The wow factor. That’s what we all want, don’t we? Our clients think that what we do is ‘wow’. That we are the best. That we deliver the most incredible experience every single time they walk through our doors. And isn’t that an exciting concept? I mean after all. We are artists. We are healers. We are therapists. We are stylists. We often know our clients better than they know themselves. And yet, on occasion, we can overlook the simplest of things that have the biggest impact. 

Hollie Power; Co-founder of Salonology, and Timely Live host, discusses ways to elevate the client experience. Watch now to learn more!     

When our clients choose to walk through our doors, they are looking to have an experience. Not a haircut, a nail file, or a massage. An experience. And, an experience is what we should be delivering time and time again.

Sometimes however, as business owners, we get distracted. We get distracted by numbers and profits and sales and socials and staff and orders and the 2,387 things we have to do.

So today let’s pause all that stuff, just for a moment. Because without a quality customer experience, we don’t attract and retain quality customers. And without quality customers, we don’t have a quality business.

Details, details, details 

The devil is in the details they say. Our businesses are not solely about the service we provide. Our customer experience begins the very first time they hear about us or see us. Whether that’s through a review, recommendation, advert, walking by… we need their experience to be good from that very first moment, so they start their journey strong.

So everything matters here – your website and how easy it is to use. Your booking system, call system, consultation system. These are all parts of the journey your clients have seen before they’ve even walked through the door. And when they DO walk through the door – what do they see? Empty cups? Open bottles of polish? Other client’s forms? Staff chatting?

Or do they see a smiling team member? Clean and tidy surfaces? A welcoming space?

Seeing your environment through your clients’ eyes will help you to reassess what they might see. Try stepping outside and walking in and critiquing everything you see that doesn’t fit your brand or your vibe. These details will impact how the client sees your business.

It really isn’t about the money

A great customer experience isn’t about spending tons of money. It’s about considering their journey and making it special. We can get caught up in thinking we have to buy the most expensive flashy coffee machines or have the most expensive products in store. Whilst these things may be great, if the coffee is chucked onto the table beside you with a sneer and the products are used without the intention they were created with, they will have no positive impact.

Investing energy into the little touches in your business, over investing money into the big things, will actually pay dividends. I want you to imagine the friend that buys you something expensive but meaningless for your birthday vs the friend who spends hours making you something you’ll love. Honestly, which one means more?

The little things add up

It’s the small things in business that make a difference. The tiny little wows that build up to blow your client’s minds. 

One of our biggest money makers in my business was hen days. With a large lounge that could accommodate 30 people, and 9 rooms, we were the go-to place for groups of girls looking to enjoy a hen or bachelorette experience. These visitors had treatments, a private lounge, Champagne, sharing platters, a coffee bar, an iPhone dock, day beds, dressing gowns and more. But guess what they always said was amazing? A sign at the door, with a welcome message and their name. Literally a piece of printed paper clipped into a sign holder. The little things have the biggest impact.

Here are some ideas; 

  • On your booking system write notes about your client beyond the technical ones. Write about their holidays, family names, stories, news. So, you can always reference it.
  • Send cute things in the post. If you have a regular client who’s having a bad time, or a challenge, or a special birthday, pop a little something in the post to them.
  • Reciprocate loyalty. We expect loyalty from our clients, but are we showing loyalty back? What could you do to show your regulars you really care? Try calling them on their birthday. Give them a ‘salon birthday’ to celebrate their annual anniversary of their first visit.
  • Personalise anything you can. Little tags, chalk boards, mugs, gifts, packages.

Suspended reality 

Do we know a salon must be mopped? Yes. Do we want to see the mop? No. When we went through our last 18 months of businesses opening and closing, our industry was considered non-essential. Now, I’d argue with that, because me with bad roots is not making anyone’s day better – but, the long and short of it is, salons are non-essential businesses and will therefore often be considered a luxury experience by some. That means that when a client walks through the door, they are worthy of a suspended reality.

Coming to the salon is an ‘escape’ for many. Which means they want to walk in and feel cared for, looked after, and in a hideaway, albeit temporarily. That means that the things that we and our teams must do in the background to make that all work effortlessly should remain just that. In the background. The cleaning, the admin, the stock taking, the staff meetings – they must happen to make a business work. But the guests shouldn’t see it.

What’s the secret behind the client’s questions? We all like to have a giggle about client’s questions, don’t we? Can I have my hair cut without losing any length? Can I stay fully dressed for my full body massage? Often, there is a reason the question goes deeper than what we first see. A client asking to not lose any length may be just reinforcing how much they like their hair long. A client asking about massage may not have had a massage before and isn’t really sure of the protocol. The important thing here is to validate each and every question, with a kind and considerate answer.

Are they awkward, or are they teaching?

I went into a restaurant the other day and no one came to greet us. We stood awkwardly at the door. We eventually flagged down a waitress and asked her if we could have a table. “Er, yeah” she shrugged “you can just come in and sit down anywhere”. Then another couple walked in and waited awkwardly also. Same thing. It wasn’t at all clear what we should do. And in the space of 5 minutes, both us and this other couple had walked in, planning to give business to the restaurant, and they’d made the first impression poor. We weren’t being awkward by not taking a table. We were being respectful. I wonder how many people felt the same? If they’d learned from this, they could have simply popped up a sign that said “please take a seat at a free table, and team members will be with you shortly”. Such a simple solution.

So, what can we learn from our customers? They may have thought ‘omg those people were so awkward hovering at the door’. Or they could have thought ‘ooooh this would make everyone’s life easier!’. So, what is consistently showing up with your visitors? Are they all feeding back about one thing – maybe you need to change it?

The most important thing to remember is we should always be aware that our customers are choosing to come to us. Not obligated to. If we can consistently create an experience that delivers time and time again, we will see them walking through our door for as long as we want them to.