When you run your own business, your primary objective is to establish a client base that you can rely on to provide you with the sales and revenue necessary to keep the doors open. The mistake many small business owners make, however, is thinking that they need only to focus on professional expertise to build their brand.
In actuality, if you want to create a loyal client base that continues to grow and continues to come back to support your product or service, you’ll need to focus on and refine your customer service skills to the utmost degree.
For those reading who work in the salon industry, Signature Salon Studios is your best resource for marketing and branding tips for your “suite” business. To learn more about how we provide our tenants with ongoing education and training in business savvy skills, please visit our website or give us a call today.
Developing a Client Base
Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been a salon specialist for years, there’s never any harm in working to develop a stronger client base.
If you already have existing clients, support and strengthen those relationships. Don’t neglect your older customers by placing too much attention on new leads. That being said, you should always be pursuing networking opportunities, word-of-mouth referrals, and innovative adjustments to your business model. This gives you a competitive edge so that even if older client bases do fade away with time, you’ll already have a plethora of new relationships and potential lifelong patrons.
When it comes to customer service, you may have to put in some work, but it will be worth it. Make a concerted effort to respond quickly and effectively to client needs, concerns, and questions. Stay active and engaged on social media. Be patient with every customer who walks through your doors and remember that on a fundamental level, they are the ones doing you a service, not the other way around.
Maintaining a Client Base
Once you’ve networked, partnered with other businesses, and built up a book of regular clients, the next challenge to tackle is maintenance. There’s little use in putting in the effort to establish a base of customers if you have no intention of continually working on securing their business.
Continuously providing high-quality customer service will certainly aid your retention rate, but it’s not the only contributing factor.
Your clients, if they’ve stuck around this long, believe in you and your business to a significant extent. For that reason, they’re probably willing to invest a bit of their time in giving you feedback on what is and isn’t working well for them. Ask for opinions and feedback from your client base, as this not only engages them on a more personal level, but establishes a strong degree of trust and respect.
Additionally, if you have social media, newsletters, email campaigns, or mail-order promotional materials, you should be updating these on a regular basis. Ideally, you’ll put out, say, a fresh newsletter every other week, and launch a new theme or campaign idea every month. Post pictures and videos on social media of clients who come to your salon or business, whether it’s a nail bar, a hair studio, a microblading center, or some totally unique medispa.
If you have a website — you should, if you don’t! — make sure your content is fresh, relevant, up-to-date, accurate, and optimized to show up in the highest possible rank on search engines.
Expanding a Client Base
You’ve put in the work to build and maintain your client base with strong customer service skills and marketing tactics. When you’re stable and confident enough to do so, the next step will be expanding your foundation of patrons.
This is usually the phase where innovation comes more into play. You may start offering different payment options, new products and services, different kinds of online content, etc. It could be as simple as adding a scannable component to your business card to impress smart phone-savvy people, or working with a nonprofit to promote your brand at a charity event.
Consider public relations tactics as well as traditional marketing and advertising.
And at the end of the day, expanding your client base will depend on consistently satisfactory customer service.
Oh, and word-of-mouth referrals never hurt either.