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Client Recuperation: How to keep’em coming back

June 1, 2011

While in our previous articles we have talked primarily about the different demographics that salons and spas should be targeting, we now take into consideration the importance of maintaining and conserving these groups as a returning clientele at salons and spas.

For a well established salon, client acquisition is usually a battle that is fought on several fronts depending of the urgency of the need, the finances available and the desired speed of growth. Traditional marketing and advertising methods can be difficult to evaluate and can end up costing you hundreds of dollars per unqualified newly recruited client. So, before you go on an extensive search for new recruits, start by looking in your own back yard. The easiest approach is to target anyone that has stepped foot in your salon but who has stopped coming altogether.

keyboardWe refer to this tactic as Client Recuperation. Almost all salon/spa management software will help you track your inactive clients i.e. anyone that has not been in your facility for more than a 6-month period. Send these people a letter (or e-mail) with a time-limited enticing offer to revisit your business. Depending on your capacity, and the size of this list, you may want to stagger the mailing. Assuming there is a 10 to 20% return rate (based on your good reputation and the offer you make), if you send 200 letters you can expect up to 40 individuals to take you up on your offer and book an appointment in the next 2 to 6 weeks. The last thing you want to do is to woo clients back to your business and not be able to accommodate their needs. Once you have gone through your initial list, you will want to run this program automatically i.e. every month, send the offer to those clients who have now gone missing for more than 6 months.

Your Best Advocates

The next step is to turn your best clients into advocates for your business by running a well planned and well executed referral program. A good referral program follows 5 basic rules:

1. It requires an on-going effort, not a spurt of only a few months.

2. Staff need to have a clear objective of the number of referrals per month they are expected to generate and make this objective part of their key performance indicators.

3. Offer a great reward for the referral; something that is desirable and enticing.

4. Ask for the referral from your “good clients”, not just anyone who sits down in your chair.

5. Support your efforts by creating a New Client program to help you retain their business.

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