May 2009

Tips for Salons to Come Out on Top

By Diana Gilliard

One of my clients said something notable the other day... “It’s a great time to be broke because you’re in good and abundant company.” She couldn’t have been more right.

In this type of economy clients who were able to shop, spend with wild abandon, go to the movies, do whatever they liked whenever they liked are feeling the crunch.

There is just no way to deny the truth... we’re all in an economic crunch and almost everyone feels it to some degree. The best thing a salon can do is go above and beyond for the client.

Why? Why not, smart businesses always do. But now more than ever, clients are being inundated with other salons who want their business for a reduced price. The competition is on and here’s how to come out on top:

1. Educate your staff that the client is number one. This economy is tough, and it’s important to give the clients above and beyond service. This means focusing on them, what their needs are and what specific issues they want to focus on.

Do they have problems with their hair, skin, etc? What is it that the client wants out of the time they are spending in your salon? Figure out what they want and give it to them. Do they want to escape and vent, or be entertained?

Whatever it is, it’s all about the client, not all about the team member. It’s a hard point to get across, but an extremely important one.

2. Pamper clients with a hand massage while color processes. It costs the salon next to nothing... some grape seed oil is all. It makes the salon look more luxurious, and the atmosphere is inviting.

It makes the client feel like they got a free little extra add-on they wouldn’t have at your competitor’s salon, and it bonds the client to the staffer. Make them love your staff even more. Not to mention, they will usually throw a tip out for it. 

3. Build your email list and email them a freebie on their birthday. Who doesn’t want to be recognized on her special day? If your hair salon cares enough to make sure you get a happy birthday, that’s a wonderful feeling that lasts all year, and makes your salon seem like they care specifically about her.

4. Make sure your staff is friendly and accommodating always. You don’t have to spend anything to have nice people who work in your salon. Salon owners miss this mark a lot. Gone are the days of consumers who are willing to be treated like dirt while they fork out the money. They just don’t have to anymore. A salon’s staff should be clear on the fact that the customer always comes first.

5. Hair color/cutting forecasting is an awesome way to show your client that she is way more than just a color formula in the computer. Talk to her... tell her “hey, you know it’s spring so lets brighten you up around your face with some shimmery pieces, but let’s talk about summer too... there is this awesome cut that’s a little shorter I can totally envision for you... it’s so sexy and perfect for your facial features... I’m going to keep this picture right here in a file for you. Let’s talk about it as we get closer to the summer season.”

What this does is guarantee you that she is intrigued enough to plan to come back to see what you have planned next. It also shows her that you care and are thinking about her hair.

Diana Gilliard is CitySalon and spa owner and stylist. The CitySalon ( collection includes locations in Huntington Beach, Athens and Atlanta. For more information email at

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