Who owns the client? Is it the business owner, or the staff member providing services? It’s been a topic of debate for as long as we can remember. At the end of the day the client will decide and it actually doesn’t matter as much as you’d think. There’s a new twist to this topic though. In our increasingly digital world, some salon software companies are entering the race to own your client relationships.

Not another “who owns the client” article!

As difficult as the topic can be, the business owner and staff member can at least have control over the conversation. Whether the client stays with the salon or the stylist, it’s their overall experience that matters, and their willingness to pay for the quality of service. As the business owner, you get to agree with your staff member who ‘owns the clients’ upfront. There are measures you can put in place, from staff contracts to tracking staff activity that help you retain clients after a staff member leaves.

In our increasingly digital world there is a new challenger to your client relationships, where you don’t have the same control. Some salon software companies are introducing your clients to their marketplace. A marketplace is an online directory of businesses similar to yours. Clients can use the marketplace to book and maintain a relationship with you, or just as easily find and book elsewhere. Sometimes the marketplace charges you a fee for all online bookings, even when your regular clients book online.

This is bad for your business. You need a solid base of regular customers in order to give you certainty in your income. Running a salon/spa/clinic is hard and the margins are narrow enough as it is. We’ve been talking to business owners who don’t want the potential of losing clients via the marketplace. And they also don’t want to be paying a fee every time one of their clients books online;

Systems are there to support you, but they’re not the ones doing the hard work. Timely’s pricing is honest and clean, we know what we’re paying every month.

– Kyri, Russell’s Barbers UK

Running a service business like a salon, spa or clinic is hard. Margins can be brutal after rent, product, equipment, wages, marketing, the list goes on! The difference between surviving or thriving can be down to a game of inches. A few percentage points on your retention rate. A few dollars on your average client spend. 

While you’re working your butt off to provide a great client experience and try to make a profit, you don’t need your salon software company building a relationship directly with your client and helping them find other ways to spend their money. 

At Timely we decided from the very start that we wouldn’t build a marketplace. Instead we want to empower you to build great client relationships. We understand that the key to success in your business is to form long term, strong client relationships. Regular, loyal clients value the amazing service you provide them over time. Their willingness to pay for your work increases as your relationship builds. 

When you use Timely, we aren’t visible to your client. We don’t create a relationship with them. They are your clients. You can sleep easy at night knowing that we’re not selling them other services.  

So does the salon or the stylist own the client? It doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day the client will decide this for themselves. As long as the client experience is amazing we can drive loyalty, command the price for treatments that they deserve and make both owners and stylists wealthy and successful. If we give the client relationships away to marketplaces then we create a race to the bottom for our whole industry.

If your software company is operating a marketplace and you’re concerned about protecting your client relationships, have a chat to my team. We charge a fixed monthly fee for Timely, our prices are up front and transparent. We don’t take a fee for your clients booking online. We don’t introduce our brand to your clients. We don’t market other services to them. We can switch your data over for free and we’d love to work with you.