Clients should be graded into A, B, C, and D’s & Then start to FIRE Them!
Rate Your Salon Clients
There are many types of client types who drop by your salon. Some are curious, some are interested, others are spying on your business, some are accompanying a friend… Just because your salon is jam-packed with people, it does not guarantee that you are earning much. Friends may visit your salon to greet you personally, some folks might come by to survey and compare your services to your competitors. If they like the comparison, then they’ll come back.
Establishing a client base can be a tedious task during your first few months in the business, trying to entice those customers who have established a long-term relationship with your competitors. It is good to open a salon business in an area where you have developed a lasting relationship with old friends, old ties, and old colleagues and forge a relationship with new faces through common friends.
Referrals through word of mouth are a cost-free form of advertising where your credibility is vouched for by your friends and acquaintances. Helping you by inviting their friends and family members to try your services and products, you might just be surprised at the hordes of people coming to your salon.
Where do your clients fit?
Once you begin to establish your regular clientele, you might see they can be categorized into four types:
“A” Ideal clients – These are clients who are loyal to your salon no matter how stiff the competition. They will purchase multiple services every visit, buy retail you recommend for them and visit often, ideally every four to six weeks. Perhaps more fashion conscious and fastidious about their appearance, they bring in more money to your salon, not only through their direct spending but also as they invite friends and family members regularly.
“B” Basic clients – This type of client stretches the time out between visits, only coming in when they are well overdue for a cut, or their colour has faded and/or has considerable regrowth. They still purchase combination services, and the odd retail recommendation, but stretch their visits to every eight to twelve weeks. They might still bring you referral business though.
“C” Borderline clients – These clients seldom visit your salon, only purchasing one, maybe two, service, and no retail. They might be extremely budget conscious and view spending with you as a luxury purchase; they might simply be too busy to visit you more often, and only do so when absolutely required. You might see them only 3 or 4 times a year, but at the end of the day, they are still loyal to your business.
- “D” Terrible clients – The worst of the worst, this type of client might only visit you 1 or 2 times a year, if that. Maybe only for a special occasion such as a party or for their birthday, maybe because they’ve caught wind of a super special or discount you are currently offering. They are the most likely to arrive late, or indeed fail to turn up for their appointment. They have no real loyalty to your business, and will happily toddle off to your competitor as soon as they offer a better deal.
What to do with your clients
So why is it important to categorize your clients like this? Because D class clients not only don’t make you money, they can be costly. They take up appointment time that could otherwise be given to your ‘better’ class of client, and can often have an adverse effect on you and your staff. Your ultimate goal for you client-base is to be very top-heavy with A and B clients, minimizing C, and, where possible, eliminating D altogether.
The old adage about the customer always being right does not always hold true. It’s really not worth it to your business to retain D class clients. Don’t be afraid to ‘sack’ them! When they try to book, let them know that your schedule is fully overbooked, and gently suggest that they try to obtain an appointment with one of your competitors.
Weeding out your D clients will allow you more time to focus on your A-listers, and endeavour to upgrade your B and C clients. How? For example, you might like to make sure you keep your clients up to date with the latest developments in your salon (new products or services for example) as they visit less regularly and so may not be aware. Other information to share with clients might include telling them about any recent seminars/education you and/or your staff might have attended on the latest hair trends.