You can hop off the fence: The merits of complimentary services are clear.
Wondering if it’s really worth it offering clients small perks to make them feel special? According to experts, not only does it cement your relationship, it also helps boost your business, big time! According to Angèle Charette, director of professional development for Matrix Canada, “the objective of any promotion or loyalty program is to keep your hair services top of mind for your clients, and get them to book more visits.”
Basic marketing tactics carry even more weight in the age of economic fragmentation and social disruption. Implementing them now is understandably essential in a highly competitive market.
Customizing is Key
“The best way to foster client retention is to focus on the customer experience,” says Charette. “Surprise them with a complimentary service that adds value to what they’re already paying for and always give more than what the client expects.” Another great way to employ that rationale: Institute a special VIP “client of the day” and post lots of photos and videos on social.
Also, don’t forget to celebrate those special occasions that you know are important to your clients: birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, etc. It shows that you pay attention to the big events in their lives and that you care.
Highlighting Your Services
With this in mind, Staëlle Coulombe, a Joico educator and unicorn colour specialist from Quebec City, says she never gives away free products unless they’re samples. “What I will do, though, is include the product in the service the client is receiving. For example, for a lightening process I will add a sink reconstructive treatment. That way I also make sure the hair is in top condition while they feel they’re receiving a freebie.”
Another great way to give more value to the customer while ensuring you are showcasing your talent for creating stunning colour, is to offer a complimentary product that you know and trust. “When clients come to see me for a unicorn or galaxy hair colour, I give them a free bottle of cleansing conditioner. That way, I am certain they have the proper product that will make my work stay beautiful as long as possible. And because it’s ‘on the house’ they most likely won’t refuse it! In the end, my client will think that I’m a better colourist and stylist, and they’re more likely to return,” she says.
Analyzing Your Client
If you’ve been working with a client for a long time, it’s relatively easy to get to know what she likes and dislikes. And if a client’s happy, she will more than likely share her experience on social media, which means referrals for you!
However, as Charette cautions, “the main goal of these special promotions is to improve client retention through repeat and increased business and growth by referrals. These special offerings should be simple, easy to understand, and not a financial burden on the salon or staff.”
Both new and existing clients are as important to pamper and offer incentives to, but too often, salons will focus on offering ‘extras’ only to gain clients, which leaves you and in the same position as where you started if retention doesn’t occur.
“The idea is to offer an essential product to your client so that she comes back to buy it,” says Coulombe. But for that to happen, it’s vital to
pay attention to her and her hair’s specific needs, because offering her the wrong product will not yield the same result. And that’s certainly not a situation you will want to create.