February 2013

Charlene Abretske

Beyond Your Chair| Jayne Morehouse


Showing Your Clients Some Love

What are you doing to show your clients some love this month?

In today's competitive environment, you must have a plan to stay in contact between their salon visits, if not 24 -- 7. Why?

All around us, retail companies — beauty companies that sell their products in mass retail stores like Walgreens, Target, etc. — are reaching out to your current and potential clients via (get this) hairstylists.

They're using the professional business to market their products. The professional business must raise the stakes or risk being over taken completely.

Here's an example: Throughout January, TRESemmé offered a promotion called Live Styling. As part of the promotion, consumers who purchased two TRESemmé products at a participating Walgreens received a code that could be redeemed for a free, 10-minute, one-on-one session with a professional stylist. The consumer only needs a Webcam, desktop or laptop computer, a Facebook account and an internet connection. Then, she makes her appointment online using the code.

During the session, the consumer can ask the stylist in the Style Studio any questions about her hairstyle, cut and color. The stylist makes recommendations of looks and products (TRESemmé, of course) he recommends. The client also has the ability to upload her photo to see how she'll look with various styles and colors. Finally, the site features how-to videos for all types and lengths of hair and for special occasions from date night to at the office. Check it out at Tresstylestudio.com/livestyling/schedule.

I wanted to investigate further, so I logged on to the company's Facebook page to read some of the comments. Consumers shared a variety of opinions, but one that caught my eye was, "great tips the hairdresser doesn't share."

Read that as your call to action. You already have a more personal relationship with your clients than any retail brand can hope to create. But if you don't work every day to strengthen that, you risk losing their business all at once or bit by bit to another salon or even worse—to do-it-yourself kits and products from the drug store or grocery store.

These brands have millions and millions of dollars to spend every month to target your clients everywhere they already are — online, in the coupon section of their newspapers, in the stores they're already in for their daily needs for food, cleaning products, health care and more. That means you must work to stay front of mind with them. Here are some easy, inexpensive ways to do that:

Connect with your clients daily via Facebook or Twitter—whichever way THEY prefer. The connection can come through you, as their stylist on your professional page, or through your salon. Keep them informed, give them styling tips, let them know what's new at the salon and offer special promotions designed for what they want to purchase—as opposed to how your brands want to sell. Ask questions to find out what they think. For example, if you ask what style they loved most from the recent award shows, it gives you an opening to ask if they'd like to try those looks when they come in.

Make a phone call. Never underestimate the importance of a one-to-one connection. Call every client three days after each salon visit. Ask her how her cut/color/style/gel nails/etc. is working and if she has any questions. Plan in advance to recommend a styling tip or product or tool to share. And if she hasn't booked her next appointment, make sure you ask if she'd like to do it now. If she doesn't answer, leave the information on her voice mail and let her know how to reach you. If she doesn't call back, the next time you see her, ask if she'd prefer a text. Either way, you're reinforcing the idea that you care and are thinking about her between appointments.

Check in before or after special events with texts or emails. Know your client has a big date or an important job interview? Send her a quick note to ask how it went. If she's leaving on vacation in a week, check in to make sure she has all the travel sizes of her favorite products and mini tools to pack. If she doesn't, take her credit card and offer to ship them to her if she can't stop in.

Make it easy for clients to connect with you. Put your Facebook and Twitter links on everything from your menu to your products and in signage throughout your salon or on your station. (It's easy to make clear labels to apply with the information.)

Tie your social media into other promotions. If you're launching a new product, offer a free travel size or a discount when your client likes your page on Facebook. Design a bigger incentive if she refers her friends to your page.

The bottom line is that it's easier than ever for you — and your competitors — to connect with your clients. When you connect more personally and more frequently than the others, you'll win the battle for their hearts . . . and their pocketbooks.

Jayne Morehouse is a columnist for Stylist Newspapers and the president of Jayne & company, a full-service brand communications agency for beauty companies and salons. Follow her on Twitter @JaynePR and @BeautyIQ and connect with her on facebook.com/jayneandco.