When a loyal client disappears…

A loyal client leaving

You love your regulars (even if some of them get on your nerves from time to time). Loyal customers are every business’s most stable source of income – the more you have, the less concerned you have to be during slow seasons. Moreover, did you know that gaining new clients costs up to six times as much as retaining current ones? Not to mention – you probably have good relations with most of your loyal clients and hence you’re happy to work with them. Regulars are truly a treasure for every hair and beauty business… so it’s no wonder you may be left feeling distressed when you suddenly begin losing them.

What are the reasons for which loyal clients stop making appointments with you? Is there a way to prevent such situations from happening? And most importantly – how can you get your regulars back? Let’s find out!

Why do loyal customers disappear?

There are quite a few possible reasons – some of them have to do with you or the way you run your business and some are completely unrelated and you have no control over them whatsoever. It’s necessary to distinguish these cases, as some of them may be an important sign that you have to change something (in your behaviour or business approach) whereas others should be simply ignored.

It’s outside of your control if the client…

  • Experiences personal problems (financial or otherwise) that affect their spending priorities.
  • Decided that they don’t want to invest in beauty services anymore (temporarily or permanently).
  • Moved out (temporarily or permanently).
  • Had an accident, fell ill or passed away.
  • Decided it’s time for a change and visits another business.

The last one causes the most controversy and sparks discussion between hair and beauty specialists – some even call such situations “cheating”. The truth is – though it really hurts to see your returning clients getting their hair, nails or facials done somewhere else, especially if you have a friendly relationship, you have to put your emotions aside. You don’t own your customers and the harsh truth is – they don’t owe you any kind of loyalty. Imagine the owner of your favourite restaurant getting offended because you’ve decided to get your Sunday dinner somewhere else. Whenever you see your regular “cheating” on you, analyse what may be the reason – but if you can’t see a direct cause, just simply accept the fact that change is the spice of life.

Unfortunately, sometimes regulars disappear because…

  • Your services no longer meet their expectations – either because their needs have increased, your skills fell behind, or both.
  • Your customer service is not up to the industry standards.
  • They witnessed some kind of off-putting behaviour in the salon (eg. a fight between the employees, gossiping, poor hygiene standards, lack of tool sanitation, etc.).
  • You’ve offended them in any way.
  • You’ve messed up the service last time or delivered an underwhelming result.
  • They are fed up with your attitude (eg. you or your employees complain a lot, talk too much, answer the phone when working with clients, etc.).

This sounds very harsh, doesn’t it? The service industry is one that is strongly tied to customer emotions – getting your hair or nails done is not a necessity and most people consider it a treat for themselves. If the experience is butchered by something unpleasant, clients are very likely to walk away. It doesn’t mean that you should be at their whim – you are a service provider, not a servant. Nevertheless, you should be cautious that your attitude, lack of organisation at the salon or tardiness in developing new skills can cost you clients.

How can you stop losing regular clients?

Always begin with checking statistics

Most importantly, you have to analyse your business numbers. Sometimes it may seem like you are losing many of your loyal clients – while in reality, you lost maybe two, but due to the emotional connection, it feels like a lot. In Versum you can generate a client retention report – doing so regularly helps you to see any sudden or gradual changes in the number of returning customers.

Pin down the lost regulars

Don’t worry – you don’t have to do this by hand, Versum will do the work with you thanks to its advanced filtering option. All you have to do is to open your customer records, choose the “search criteria” option and select two filtres:

  • No appointments booked” – select a period you would like to check, eg. six months.
  • “Number of appointments” – set the period to “any” and the number of appointment to what you consider counts as being a returning client, eg. three and up.

Analyse the cases

Now that you have the list of lost regulars right in front of you, analyse each case. Your advanced customer records will be a huge helper – Versum delivers statistics and appointment history for each of your customers, so you can easily check the last time the seemingly lost regular has visited you, who provided that service, and so on.

Now think the cases through. Did something happen during the visits? Do you see any recurring patterns? Maybe your returning clients started disappearing ever since a new salon has opened in your area? Or maybe it’s connected with the introduction of a new employee? Check the latest reviews – is there something your salon is being criticised for? Most importantly – be honest with yourself. Do you consistently provide great customer service? Do you keep up with the latest industry trends? Don’t panic and overthink, just calmly and carefully analyse the possible culprits, keeping in mind that there might not be any.

Improve

If you’ve noticed any recurring pattern when it comes to your disappearing regulars, then investigate the case further. Don’t react hastily – get to know the full story first, especially if it seems like one of your employees may be a problem.

If you cannot find any possible reason for which your regulars may be leaving, don’t torture yourself. Keep a careful eye on your statistics, monitor new cases of lost clients, be more cautious, but don’t let yourself spiral into paranoia. Instead of beating yourself up, pay more attention to your customer service and show your loyal clients more appreciation – for example by introducing a loyalty program.

How can you get your regulars back?

Is it possible for the lost clients to come back to you? Of course – though it deeply depends on the cause of their disappearance. If they have financial troubles, it is very likely that they’ll arrive at your doors as soon as their situation becomes more stable. If they had enough of your poor customer service and now go to a salon where they are treated much better, they are probably lost for good. All the clients who haven’t visited you for a while but have no strong negative feelings towards your business can be retrieved – if you know how.

You can upgrade your Versum system with an add-on called Marketing Automation, thanks to which you can run four powerful marketing campaigns. One of them is called “Stop losing customers” and is dedicated to getting back clients who stopped visiting you. The whole process is automated, so all you have to do is create a message template (once) and fit the dispatch settings to your needs – and then just observe the results. Reminding the client about your services and enticing them with a special offer can truly work wonders.

As a business person working in the service industry, you understand the importance of having as many returning clients as possible. The cost of losing a customer, especially a returning one, is bigger than you may expect and truly painful for numerous reasons. It’s vital to react as a business person as well – instead of getting emotional, check your numbers, analyse the circumstances and finally, reach for clever solutions that can help you get your regulars back!

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