When talking to someone I have known for a long time, the issue of customer service came up. As a long standing client of a business, she has seen attitudes towards her change as new customers have emerged and has been left feeling like her money is suddenly worth less than others. It raises the question of how many of us take our long-standing clients for granted?
Customer service is a vital tool in any industry, but in one as intimate as beauty I would go as far as to say that it is one of the single most important elements of your business. You could offer the best treatments with top of the range products, but a rude staff member, inflexibility or lack of consideration could ruin the whole experience for a client. Many clients who walk into a salon feel vulnerable and insecure. Whether it is the fear of putting their wobbly bits on display, a self-consciousness about acne covered skin or simply being intimidated by young, beautiful therapists, every client needs to feel warmth and reassurance to put them at their ease.
Welcoming a new client is easy. You pull out all the stops to impress them, show them all the wonderful things you have to offer, and throw in a first time discount/loyalty card, but what about the client who has been coming every two weeks for the last ten years? When was the last time you went out of your way to ‘wow’ that client? Having been coming to you for so long, they must love you, and so you don’t need to try, right? Wrong!
This is the client who will be most hurt by poor customer service. Someone who has supported your business for such a long time will not like being shuffled down your appointment book in favour of a client paying more. This client wants to feel that you are working just as hard for their custom as anyone else who walks through your doors.
Bad reviews are something every business owner dreads but who’s review will be worse: the girl who came for the first time and didn’t like your collection of nail colours, or the long-standing client who has had the same appointment for the last five years but somehow got double-booked and sent away? The client who feels like her loyalty has been forgotten will be the one who is most let down, and most angry.
New clients are a wonderful addition to your business, but it is the old-timers who are your bread and butter when times are tough, Make sure they know they are not forgotten!