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Salon Client Retention Strategies That Work

hair salon using client retention strategies to encourage return clients

If you’re looking for strategies to retain your salon clients, look no further! We have some tips that will keep your client list healthy and growing.

Why is client retention so important? Bottom line: It keeps your business running and expanding. With a loyal client base, your salon will be better positioned to grow, add new services and take risks to attract new customers. Here are some of the reasons why client retention is so important for salons — both big and small:

  • Client retention is good for business – Potential and prospective clients want to go to a salon that always has full salon chairs and a strong client base because that shows your salon can be trusted to reliably provide amazing service and results.
  • Returning clients keep cash coming in – Having repeat clients provides a steady flow of business. Whether your clients come in once every three weeks or every six months, loyalty is a guarantee that you will be their next appointment.
  • Word of mouth attracts new clients – If you have a solid client base, chances are that your established clients are spreading the word about your salon and the services they love. Word of mouth can be a great way to get new clients in the door.
  • Cost of keeping a client vs. attracting new business – Salon owners know that it’s often more expensive to attract new clients than to keep current ones, so retention is crucial to a robust, steady business.

To better understand salon client retention strategies, it is also important to understand why clients may choose to leave. We’ve put together a great guide with some insight on why some clients don’t return to your salon and how to avoid losing business.

Proven Salon Client Retention Strategies

Now that you understand the importance of loyal clients and repeat business, let’s go over some strategies to keep clients coming back to your salon again and again:

1. Provide Consistently Outstanding Customer Service

From your receptionists to your stylists and assistants, it’s critical for your salon to have the best customer service mindset. Guests, above all else, want to feel special and prioritized, which means that from when a client walks into your salon to when they leave, you need to make sure they are taken care of and look forward to coming back. Improving customer service is a foundational way you can improve your hair salon business.

2. Rebook Clients at Checkout

We all have regular clients who come back often for cuts, color and blowouts. During the middle of a busy day, it’s often easier to let them leave without booking their next service so you can get onto your next client. But rebooking them as they check out ensures they come back to your salon. Offering to rebook them in person is convenient for the client, too, because they don’t have to call back or go online to find a time to reschedule. Using Square POS for Salons is a great way to handle client payments as well as appointment booking in one simple application.

3. Introduce a Loyalty Program

Let’s get real — getting your hair done can be expensive, and even your most loyal clients may balk at the cost, depending on the services they need. Because loyal clients alone could keep your business afloat, it’s a great idea to have a rewards program for existing clients. You could give them a percent off every three services or offer other earned promotions and discounts to keep them coming back. Check out our article with more great salon promotion ideas.

retaining salon clients with attractive and comfortable salon equipment

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4. Make Clients Feel Like Stars on Social Media

Do you currently photograph your clients and post them to your salon’s social media accounts? If not, you should definitely start—with their blessing, of course! Not only is this a great way to create content for your social media pages, but it’s also a technique you could use to keep clients coming back. Everyone likes to feel special, and after your client gets their hair done, you can offer to take a photo or encourage them to take a selfie in front of your photo wall so you can share their fabulous hair on social media. This is a great reason to finally invest in that ring light you’ve been eyeing.

5. Invest in Quality Salon Equipment

If you have the best of the best stylists and attractive, professional-grade salon equipment, your clients will keep coming back because it’s important to them to receive the highest quality of services. Your salon will have a reputation of being a business your clients can trust.

6. Offer Discounts on Products

If your loyal clients also purchase their hair products from you, you can offer them discounts to keep your retail products moving while also making your clients feel appreciated. Make sure to showcase your products with eye-catching retail displays in well-trafficked areas, like your reception area.

7. Create an Experience with Salon Decor & Aesthetic

Aside from great customer service, clients love to come back to a salon that’s beautifully decorated and aesthetically pleasing. Creating a memorable salon experience goes beyond decor! We’ve put together a great guide that includes 4 Ways to Create a Memorable Salon Experience. Minerva Beauty offers many free resources to help you design your salon, barbershop or spa space to fit your look. Check out the Minerva Beauty Idea Center for access to our 2D design tool, our Style Guide, and blog posts about interior design for beauty businesses. You won’t regret it!

chic hair salon with a high client retention rate

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How to Measure Salon Client Retention

Once you have implemented some retention strategies, it’s important to track their effectiveness. Here are three important metrics to pay attention to:

  1. Client Retention Rate - This is the percentage of clients that come back compared to those who don’t. Calculate retention rate by dividing the number of returning clients by the total number of clients for a given time period.
  2. Repeat Visit Frequency - Look at how often each client returns, such as every 6 weeks or 8 weeks. An increase in frequency is a great indication of improved loyalty (or a higher-maintenance hairstyle) while a decrease in frequency could mean they’re looking elsewhere (or growing their hair out).
  3. Revenue from Retained Clients - Track sales and revenue from repeat clients vs new clients. Retained clients should make up the lion’s share of your revenue.

Monitoring these metrics will reveal how well your retention efforts are working and where you need to improve. You should analyze these numbers at least quarterly to make sure you always have a clear understanding of your client retention health.

Unhappy clients can also be a valuable source of information, and by proactively managing salon complaints you'll discover where to focus on improving, and demonstrate to your clients that you care.

What’s a Good Client Retention Rate for a Salon?

A good target retention rate for a salon business is between 60-70%. That means for every 10 clients who visit your salon, 6 or 7 of them are coming back for repeat visits or additional services. But that number can also be adjusted based on the unique needs and criteria of your salon business.

If your salon is in a popular area with heavy foot traffic, you may have more walk-ins from new clients. On the other hand, if you are a premium salon that offers services at a higher price point, it’s going to be even more important that you have a higher retention rate because your prices may be out of reach for a portion of your potential customer base.

You’re already on your way to increasing retention for your client list, which is a great move for your business. The more you start to implement these techniques into your salon, your loyal clients will start to feel even more appreciated and special—it’s a win-win for everyone! Once you have your client retention rate up, consider these six areas to focus on, to further grow your salon business.

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