Over the days, months and years, you’ve put in a relentless amount of work to build your clientele. In salon clients who’ve been trusting you for a long time, you’ve established a bond. Some of them have perhaps even become good friends of yours outside of the salon! You’ve seen them in their highs and most likely some of their lows. You might have fixed their chipped nails or their fringe that they stressed-cut, or better yet have been there to help them get the bridal look they dreamed of. You’ve been building their confidence by making them feel and look fantastic, appointment after appointment.
In new customers, you’ve invested time, money and effort, building a firm enough online handshake that they’d finally come into your salon or spa. Some of those people, you might have only had the pleasure to meet for the first time just weeks before the coronavirus crisis wreaked havoc in people’s lives and families, business operations and global economy.
But currently, government measures to overcome the spread of the novel coronavirus have forced salons and spas to close, leaving many of you — if not all — wondering how to stay connected with your client base.
Going back to basics
After mulling this over, I’ve come to realize that while the practical answer is two-fold, its foundation is simple. Answer the following few questions, and you’ll get it, too:
- How do you stay connected with a friend who moves abroad?
- How do you nurture your relationship with an elderly relative, who perhaps has lost most of their mobility or ability to travel?
- How do you stay in touch with your partner when you leave on a business trip?
You find ways.
And I say ways because there isn’t just the “one” perfect way to nurture a relationship: it varies based on the two people who form it. In this coronavirus quarantine and self-isolation context, I’ve seen people around me find creative ways to stay connected: board games and parties over zoom calls, Instagram Live music and gym sessions, remote work (where possible), quick catch up chats, etc.
The crisis is a source of stress; that’s undeniable. Personally, professionally, financially.
If it can teach us anything, however, it’s that the world we claimed to be hyper-connected, is also fragile and often taken for granted. In times of being together but apart, it’s also teaching us about true solidarity and the sense of community, something we’ve learned about growing up and slowly forgotten over time. It’s forcing all of us to reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones.
Now, allow me to return to salon and spa owners’ initial concern…
“How can I stay connected with my client base?”
The definition of a relationship goes as follows: “the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave toward each other.” As such, the answer to “how to stay connected” is two-fold. There’s a part you can take on, and another you can encourage your clients to do, all from the comfort of their home.
Part 1: What you can take on
Without encouraging people to cut or colour their hair, think about ways you can show your clients support through this time and please don’t shame them for the quarantine home “solutions” they might give themselves. People are already having a tough time. Instead, when and if they don’t listen to your recommendations to just sit out the root growth, reassure them. Let them know you’ll be there to help with as many treatments as it takes when this all blows over.
Suggestions for getting the conversation started, and the engagement going:
- Get in front of the camera and record weekly tips that you can use on social media.
- Go Live on Facebook or Instagram, and encourage your clients to join you for a quick catch up (Live roulette) or Q&A
- Give online consultations and product recommendations (for example, guide clients through what to do in the case of stress-induced skin issues)
- Have a salon app built, allowing you to send marketing material straight to your clients’ phones
- Take retail product orders and ship them out to customers with a special thank you note
- Reach out to some of your most loyal clients for a quick chat to see how they’re holding up these days
- Keep in touch with your client base with segmented email product education
- Conduct surveys to find out what people want to hear from you
- Talk about the steps you’re taking to help your community during this crisis (for example, donating gloves & masks to your local hospital, or raising funds to support front line health workers, etc.)
These are only a few ideas, but the list goes on… Think about how you would typically engage with your clients. What do they react to positively? Try to adapt the answers you come up with to quarantine life, and do more of that.
Part 2: What you can encourage your clients to do to keep in contact with you
It’s important to remember that this situation is affecting everyone at the moment, and putting a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety on people’s shoulders. It’s nothing personal, but they’re probably more preoccupied with their own situation than they are of others’ right now.
That doesn’t mean they’ve stopped caring. That’s why you can be proactive and encourage them to stay connected with you. You’ll be surprised by the wave of love you’ll receive.
Actions you can encourage clients to take:
- Book in for a future appointment (we appreciate that some salons have disabled their online booking capacities at the moment, so only promote this if possible)
- Give you a review on Google or Facebook (this can make all the difference when business picks back up)
- Ask them to share a happy memory or a past look you gave them
- Like and comment on your posts, as well as tag you in theirs
- Purchase home care products
- Make a pledge / purchase a gift voucher
I’ll leave you on this positive thought.
There’s much talk about how we, as a society, should re-evaluate our individual support to local businesses during and after these times — and rightfully so. Having said that, the hardest thing to do in business is to change people’s consumer habits. In that sense, that’s where the hair and beauty industry gets lucky. Your client base isn’t from out of town because it wouldn’t make sense to drive five hours to a city to get a treatment and then drive back for another five.
When it comes to their treatments and services, your salon clients have always supported their local business, i.e, you. They are likely to want to keep doing the same, especially in this context. You just have to give them a nudge, do your part and help them see what they can do to help during these challenging times.
Do that voodoo that you do so well, start the conversation and get your clients to join you on social media using the #SupportYourSalon hashtag!
And us? We’re always there to support and help you. Together, we’ll get through. Visit www.phorest.com/c19 and download our resources pack, designed to help you lead your salon through these uncertain times!
Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow