Why moving your clients is hurting your business
If you are a booth renter, suite renter, or an independent contractor working for commission pay, you essentially own your own business. You may work under a specific set of salon rules, but you typically have the freedom to make your schedule as you please. This can be dangerous territory when it comes to building and retaining your clientele.
When I first started doing hair I assisted for 3 years doing 40+ hours a week. We’re talking 10+ hours behind the chair Tuesday through Saturday every single week. We had education typically once or twice a month as well, which would take place on one of two days off and would run between 6-8 hours. It was brutal. I missed a lot of family time, vacations, and events because of it. I worked my ass off, and anyone who knew me well, knew better than to expect to see a lot of me.
Fast forward to when I ventured out on my own; I decided to keep the same schedule. I didn’t want to let down the people who followed me by changing everything at once, a salon change itself is a big enough move to lose clientele. I continued with 10 hour days and working every weekend. I barely left for lunch. I would sit in the backroom during my down time and read books because I wanted to make sure I was there for every walk in or phone call that might show up. I never moved a client. If I only had one client on a Wednesday evening at 5, I would be there. I could count on one hand the number of times that I had to move clients. In fact, here it is: Once when my grandmother died, and another when I was so blatantly sick that I couldn’t stand up straight.
This doesn’t mean that you need to work 50+ hours a week, or every single weekend, or never get time off to enjoy your life. But I will tell you this: plan your events as far ahead as you can. Know when your best friends birthday is and mark that weekend off, figure out when you may want a vacation or staycation and put it on your books. Moving clients around because you decide you want a day off the weekend of has the capability to hurt your business in an excruciating way.
Clients who are consistently moved around will:
Start to feel unappreciated and undervalued very, very quickly.
It’s one thing if an emergency comes up, it’s a whole different ball game if it’s happening every other appointment for them and they can’t count on you to be available for the time they scheduled with you. This is a quick road to losing their respect.
Will stop pre-booking their appointments with you
If their standing appointments repeatedly go unhonored, they won’t see a point in continuing to make them in advance. Clients who don’t pre-book appointments typically go 2-3 weeks longer in between their appointments which takes money directly out of your pocket.
Will start to respect your time in the same manner
It’s frustrating not to have your time honored. We all know what it feels like to have last minute cancelations or no-call, no-shows. As much as we want to have our time respected by our clients, our clients expect the same from us. If they feel as though your time management skill is lacking they will not have any reason to respect it, and you won’t have much ground to stand on when they show up late or not at all.
Will eventually find a stylist who does honor their time
They will be understanding the first time. They probably will be the second as well, but I can guarantee you that the frustration will kick in. Consistency in being inconsistent isn’t what a client wants when they are paying for a service. It’s inevitable that these guests will eventually find another hairstylist that respects their time more than you do.
The day will come when a family emergency or a sickness causes you to have to reschedule your day(s.) This is normal, this is appropriate, and if you’re not someone who typically moves clients around they won’t even question it. Most clients will respond respectfully and be willing to work around your schedule to find another time or day to get their service done. As long as you don’t make a habit out of skipping out on clients for the beach day of, your retention rate and respect from clients will be far greater.