This post is for a very talented and determined young salon owner who is a client of mine. Raymond, thank you for the idea.

“We’ve done the obvious,” he said to me, “but what do I need to do to make our salon experience stand out? How can I make our customer experience exceptional? Be something special.”

 

Your customer experience will make or break your salon business

Today I’m looking at how to generate new and imaginative ideas to improve the salon experience you offer your clients.

Salon customer service levels are continually improving. What was ‘wow’ two years ago is now old hat. Our clients take it for granted.

Coming up with a constant supply of fresh new ideas to make your hair or beauty experience better than your competitor is what ensures your salon business succeeds.

And in case you need any more convincing about the importance of the customer’s experience take a look at these stats:

  • 60% of customers often or always will pay more for a better experience (Harris Interactive Report)
  • 86% stopped doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience
  • 89% of consumers began using a competitor following a poor customer experience

Point made?

I don’t think I need say more.

 

Here are 4 ways to come up with some radical new ways to woo your salon clients:

1. Look at your customer’s experience from the outside in

We’re more creative when we’re thinking about other people’s problems than thinking about our own.

When we’re thinking about new customer service angles in our own hair or beauty business, we tend to fall back onto familiar ground, look for patterns that worked for us before, and rely on our past norms and assumptions.

Yet, when we look at someone else’s situation we are much more likely to approach it with an open mind. We come to it fresh. How many times have you heard yourself say, “If that were my business I’d do…”

It’s because we’re not bogged down by our past business experiences, worries and prejudices. We’re not frightened of failure, or of looking foolish – because it’s not our business.

Thus freed up, our brains become more creative, innovative, even radical.

#MarketingTip: Exploit the way your mind works and trick it into working more creatively for you. When thinking about creating an exceptional customer experience in your salon business, ask yourself, “how would xxxxx [insert your favourite hair or beauty hero or entrepreneur here] see it? How would they improve my salon’s customer service?”

 

2. Brilliant client experiences start… elsewhere

Look outside the hair and beauty industry for brilliant customer experience inspiration.

The hospitality sector has much in common with our industry and makes a good place to start.

It isn’t always the ones with the flashy rooms and the scrummiest food that make the headlines. You only have to dive into TripAdvisor to understand it’s typically the total customer experience that drives reviewers to rave, or to rant.

So indulge in a spot of restaurant research – there are worse ways of spending an evening. Pick one. Then really scrutinize your experience.

How did you first discover them? Online review, food critic, their website or on social media? Whichever it was, focus on that first impression. Pull it apart. What are they doing that you could do in your salon?

Now move onto the booking. What exactly made you feel great/indifferent about the experience?

I’ll leave you to enjoy your meal. Just remember, the devil is in the detail.

 

3. Is your salon trapped in a dead end?

Many of us are guilty of creating cul-de-sacs in our salons and spas.

Business ‘full stops’ I call them. We’ve gone so far down a route we don’t feel we can turn back.

You need to look beyond these customer care cul-de-sacs. But it is difficult. We’re hemmed in by what we see around us, the time we’ve already invested and our perceptions of the world.

So my third tip is: Make time to be creative.

This tip doesn’t happen in the hustle and bustle of the salon, but in the quiet time you make.

It’s difficult to just sit and stare and think. But if you want to take your salon customer care to the next level you’d be wise to make this time.

 

4. Learn from the best in the hair and beauty business

Having given your mind its creative free rein you’ve hopefully hatched some great ideas for improving your client’s salon experience.

Now, and only now, see what others in the hair and beauty business are doing to create something special for their clients. Combine your exciting new ideas with the best in our industry.

I’m often surprised how rarely salon and spa owners do mystery shops. I’m in and out of hair and beauty businesses all day – they are my greatest source of insights and learning.

Book in as a client (incognito, of course) at the best business-orientated  successful salon you can find. It’s well-worth your investment of time and money. Don’t skimp – go to the best.

Then watch, listen and look. Ask discreet questions. And learn.

 

Standing out from the crowd is hard

When you’re chasing your tail, running your salon business, it’s often difficult to see the wood from the trees.

Just staying up with the pack is headache. Being different and being exceptional takes what can seem like superhuman effort. Yet if you want your hair or beauty salon to grow you need to make finding out what your customer wants, and then giving it to them, the goal of your entire operation.