Revealed: the REAL reason why your hair and beauty customers are so loyal
It’s official - hairdressers have the most loyal customers of any profession. According to a study, 53% of Brits always visit the same hairdresser or barber. And of the 2,000 people surveyed, the majority had been with their hairdresser for over eight years. Yet the reason your customers keep coming back is not just down to a great haircut or colour.
Instead, Chartered Psychologist Dr Joan Harvey, a senior lecturer at Newcastle University, says, “There are two sorts of loyalty. There’s the way marketers measure it which is behavioural, simply going back and repurchasing again. Then there’s the way we psychologists look at it: the fact that there’s an emotional commitment as well.”
So where does this emotional bond stem from… and as a hair and beauty professional, how can you make sure it continues?
The psychology behind customer loyalty
As a hairdresser or beautician, you get up close and personal with your clients, whether you’re giving them a massage or colouring their hair. And it’s this close proximity that forms a key part of their loyalty to you.
Dr Harvey says, “Having their hair or nails done or going for a massage is personally intrusive. They are sharing parts of their body that they wouldn’t normally and that means a level of trust between you both, which in turn accentuates their emotional commitment to you.”
Added to that is the frequency you see each other – often every four to six weeks – which increases that sense of familiarity as loyalty builds up over the years.
“As time goes on the familiarity of knowing something about each other that you can relate to will increase the bond”
3 ways to make sure your clients stay loyal
Communication is key, according to Dr Harvey. Here are a few simple ways to develop your client relationships…
1. Remember things about your clients
“One of the marks of a good hairdresser or beautician is that you remember things about your customer”, says Dr Harvey. “And there is a reason for you doing this: it helps the bond develop.
You could use your online booking system or appointment cards to take notes for their next visit.
“This means the client’s emotional judgement is not necessarily about how technically capable you are, but instead you’ll be rated on your communication and the fact you remembered something they told you in their last appointment. And higher ratings at an emotional level means more loyalty and your customers coming back.”
2. Ask open-ended questions
“This is important when you’re establishing a relationship with your client” says Dr Harvey. “In those early days, the customer needs to like you and the service you’re providing.
“As time goes on the familiarity of knowing something about each other that you can relate to will increase the bond. I know where my hairdresser goes on holiday and the name of her dog, all of which means we can have a real conversation when we see each other.”
3. Reveal things about yourself
Along with asking your client’s questions, you should also share information about yourself. Dr Harvey says, “This is called guarded disclosure - in other words, you share something with your client about your own life to make them feel at ease. It can be fairly trivial but needs to relate to them.
“For example if they are talking about going shopping for a blue dress, you could say you love that colour and are sure it will suit them but it doesn’t suit you so much as red would. It doesn’t necessarily need to be true but by empathising, you’re adding to the link between you, and they’ll leave feeling chuffed that they know something about you.”