Building Loyalty: Avoiding an 'Open Relationship' With Your Clients

Building Loyalty: Avoiding an 'Open Relationship' With Your Clients

Client Loyalty Doesn't Happen Overnight

The relationship between a hairstylist and their client is unique. Confidant, friend, therapist, and hype-man -- we wear a lot of hats. For most stylists, customer loyalty is a pillar of our business. Clients that keep coming back every 8-12 weeks pay the rent and give us job security, but a recent study conducted by Square revealed that today 1 in 3 consumers are in an "open relationship" with their hair stylist. 

If this is a trend you've noticed in your own chair, don't panic, there's a few key ways you can turn it around. First, let's understand what makes consumers "open up" the relationship. Of those who reported being chair-hoppers the main reasons why they were willing to hop to someone new were:

1. Difficulty in scheduling/booking their appointment

2. Services becoming too expensive

3. Stylist didn't listen to what they asked

4. Personalities don't mesh

5. They moved to a less convenient location

The great news is, most of these issues are completely avoidable. Let's walk through a few tips to build a loyal client base. 

Make Scheduling an Appointment With You Seamless

Are you doing all of your booking yourself? Utilizing a software or virtual assistant tool could help you to provide easy rescheduling, appointment reminders, and online booking options that clients want to see. Over 82% of respondents said they'd return to their previous provider if they offered easy rescheduling and 75% would come back with better communication before or between appointments. 

Sure, there are costs associated with utilizing some softwares, but if this is the issue driving away customers from your chair, you might just earn it back tenfold once they're back in your chair regularly. 

Increase Your Value, So Price Increases Feel Worth It

Increasing our prices is a fact of doing business. As stylists, or margins can be thin and we need to be paid for our time, but when price increases keep coming and the quality of the work stays stagnant-- customers start to look for alternative options. 

At MOB we have a philosophy we call TTE which stands for timing, technique, and entertainment. You need all three to be a great stylist. If you're super fast but your technique is off, or if you're great on timing and technique but offer no entertainment, clients will start to wander. Finding your balance of all three is the sweet spot where clients feel like you respect their time, have fun when you're together, and leave with great hair. 

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Taking a few minutes at the top of an appointment to really establish what the vision is for their hair can go such a long way in building trust. Sure, you may have done six of the same style that day already and have a feel for what they want: but they don't know that. Communicate with your client and listen to what they have to say. 

Finally, Don't Stress The Small Stuff 

Some things we just can't fix. If you're doing your best to listen, engage, and entertain and the client still feels it's not a personality fit? Let them go. If you need to move your chair to a location that is a better fit for your lifestyle and that is too far for a few clients, a few more will now be in proximity to you. If you're doing everything else right, the clients will come and these small setbacks won't take the wind out from under you. 

Most Clients Are Still Loyal To Their Stylist

And while we're focusing on how to retain the chair-hoppers, we'd be remiss not to point out just how many clients report being in a committed relationship with their hairstylist. 67% are in it for the long haul, and 68% have been with their stylist for over 3 years. What keeps them coming back each time? 

1. They love the way their stylists cut or color their hair

2. They look forward to catching up with their stylist

3. They feel its a good price

4. They have an easy booking experience

So much of the joy in styling hair is in the relationships we build with our long-standing clients. Getting to see someone go through major life events, styling their hair for their wedding, watching them welcome children or grandchildren. It's a special bond, but not one that comes without putting in a bit of hard work. 

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