A Way to Instantly Improve New Client Retention

New client retention has long been a bugaboo for salon owners.  Most salons sport a new client retention rate of just about 30%.  In fact, in the twenty plus years that I’ve been involved in salons…it hasn’t changed all that much. 

Now throw into the mix the advent of daily deal sites and price conscious consumers…and I would venture to guess that it’s even slightly below that number today.  And there is little wonder why. 

The fact of the matter is that most clients can’t tell the difference between Salon A and Salon B.  And do you know whose fault that is…you guessed it…the salon owner.  Let me tell you a little story to explain what I mean by “differentiating” and why this is so important today. 

A few years back, I was trying to find a place to get my truck detailed.  Well, since I don’t get it done too often, I asked a friend who he had detail his car.  He said that he had this garage 15 miles away that detailed his car.  My first reaction was…Why so far?  Aren’t there other “detailing” places closer? 

He said that I would not be disappointed and that I should give them a try.  So, I did.  The company picked up my truck at my office (yup, 15 miles away), did an immaculate job on my vehicle, and then when they dropped it back off…I had a little present waiting for me. 

It was a little bag that contained a gift card towards a body shop appointment (upsell), about 5 pieces of candy (that I probably shouldn’t have eaten but did anyway), an air freshener, a calendar magnet, a lottery ticket and a personalized handwritten Thank You card.  Oh, and I almost forgot…a referral card that I could give to a friend for 20% off their first visit. 

I have to say…I was blown away.  This “garage” actually got it!  They differentiated themselves from every other detailing place that I had ever been to before.  And the place actually cost more than other places…but I didn’t care.  They made me feel that I had made the right choice.  I chose an “expert” in client satisfaction. 

And guess what…I’ve gone back there ever since. 

Now, think of what your salon does for new clients.  Is it even close?  I bet probably not.  In fact, if your salon is like most salons…I’m guessing that you’re spending more time disputing the numbers on a new client retention report.  So, how can you do the same thing? 

Well here is how… 

Number one, go out and get a bunch of silver colored gift bags and a bunch of gold colored gift bags.  Get some inexpensive tissue paper.  Then put together two different “Thank You” bags.  One for lower priced service clients (men and some women) and one for higher priced ones. 

Go to a Dollar Tree store or Family Dollar store and pick out some very inexpensive little things.  Things that you think a client might like. 

Then fill the bags with some small retail products (trial sizes maybe that you get FREE anyway) and some of the small items that you got from the store.  Write up some Thank You Cards.  Place in the bag a referral card with a discounted offer for a friend.  Place a coupon in it to try another service for 25% off.  Place a client survey in the bag with a self-addressed stamped envelope. 

Bottom line…be creative. 

Now, you have all these bags already prepared, and when the first-time client is leaving…you hand them the bag.  Really simple.  That will differentiate you.  Remember, most clients can’t tell the difference (technically) between an average service and a very good service. 

Stand out from the crowd. Try to double your new client retention rates.  Think about what you spend to “attract” a new client.  Think of how hard it is to get them.  Do a better job at keeping them and watch your sales take off. 

I’m always amazed that salons will think nothing of discounting services 50% or more with daily deal companies (Groupon, Living Social, etc) but will not put together a gift bag for five dollars to “retain” a new client once they have had the service.  It’s crazy. 

Remember, in HairMax, first time clients are italicized in both the appointment book and the queue.  Have the bags waiting at the front desk with the client’s name already on them.  Be professional and be an expert in client satisfaction. 

P.S. If you want more FREE information like this (including the 7 best ways to build your salon’s sales now)…check out my latest video.   You can see it right now at as well as get some other great ideas on how to grow your salon sales.   Check it out!

As always, aim high…and dream even higher… 

Steve Sampson 

HairMax Salon Software is a product designed to be the best investment your salon has ever made.  It is not only the easiest and most powerful salon software on the market.  It is from a company dedicated to becoming the ultimate VALUE source to the industry.


3 Responses to “A Way to Instantly Improve New Client Retention”

  1. Vickie Harness on November 16th, 2011 1:51 am

    Hi Steve, this is great advice I will be trying it. My issue at this point in my buissness is retention … I do alot of promotions and discounts that seem to bring them in, but keeping them is a problem. I will definately give this a shot! Thank you for all your time and advice ..

    Vickie Harness
    Salon Anew

  2. David Shwaery on November 16th, 2011 2:12 pm

    Steve, I’ve been with you since day one and I’m still here. Why? Because you take your own advice. You do more than sell software. More importantly, you give good, expert, free business advice.


  3. Angela Nogueira on December 1st, 2011 2:00 pm

    Steve, you are without a doubt one of the brightest businessmen I have had the pleasure of doing business with… I have used your software for many years and its great! I do read every newsletter and you are absolutly correct in what you say..At my salon and day spa, we do practice excellant customer service, EVERY DAY! It is not a option.. I demand that from my staff.. But I must say, it starts with me as the owner… They see and hear me treat each client like royalty and they follow suit… And yes, it does work.. In a down economy, my business is up.. We are busy and it takes alot of work to stay that way.. I appreciate what you do and I would like to thank you and wish you and yours a very happy holiday season…

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