schedule from any device that connects to the Internet, be able to store even the most detailed customer cards without wasting any physical space and have a digital system that keeps careful watch over casual mistakes such as double-bookings!

Tip: Now you can test drive Versum for 14 days absolutely free – with no obligations, contracts or credit cards required. Start your trial today!

2. Offering your services via couponing marketplaces

Becoming a merchant on any marketplace comes with pros and cons – however, there are types of marketplaces that bring you mostly pros or mostly cons. The good ones are able to balance the benefits they provide for individual clients and for business owners, leading to a healthy situation in which all parties win. Unfortunately, couponing marketplaces, such as Groupon, heavily favour individual clients over merchants – and such a situation oftentimes hurts business owners in the long run.

Why is that happening? First of all, such marketplaces force you to significantly lower your standard prices in order for the offer to be attractive. This may bring you a few clients… but usually they are not the type of customers you want. In most cases, people use couponing marketplaces to find a good deal. They will not become your loyal patrons – next time, they will simply search for another good deal somewhere else. This way, you will end up with a few services sold underpriced and no new returning customers. Furthermore, your existing loyal clients may start side-eyeing you, as you just offered a better deal to some new people rather than to patrons who have been supporting your business for years. It’s really not a good look. Finally, offering your services on couponing marketplaces may make your salon look cheap – some people actively avoid visiting such businesses, as they assume they only care for quick earnings and are not of the best quality.

What can you do instead?

More often than not, hair and beauty specialists focus too much on the concept of getting new clients, while the true success lies in boosting the loyalty of the current ones. Getting your existing clients to visit you more often brings you a myriad of benefits. Firstly, they know your salon, so they are more likely to try a wide range of services, including the more expensive ones. Secondly, as they already appreciate your expertise, they are also more likely to purchase some retail products. Thirdly, they are your best spokespeople that will happily recommend you to their friends and family. Finally, they usually are the most pleasant people to work with – you know what you can expect from them and sometimes they may have become your close friends.

This is why you should consider launching a salon loyalty program. It will be super easy to do it with our software! Versum’s Loyalty Program add-on is based on the idea of participants accumulating loyalty points, which can be redeemed for rewards. It not only encourages your clients to visit you regularly but also to keep trying new services and purchasing your retail products. With such a loyalty program, you do not have to keep on discounting (which usually leads to financial losses) – it’s quite the opposite, really! Your clients feel special and you get more revenue – it’s the ultimate win-win situation. Versum’s Loyalty Program add-on is fully automated and gives you an opportunity to promote any service you want by adding them to your list of rewards. This way, it also serves as a great marketing tool, so you feed two birds with one scone.

3. Discounting

Similarly to engaging in couponing marketplaces, discounting seems like a beneficial marketing strategy at first glance, but in the long run, can bring more harm than good. Why is that?

It all boils down to our psychological reactions. Once a product or service gets discounted, we automatically assume that the discounted price is its real worth. It may not happen initially – for example, a one-time promotion regarding your best-selling service may work rather well – however, once the service gets discounted at least twice, it no longer seems as valuable as it should. The situation gets worse if the discount is big – a balayage or lash extensions that are priced at -50% seem very, very suspicious.

What happens next is a shift in your target audience – your loyal patrons start questioning the quality of your services (“Do they have financial troubles? And if so, have they lowered product quality and cut performance costs?”) and you start drawing deal-hunters to your business. If you read the paragraph regarding couponing marketplaces you already know why this is a bad sign and a path to nowhere.

If you discount a lot, you can start noticing that your salon becomes very quiet in periods when you are not running any special offers. It happens because you are encouraging a discount culture – customers are waiting for sales and are no longer willing to pay the normal price. It’s a very unhealthy situation and one you should avoid at all costs.

What can you do instead?

The answer is simple – if you don’t want your services to lose value in your clients’ eyes, add more value and stop taking it away. Instead of discounting your famous highlights, promote an offer in which you pair them with a nourishing treatment. Don’t cut off the price of your manicure, pair it with a free hand massage and get the word out. Add a small “try on” set of products to a facial. This way you make your offers tempting, and clients still pay the full price and are not getting the impression that the regular price is not worth it anymore.

The additional benefit is that once your clients see how fantastic your nourishing treatments, hand massages or retail products are, they may consider getting them outside the special offer as well. However, remember to not go overboard with such promotions – you can still fall into the trap of doing them too often and offering “extras” of too much value, which will bring you losses. Balance is the key!

Are you guilty of engaging in one (or even all) of these practices? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to start implementing more profitable ideas. Begin with switching from a paper notebook to a digital salon management system – it only goes up from there, as such software will help you out with planning your new processes and successful marketing campaigns. Versum delivers a full stack of performance statistics (including detailed financial reports), a digital appointment book, automated communication features and much, much more. Try it out and see for yourself how much your beauty business can improve!

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