Befriending salon clients – more harm than help?
Every day, salon owners and staff work to create a positive atmosphere at their workplace by having well-kept workstations, bright colorful lights and playing relaxing or upbeat music. Being kind and understanding with clients also plays a vital role in maintaining a feel-good climate – which turns one-time customers into returning regulars. However, what happens when such loyal clients become your friends?
From client to companion
Clients become friends of the hair salon for many reasons – they trust the business and the staff, they feel welcome when they enter your salon and most importantly, they do not feel like just another number. Such customers value your kindness and commitment to treating every clients’ needs individually. They let their friends and family know about your great work, earning you more customers – as a thank you gift, you may have given them a discount here and there, making this a very beneficial friendship. What can possibly go wrong?
Expectations vs reality
Your customers are the perfect brand promoters – they flaunt their new look wherever they go, and when they are asked about it, your customers naturally recommend your business. A friend of the salon might have close ties with the business and may privately know or be family to the salon owner and staff. Additionally, they might have worked their way to this spot by visiting and promoting the business on a number of occasions. Not every client is considered a friend of the business and for those that are, sometimes things can go astray as they may begin to take advantage of their position. You expect them to be loyal to your business and help it grow, but this is not always the case.
Taking advantage of the business
Being a close friend of the salon team is, by all means, a privilege, which comes with its fair share of benefits. The business may choose to offer you an attractive discount, free products, or appointment availability even after hours. In return, the team asks to promote the business and help it grow. However, many close clients that go rogue take advantage of it, asking for better discounts on products or services. Salons often give in to their clients’ desires from the fear of losing them.
In some cases, hair salon owners and staff provide access to their private contact information as a sign of trust to their friends, allowing them to book a visit directly with that employee and not through a receptionist. This is great for clients that honor your decision and book with you privately during reasonable times, but for those that do not, things can get hectic. Clients that take advantage of this may call at ridiculous times for bookings, ask for discounts, or worst of all, share your private number with their friends. Instead of having new clients book with the receptionist or via online booking, potential clients you have never even met are ringing in after hours. Sure, new customers are great, but not when they turn your private phone into a booking hotline.
You and your team do not want to come off as rude or client-deprived, so more often than not, beauty businesses give clients what they want. However, with Versum, you have the tools to get the most out of your closest customers.
Versum hair salon software enables to manage their clients more effectively. For friends and family of the business, add them to your customer group appropriately named “friends and family”. Let these clients know that you appreciate their business and the promoting they do for your salon. Ever so often, send a text message to everyone in this group and include a unique discount or a free product to be claimed at the salon – they will love this kind gesture. If they ask for a better discount, kindly ask them to recommend the business to friends and family.
Each client file shows the number of new customers that have come from that client’s recommendation. With these numbers, the salon owner can then decide on an appropriate discount.
Additionally, you should recommend that they join your loyalty program and encourage them to promote your business. For every recommendation or product/service purchased, they will gain points which they can use to pick up prizes at the salon. Anything from a hot air balloon ride to a discounted pack of services and discount will suffice.
As far as providing your personal contact information, emphasise that you will not take bookings after hours and invite clients to book their appointments via your online booking page. Make sure that you let friends know that under no circumstances should your information be shared with other persons.
All too often salon owners and staff decide not to confront befriended salon clients and family that take advantage of the business from the fear of losing a precious customer and friend. Instead of stressing out about this, take back the reins of your business with the help of Versum!