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How to build and improve customer relationships

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How to build and improve customer relationships

Ah, client relationship management. The three words that make any salon owner shiver. The beauty industry is very much a part of the service industry, with all its ups and downs. And although you probably really like most of your customers, especially the loyal patrons, it is crucial to distinguish the sympathy towards a likeable human being from a professional relationship one builds with a client - because those are two entirely different things. You can be the most sociable person out who befriended each and every one of their customers… and your salon may suffer because of that. On the flip side, you may be a reserved introvert and have very healthy relations with clients. What’s the secret, then?

Today, let’s discuss client relationships - what they truly are, how you can build and maintain them, and what mistakes should you avoid if you want to get more returning customers!

What makes a good customer relationship?

Although the answer seems obvious, it’s actually kinda a tricky question. Let’s start with stating loud and clear that a client relationship is created between the client and the business, not between the client and you personally. It’s crucial to understand the difference. Personal emotional investment is not recommended in this case - you are representing your brand first and foremost.

A good customer relationship should be mutually beneficial. On the most fundamental level, you provide a service and they provide payment, but that’s just a transactional side of things. What it’s really about is that the client gains exceptional customer service, while you gain their loyalty, which is much more significant than the simple exchange of goods.

3 steps to building better relationships with clients

1. Get to know your clients

Knowledge is power, especially in the service industry. Remember - you are not providing a haircut, a manicure, or a hot towel shave, you are providing an experience. It isn’t enough to just be a great specialist when it comes to manual skills, but also to excel at customer service. The client can get the most flattering cut in the history of cuts and never come back for more because the rest of the experience simply fell flat. Customers love to feel special when in your chair and the more you know about them, the easier it will be to make the appointment truly memorable.

This is where advanced salon management software such as Booksy comes in handy. Booksy gives you access to different kinds of important data - your clients’ booking history, amongst others. You can clearly see what service is their favourite, which retail products they are most likely to buy and how often they come to visit you. Furthermore, the customer records allow you to (safely) store information on things such as the client’s allergies or likes and dislikes. There is a special section dedicated to notes which will be visible only to you and your employees. If there is something important to keep in mind while providing the service, you put it there and will be reminded of it every time the client comes for another appointment.

2. Adapt communication to meet clients' needs

The way you communicate with your clients tells a lot about your level of professionalism. It’s absolutely crucial that you find the right tone of voice and stick to it. If your business style is more casual, laid-back and friendly, and your target audience is young, you can be more informal, but it’s still important to use polite forms and keep in mind that you are representing a business. A more posh, sophisticated salon that targets older clientele usually requires more formality.

Now, you want to establish clear communication channels so that your clients know how they can reach you and where they can expect messages with important information. Booksy allows you to automate the process of sending bulk messages thanks to the feature called Message Blasts. It also gives you the ability to reach your clients with push notifications (given that they downloaded the Booksy app for clients). Text messages are arguably the most reliable way to reach clients, as you can be almost certain that the message will be seen.

If you want to learn how to cope with problematic messages from your clients, read our article on that topic!

When communicating with clients online:

  • Be straightforward, honest and polite. There can be no room for understatements and misunderstandings.
  • Hold yourself accountable. No matter which channel you used to communicate with the client, you should always act upon your words.
  • Keep the conversation short. Any longer elaborations should be done in person.

Make sure to check our article on the 7 deadly sins of communicating with clients online!

When the client is in your chair:

  • Never engage in heated arguments, but at the same time, you must be rigid and strict when the customer is out of line.
  • Speaking about other clients is an absolute no-no! It’s extremely unprofessional and should be never done under any circumstances.
  • Do not overshare and keep the conversation professional. Keep the focus on the client and their needs. A healthy distance is recommended - remember, they are your customer first and foremost.
  • Try to avoid sensitive topics and whenever possible, steer the conversation towards topics related to the treatment.
  • Try to match the customer’s energy. If they are quiet and seem to enjoy the silence, don’t try to force them to talk. If they seem chatty, allow them to have a nice conversation with you.
  • Listen to their questions, requests ad concerns! That’s the most important part.

We wholeheartedly recommend our take on conversation tips and tricks for salon staff!

3. Be the expert they expect you to be

Establishing your position as an expert is an essential part of building trust with customers. Your clients must feel they can rely on you. If they see that you are either not paying attention to your trade or worse - recommended products and services that are more pricey but not necessarily better-suited for their needs, you can be almost 100% sure you are seeing them for the last time.

Clients want to see a person with passion. Your excellent manual skills and excessive knowledge are valuable to them, even if they are not able to fully understand the scope of it. They want to be able to ask you questions and rest assured that they are in professional hands. They do not want a PMU artist who answers with “I guess so” when asked if microblading is safe for someone with an allergy to carmine. When going to an expert, they expect somebody confident and self-assured. If a question catches you off guard, it’s perfectly fine (and very honourable) to admit it, but you have to show them that you will make an effort to educate yourself.

Embracing your role as a specialist allows you to build trust that translates directly into financial gratification. Once the clients start to perceive you as a guru, they will happily get additional treatments you recommend and buy retail products you hand-picked for them. With great power comes great responsibility, though - make sure all your recommendations are genuine, otherwise, your fall from grace may be sudden and painful!

How to build relationships with clients? A few closing words

As you can see, building relations with customers is a multi-facet process that won’t happen overnight. It’s not a matter of being overwhelmingly friendly and bombarding customers with messages, but keeping a professional stance, being attentive and observant. Sometimes it’s the seemingly smallest thing that really pays off - noting the client’s favourite tea in the customer records and surprising them with a cup of it during the next appointment or recommending a long-lasting hair styling gel (“because I remember you talking about your hair not wanting to keep any styling last time, so I made sure to see whether there is something new on the market that could help”).

Having professional tools really helps with that, so make sure to check out Booksy - the best salon management software available on the market. With communication features, such as Message Blast, advanced customer records and multiple functionalities dedicated to marketing you can really step up your game. Try the system for free today and see how it changes the way you maintain your client relationships!

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