Every owner and manager knows: Salons acquire new clients to 1) grow the business and 2) to keep churn rate low. (In the salon world, churn means those clients who stop booking because they move, try something new, or *gasp* you break up with them.)
churn rate /CHərn rāt/: the annual percentage rate at which customers stop subscribing to a service.
Some stylists are so focused on getting new clients in the door, that they stop focusing on the heart of their business, their regular clients. Remember: new clients are the icing on the cake. Your regular clients ARE the cake. Regular clients make up a critical KPI to the health of any salon: the yearly or lifetime value of a client.
A new client’s value may be a $100 haircut, but a regular client coming in every six weeks is equal to $800 a year. If you lose a regular client you potentially need as many as eight new clients to replace that lost income.
Beyond the new client and that $100 visit, new clients have a potential value, whereas existing clients have a proven value. A healthy, well-maintained clientele does the work for you in getting you new business because they’re also far more likely than a first-timer to refer their friends and family to come see you— and those clients are far more likely to return. Moreover, regulars are more likely to purchase retail products, tip better, and interact with your social media.
Work smarter not harder
It takes so much more effort to attract new clients than it does to retain existing ones. Stylists who focus only on new clients or build their clientele around new clients are also risking financial stability. Unlike existing clients, first time clients are more likely to cancel late or no show, demand refunds, ignore your professional advice, and product suggestions, and most importantly: new clients are far more likely to never return.
For stylists with a high volume of new call ins/walk ins: If a salon is successful and attracts a lot of new clients, it may be able to consistently feed you as a service provider, which could give you a distorted understanding of your business. What happens if those walk-ins stop coming? Can you still make your car payment? Your rent? And let's flip this model and look at it from from a salon owner’s perspective: is there one service provider that drives new clients for the entire salon? What happens if they leave?
Some stylists think they have a huge client base until they move salons and realize most of their clients were new, they didn’t come back, and they certainly didn’t follow them to a new salon.
Meeting new people is wonderful, but it can also be exhausting. An appointment with a regular is so much easier because you already know so much about them: their hair type, temperament, and expectations. As a stylist, you have to always be “on” in front of your clients, but that’s amplified when it’s a new client and you’re trying to make a good first impression. It takes a lot to be that present and constantly engaged. Finding ways to automate aspects of loyalty empowers you to do what you do best: make your clients look and feel their best.