Customer Acquisition is Silver; Customer Retention is Gold
By Amber - on April 06, 2017
We believe that if your client base already extends over several hundred customers, it is time to shift your focus away from new client outreach. This is the moment to concentrate on first time customer retention instead. If you achieve an increase of this indicator by 2 per cent, it has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10 per cent. A great effect! So, what exactly is "first time client retention"?
First time customer retention is the percentage of new customers, on the first visit, that return for a second visit. This has to happen within a specific period, usually 90 days. To turn a new customer into a repeat customer: this is the undisputed growth engine of nearly every kind of business.
How to turn a new customer into a regular
We share some proven ways to improve your first time client retention. Want to start with (one of these) strategies? Always remember to collect and use as much information about your customers as possible. This goes beyond initial contact and the first transaction. You want to sell more than just a service; you are building a relationship! The more information you amass, the more opportunities you have to send personal offers.
Tip 1: A good first impression
Scheduling an appointment is the first direct contact a customer has with your salon. This can be done by phone, but online is becoming the norm nowadays. Therefore, it all starts with the look of your website and Facebook page. Needless to say, the possibility to book an appointment online is key here.
Have you ever clicked away from a website because it was unclear or confusing? The same is true of asking customers to schedule an appointment via your old-school contact form. If, on the other hand, customers can view your availability online and schedule the appointment themselves in the free slot that suits them most, this creates a professional and positive first impression.
Then, if the customer receives an instant appointment confirmation and a reminder the day before, you have put your professional stamp on the interaction. Your customer can look forward to the first appointment in your salon!
Tip 2: An unforgettable experience
Many salons find that delivering on expectations is the best way to retain new customers. So, how do you make the customer feel welcome?
A good experience begins with greeting the customer and providing consistently great service. You will be surprised how quickly new customers will walk away from you if they do not feel as pampered as your other clients.
Make sure you know what your customers need - even better than themselves! This is done by collecting personal information, e.g. with a sign-up form. In addition, take a minute after checkout to jot down thoughts and details on the appointment. For example, what you did, what products you used, or even how the customer likes her coffee. These notes will make the next appointment flow smoothly and comfortably, and the customer will be pleasantly surprised that you 'remember'! ;-)
Tip 3: Schedule a follow-up appointment
Don’t be afraid to ask the customer if you should schedule a follow-up appointment. Don’t see it as intrusive but as thoughtful. For example, after a colour treatment, you naturally want your client to maintain the beautiful new colour. So why hesitate to invite her back for a repeat?
In case you don’t find the time or opportunity for a post-appointment chat, or you are more comfortable pitching beauty treatments with visual aids, no problem! You can check out our blog with tricks for increasing sales through email newsletters.
Tip 4: Understanding customer satisfaction
Suppose that 40 per cent of your new customers come back for a follow-up. That means you made your best effort for 60 per cent of new customers, yet you never see them again. Could it be that new customers experienced your services differently than you thought? Think of a restaurant visit, for example. The food was or delicious, but the service was poor and the wait was long. What is the chance you return if there are plenty of other eateries around?
Improve what can be improved and maintain a strong team with motivated employees. Keep everyone on their toes by asking customers for feedback and active evaluation of your services. With Salonized, you can send an automatic feedback request after the appointment, which allows willing customers to share their thoughts. That way you can find out whether the room was too hot or too cold, there was too much banter during the relaxing massage, or the waiting time was disappointing.
Tip 5: Work on the relationship, even after the customer leaves your doorstep
You give your best to pamper every customer and make them feel special while they are at your salon. But how can you keep building that bond after the client has left? Sending newsletters is a simple, effective, and personal way to stay in touch with your customers. The occasional newsletter in the customer's inbox is enough to gently remind them to book a new appointment. Check out these tips to create the perfect newsletter for your salon in a few steps.
Even better, get smart and start running targeted marketing campaigns. Salonized salon software lets you filter out the new customers from your total base and lets you send them personalised communications. For example, send a special offer for the treatment your customer had the first time, or make them aware of other procedures which could benefit them based on the previous work you did for them.
Which of the above tips do you employ already? In other words, are you working to increase first time client retention yet?