10 Main Culprits of Your Salon Business Losing Clients
Most salons lose clients for all the same reasons. We’ve made sure to round up all the major ones so you can learn on mistakes of others and do better.
In this article, you will find the common issues beauty salon face, how you can overcome or omit them, as well as some useful tips and lifehacks.
1. Inaccurately defined target audience
Case: A downtown salon dazzled with advertisements of trendy haircuts, creative hair colors, and nail designs. The owner of this salon spent a fortune on the campaign, but all in vain. Most of the beauty salon clients they did manage to attract were accidental.
What’s the issue? When the salon installed salon management software and analyzed the client database, they found out that their actual clients were nowhere near the advertising target. The core clientele was women in their early- to mid-30s, office workers, and more interested in office style and express services. Targeting the wrong audience with ads is a common mistake that can cost you a lot of money and clients.
Solution: The salon switched focus to express services: lunch-break cosmetic treatments, quick-fix manicures, and easy hairstyles. They also changed the printed ads to muted colored leaflets, that their target audience is more likely to find trustworthy. This way, they got a steady flow of clients.
Tip: Do your homework before opening a salon. Learn the market, the audience and competitors, and don’t stop learning who and what your clients are.
2. Lack of customer service standards
Case: Salon ‘B’ opened down the street from salon ‘A’. Both salons have relatively the same prices, but a lot of clients switched from A to B.
What’s the issue? Customer service. Administrators who wouldn’t pay attention to clients, professionals who would leave clients unattended to go out for smoke breaks — there were no rules or regulations in salon ‘A’. But clients like to be treated well, and if they have an alternative, they won’t hesitate to go to another salon that takes better care of its clients.
Solution: The owner introduced clear instructions on what to do and, most importantly, how to do it. The instructions also defined what kind of behavior will not be tolerated. The owner provided training and monitored that employees heed the instructions. Increasing the quality of customer service helped retain beauty salon clients and increase sales.
Tip: Defining the standards is not enough, you should constantly monitor employee performance and make sure that the standards are followed. Even small mistakes can negatively influence your sales and income.
3. Insufficiently trained administrators
Case: Out of 20 client calls a day, only 3-4 of them resulted in appointments.
What’s the issue? A typical phone call sounded like this: “Hello. Yep, that’s our salon. Yep, we do this treatment. It $40. Goodbye.” Sounds more like a help desk than a salon administrator. An administrator should appeal to clients: consult them and find the best solution, so they can choose when they come, not if.
Solution: The administrator was given scripts — step-by-step phone call scenarios for any occasion. Scripts take into account any possible turn of events and reactions. Now, if a client asks about facials, they get a full answer about the kinds of facials they can get, the price, and an invitation, “You should come in for a free consult from our esthetician. They can recommend you a facial will be more suited for your skin type and concerns.” The salon owner also started monitoring phone calls to see if there are any mistakes that can be corrected. As a result, the number of appointment bookings from potential clients increased significantly.
Tip: The person who greets your clients on the phone or in person should be friendly, polite and care about the clients’ comfort and that they get an accurate consultation. But even when you train and hire a person like that, you should still monitor and evaluate their performance.
4. Employees with low expertise
Case: A client asked for a haircut “like in the photo”, but the stylist overestimated their skills. The resulting haircut left much to be desired and the clients went to another salon to fix it.
What was the issue? Quality of services is your business card. Would you return to a stylist who did an awful job? Most likely not, if you have other options. Of course, it’s not so easy to find great professionals, but if you don’t try to build a strong team, the number of your lost clients will increase. Looking for high-end professionals is not necessary either. You can train a student into a star employee with the right mentoring and approach.
Solution: Credentials and portfolio are great, but it’s better to see the people you are about to hire in action. It’s also good to have different prices for students and pros, so clients know when they are getting a haircut from a stylist in training. This also helps when a student makes a mistake — they can ask for help from a pro stylist and remedy the situation right away. Later, they can analyze the mistake with their mentor and learn how to not repeat it.
Tip: Try to make room in your budget for regular seminars, conferences, exhibitions, and workshops. The beauty industry is developing as fast as any other — new technologies, materials, and equipment that work better than the previous ones — your professionals should know all about them.
5. No appointment reminder notifications
Case: An aesthetic beauty clinic was always booked but many clients didn’t turn up for their appointments.
What’s the issue? The main one is that people just forget. A client could have a ton of errands to run or mix up the dates and when they realize they had an appointment it’s usually too late. Because of that, the salon loses not only revenue but also the possibility to take in another client within that hour.
Solution: Automatic SMS reminders. It’s as easy as that, just notify the client about an upcoming appointment. Now, even if a client will call to change the time and date or cancel, the administrator gets an opportunity to fit in another client at that time.
Lifehack for your salon: With online booking and SMS-notifications capabilities, you can offer clients to make an appointment for a repeat treatment right away, even if it is expected in a month time. In practice, it’s a great way to retain clients in a salon.
6. Unprofessional consultations
Case: A beauty salon client complained about dry ends while having her hair done. The stylist said she could ask the administrator about the hair products they sell. But the administrator had no idea what product to recommend and started reading out the labels. As a result, the product that she did purchase didn’t help at all — it was money wasted and she was so disappointed with the salon.
What’s the issue? Salon employees had no motivation to sell products. They didn’t even know anything about the available products, nor did they try to hide it in front of the client.
Solution: This case called for a complex approach. The owner organized training for employees to learn about all the products the salon uses and sells. Employees were also taught how to present them to the clients and help them choose the most suitable one. All products on the display were also used in work, so clients could test how good they are in action. Using the Beauty Pro salon management system, the salon set up a clear bonus system for recommendations and sales.
Tip: Actively forcing your products upon clients is not any better than the lack of knowledge thereof. The middle way between no sales and imposing is consulting from the point of view of an expert. This method will help you build a strong relationship with clients.
7. No online booking
Case: A woman wanted to make an appointment for a bikini wax. It was her lunch break and she had a business card of one of the local salons but it only had a phone number on it. The last thing she wanted was to make an appointment for a bikini wax in front of her peers! So she found a salon on the Internet that offered online booking.
What’s the issue? Ideally, anybody should be able to make an appointment at any time of the day, using the most convenient option. If the owner didn’t cover every single option, they lose a part of potential clientele — you can’t always use a phone. Internet, on the other hand, is available practically at any given moment, thanks to smartphones and mobile devices. According to the latest statistics, a typical user spends up to 6 hours online on average.
Solution: The salon added more communication channels. Aside from the stationary phone number, they added several mobile numbers (one for each popular provider), WhatsApp, and a Facebook account where they also added an online booking app that works 24/7.
Lifehack for your salon: Try out the Beauty Pro online feature. You can add it to your website, social media pages, and offer as a link. The feature offers beauty salon clients a personal profile where they can control their appointments (book, change or cancel). Overall, online booking helps increase salon productivity and reduces the number of no-shows.
8. Focusing solely on new customers
Case: A SPA was actively practicing methods of attracting new clients, particularly special offers like “30% off on your first visit”, “15% off all hair treatments, this month only”, and so on. It worked well, but the clients disappeared as soon as the deals were off.
What’s the issue? Attracting clients is only part of the job. You also need means to win over their loyalty. That’s why it is so important to appeal to your existing clients: send them birthday and holiday wishes, news about your salon, and offer loyalty points. Regular clients are the backbone of a successful beauty business.
Solution: Some things were implemented right away: 1) administrators started offering to book the next appointment right away; 2) they called all one-time clients that have visited within the last 6 month and offer a personal discount. Administrators also asked for feedback and offered to subscribe to a treatment at a discounted price. Later, a SPA-club was created for regular clients, that offered special prices and treatments.
Tip: If you don’t know where to start, read our blog about client retention.
9. Ignoring feedback
Case: A beauty salon has two hairstylists. One was always booked, the other one was often idle. Interestingly enough, the less popular stylist was more qualified.
What’s the issue? It’s not a typical issue, but it can happen. Most likely because the owner of the salon didn’t listen to client feedback. This situation lasted for a year before the owner even though to ask for feedback. Turns out, the more popular stylist gave clients a relaxing scalp massage when washing their hair. This little curtsy was so well-received by the clients that they queued up to this stylist.
Solution: The owner implemented the scalp massage as a standard in hair routines and taught all stylists how to do it. It gave not just more clients to other stylists but also more clients in general, since people started recommending it. Moreover, the salon now does regular surveys, while the owner analyzes the reviews and makes changes if needed. Client feedback can help improve your salon performance and correct even the smallest mistakes you might not have known about otherwise.
Tip: If the client was satisfied with your services, don’t hesitate to ask them for a review on Facebook, Instagram or on your salon website. Social proof is a powerful tool.
10. No salon management software
Case: When salon management was practically passed over to the staff, employees dictated terms of payment and wasted backbar products, the owner was faced with a serious problem – the salon was operating on the verge of profitability while the list of lost clients grew.
What’s the issue? Knowing the ins and outs of salon business is not enough. You also need managerial skills to control employee workload, analyze their performance, calculate the necessary amount of materials, monitor income and expenses, and so on. But how do you organize all these processes? There are a lot more routine tasks than you realize, while owners should spend their time on more serious duties.
Solution: Automate all routine tasks using salon management software — helps organize and structure the work. Now the salon in question has a unified client base, easy salary calculation (that is done automatically!), and regular performance reports. The owner also got access to real-time statistics that helped her identify a couple of new segments that have increased the overall income.
Tip: Many salons use a CRM-system and several other programs to manage salon business processes. It’s a better approach than not using any technology at all. However, you can do even more for your salon and implement a system that is designed specifically for the beauty salon business.
Beauty Pro is an easy to use salon management system with a complex approach to organizing business processes and automating routine tasks that are specific to the beauty industry, including:
- Client management: detailed client cards for storing contact information, preferences, history of visits, etc. This information can be used for better client segmentation, advertising campaigns, and a more personal approach to each client.
- Staff management: control the workload, monitor and evaluate employee performance, calculate salaries in just a few clicks, and set up bonus systems for motivation.
- Inventory management: control product expenses, buy necessary products on time, calculate prices.
- Easy salary calculation with advanced formulas: Beauty Pro accounts for all types of employment, you just choose the right one in the employee profiles and let the system do the rest.
- SMS and e-mail notifications: send appointment reminders, birthdays wishes, and news about special offers. Culprit #6 can be crossed out of the list immediately.
- Online booking: Culprit #7 can be crossed out as well. Add our 24/7 online booking app to your website or social media accounts and you will get more clients as well as reduce the administrators’ workload.
- Monitor the efficiency of each business process: Beauty Pro offers more than 150 different reports about the salon and employee performance, revenue, expenses, marketing campaigns, finances, and more to improve your salon productivity.
Download the free 14-day demo and explore all the benefits Beauty Pro can give you. Our specialists will help you set up the program and provide you with any technical support needed.