How to Improve Your Salon’s Client Retention

Ever wondered who are your most loyal clients? Men or women?

It’s an interesting question. I guess most of us would say women tend to be more dependable and easier to retain.

In fact, a recent study revealed that men and women are loyal to their hairdresser/beautician in different ways. If you understand these subtle differences you can improve your salon client loyalty rates quickly and cheaply.


Retaining hair and beauty clients

In a nutshell: on average, women are loyal to their stylist or therapist whilst men are loyal to the salon itself.

The research showed women attach greater importance to individual relationships whilst men relate better to groups and organisations – hence the pull of the golf club.

A female client is more likely to want a ‘trusted advisor’ relationship with her stylist or therapist and if that person moves salon she is more likely to move with her. Women are looking for a personal, one-to-one relationship whilst men are more comfortable staying detached from any one individual.

In contrast, men are content with a more anonymous relationship with the salon itself. They still expect great service and good hairdressing skills but are happier to move between stylists in the salon. Overall this tends to make men the more loyal salon customers.


Practical salon ideas to perk up retention rates

The study concludes these differences are down to fundamental psychological differences between the sexes. Here’s how to make these differences work for you when marketing your hair or beauty business:

Move men, not women, if possible

If you have to move clients around due to a stylist’s sickness or holiday then move the men rather than the women, if possible. Guys are less likely to feel uncomfortable with a different stylist and thus more likely to return and not feel ‘put out’.

Boost salon referral rates as well as retention

Recommend a Friend cards will get best results when handed out to women clients by their personal stylist or therapist.

Men, on the other hand, will generally respond better to a request to refer the salon itself (as opposed to an individual) from your receptionist.

Birthday cards say you care

The study into the differences between the sexes verified, as I think we’d all guess, that personal birthday cards are likely to score more highly with women and help retention.

I always recommend a salon uses a card and an oldfashioned stamp rather than an email.

Why? Because it shows you care. It shows you’ve taken some trouble. And as the research confirms, women react well to this. A card through the post (rather than a text or an email) also looks less blatantly commercial and as the study highlighted we women are much better at detecting insincerity than men.

A back-up plan to keep your clients

This practical idea works well in hair salons but could also be adapted for certain treatments at beauty salons.

Reduce the risk of losing a female client if a stylist moves on by encouraging her to form a relationship with two stylists.

The ‘reserve’ stylist can be involved in the consultation by the usual stylist “I really value Jane’s opinion and I’d like her thoughts on…” Thereafter, the ‘reserve’ can build rapport with a quick ‘hair’ chat or wash their hair without the client feeling they are being “passed around”.

If a client does move on then scribbling a personal, friendly and understanding message on your lapsed client mailer will work better for a woman. Tell her you genuinely are sorry the relationship has been lost, you value her and miss seeing her in the salon.