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Developing your hair extension skills and collecting a killer set of hair extension tools are only part of the process of setting up an enviable hair extension practice. One major--unforgettable--piece of the formula is securing a set of loyal hair extension clients. Whether you’re an early-career extension stylist or a long-time practitioner, it always helps to brush up on your customer service game, and today we’re dishing up some insight on the pillars of customer satisfaction, as well as how to achieve them in your salon.

In our experience, customer satisfaction boils down to 4 key objectives:

1. Making your client feel knowledgeable about and prepared for the product or service

2. Creating an environment that is comfortable and personal, and a process that is convenient

3. Ensuring that customer expectations are managed and routinely, predictably met (or exceeded)

4. Designing follow-up services such that they are unambiguous and allow for nearly effortless maintenance

And customer loyalty benefits from one additional goal:

5. Producing a brand and end result that is distinctive, bestowing status and prestige upon your hair extension client.

Related: How to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Salon

When it comes to turning run-of-the-mill salon patrons into hair extension clients, there are a couple of strategies that you can use to target each of the key objectives listed above.

*Need to stock up on Marketing Materials, tools, or hair extensions? Take advantage of free shipping on all orders over $50! Only available April 2018--visit the website now to start shopping!

  • Keep educational materials on hand that potential hair extension clients can take home with them, as a way to introduce them to hair extension terms, concepts, and norms. This could include hair extension sourcing information, an aftercare guide, a swatch of the hair itself, and even your business’s manifesto. We recommend creating an easy-to-read pamphlet or brochure that is both eye-catching and reasonably thorough (think a birdseye view of the general themes, rather than an exhaustive, potentially intimidating compendium), so your hair extension client has a resource they can return to--or even pass along to their friends! Feel free to draw on the ample educational material on our Resources page for this purpose.
  • Offer test strand trials for curious clients. Collect excess strands from previous extension appointments (ideally in a variety of methods), and install a single strand in the client’s hair so that they can get a preview of the process, the look, and the feel of the hair. Not only will this help your client feel more comfortable with the idea of extensions and begin visualizing their potential “end look”, but this is also an excellent first step toward managing customer expectations.
  • Make your salon an inviting space, with plenty of comfortable nooks and a blend of public and private areas. Not all customers like to have their transformation on show for people in the waiting area to see, so be willing to accommodate different hair extension clients’ preferences with room dividers and other modular accessories. Consider throwing in a personal touch like a complimentary beverage, a scalp massage, a niche collection of books or artworks, or even a gift shop to differentiate your salon from others (and potentially acquire another stream of revenue). There’s a lot you can do to customize your own booth, even--from mood lighting, to a digital frame showcasing tagged photos from your hair extension clients’ social media pages, to a classic vase of well-arranged flowers.
  • Improve your salon’s day-to-day management process by introducing a receptionist, adopting a new scheduling program, or utilizing the Donna Bella Hair Extension Pro App. Make it as easy as possible for your client to book an appointment, and consider automating the process of sending info and reminders (you can do this with automation tools like Zapier or IFTTT).
  • Iron out your consultation technique. The consultation is the main stage for setting client expectations, as this is the appointment where you’ll discuss such matters as upkeep, wear-and-tear, frequently asked questions, etc. And, again, provide your hair extension client with some DB educational content--at this point in the process, you could even share such resources as DB blog posts, videos, and tutorials, granting your client ongoing access to new hair extension content and thereby initiating them into the brand.

Related: Having a great consultation: Stylist Edition

  • Always pre-schedule follow-up appointments--especially for new hair extension clients--and maintain regular correspondence with clients to keep them on track with their maintenance. You can even incentivize them with discounts, additional complimentary services, and seasonal gifts which will get them excited to participate in the hair extension process.
  • Consider creating a post-installation induction program that your hair extension clients can use in the first few weeks following their hair extension application. This could include simple prompts or directives for the day, so that the client will focus on mastering one element of hair extension upkeep at a time, thereby preventing feelings of overwhelm or incompetence. The bonus here is that, although you’re exerting your insight and influence in order to shape the client’s behavior, the client will perceive this as a semi-autonomous learning opportunity, developing their confidence and sense of comfort with the product. You can deliver the series of prompts via email, by text, or by some other method more suited to your client’s tastes (SnapChat is a good option, too!).
  • Develop an appealing loyalty program in your salon (or perfect it, if you already have one!). Loyalty programs are an excellent way to reward hair extension clients for their investment, as well as a way to encourage friendly competition and distinction amongst them. Your loyalty program could operate based on the amount of money invested by your hair extension clients (much like our own Loyalty Rewards Program), by time commitment or successful completion of certain milestones like follow-up appointments (similar to our Certified Rewards Program), or by referrals of new hair extension clients. You could even have VIP accommodations for your most engaged customers--like Donna Bella’s VIP Boost. Rewards for participation could range from free or discounted products, to complimentary services, to exclusive events, and much, much more!
  • Spend time elevating your brand as part of your core business practice. Create a compelling website, an active social media presence, and a network of industry contacts that can help you to increase the name-recognition of your salon. Send some of your stylists to major industry events in order to represent your brand, or show up yourself to workshops, trade shows, and conferences, accepting educator roles or speaking gigs when possible. All of these efforts will have the net effect of improving your salon’s prestige, which effectively improves your clients’ prestige as well. Who doesn’t like to be an early adopter of a super trendy product? Same goes for the early patrons of super successful salons.

Related: Building Your Brand

  • Last but not least, achieving an authentic, personal relationship with your hair extension clients is the surest way to elicit loyalty. At the end of the day, your hair extension clients are people who want to feel pampered and supported in a holistic sense--not just when it comes to their hair. Position yourself as an ally, confidante, or even friend to your clients, celebrating their successes and coaching them through their setbacks. Keep your clients in mind even when they’re not in the salon, and reach out to them on occasion to see how they’re doing with their self-image, offering insight, resources, and services to make them feel as great about themselves as possible.

Related: Turn Thank You Cards into Cash

What are your tips for building a loyal hair extension clientele? Let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to take advantage of free shipping on all orders over $50--only available April 2018! Visit the Donna Bella website today and start shopping.