How to improve your salon’s client retention (instantly)

Ever wondered who make the most loyal clients?

Men or women?

It’s an interesting question.

I guess most of us would say women tend to be more dependable and easier to retain. In fact, research reveals that men and women are loyal to their stylist or therapist in different ways.

Understand these subtle differences you can improve your client loyalty rates quickly and cheaply.

In a nutshell:

  • women tend to be loyal to their stylist or therapist, while men are loyal to the salon itself.
  • women attach greater importance to individual relationships, while men relate better to groups and organisations – hence the pull of the golf club.

A female client is more likely to want a personal, one-to-one relationship with her stylist or therapist, and if that person moves salon she is more likely to move with her ‘trusted advisor’.

In contrast, men tend to be more comfortable staying detached from any one individual and are content with a more anonymous relationship with the salon itself. They still expect great service and good technical skills but are happier to move between stylists or therapists in the salon.

Overall this tends to make men the more loyal salon clients.


Practical ideas to perk up your retention rates

Here’s how to make these differences work for your hair or beauty business:

1. Move men, not women

If you have to move clients around due to a stylist/therapist’s sickness or holiday then move the men rather than the women, if possible.

Guys are less likely to feel uncomfortable with a different team member and not feel ‘put out’, so are more likely to return.


2. An easy way to boost referral rates

Recommend a Friend cards are likely to get best results when handed out to women clients by their personal stylist or therapist.

Ditto for requests for online and social media reviews.

Men, on the other hand, generally respond better to a request to refer or review the salon itself, rather than an individual stylist/therapist. So getting your receptionist to ask for a general salon referral may work best here.


3. We care

The research confirmed, as I think we’d all guess, that personalised birthday greetings are likely to score more highly with women and help build that stronger relationship.

For your top 20% of female clients why not go the extra mile and send a card by snail mail rather than an email? It shows you really care and have taken some trouble, which as the research confirms, women respond well to.

A card through the post (rather than a text or an email) also looks less blatantly commercial, and again as the study highlighted, we women are much better at detecting insincerity than men.


4. A cunning back-up plan

This practical idea works well in hair salons but could also be adapted for certain treatments at beauty salons.

Reduce the risk of losing a female client if a stylist moves on by encouraging her to form a relationship with two stylists.

Here’s how:

The ‘reserve’ stylist, Hannah, can be brought into the client consultation by the usual stylist suggesting, “I really value Hannah’s opinion and I’d like to get her thoughts on…”

Thereafter, the ‘reserve’ can build rapport with a quick ‘hair’ chat or wash their hair without the client feeling they are being passed around.

If a client does move on then sending a personal, friendly and understanding message from the stylist (from the salon email address, of course) will work better for a woman. Tell her you genuinely are sorry the relationship has been lost, you value her and miss seeing her in the salon.

Just don’t send an impersonal £x off salon voucher to a woman – but that marketing approach might just work beautifully for a man!

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