entrepreneurship

Maximizing Customer Relationships Part 4: The Follow-Up

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Congratulations—you’ve made it to the final part of my series on Maximizing Customer Relationships! 

To begin, let’s recap Parts 1, 2, and 3. In Part 1, you learned the importance of standing out from the crowd to get clients in your door. In Part 2, I reminded you that the little things mean everything, including the details that a customer experiences before they buy from you. In Part 3, we focused on WOWing customers during their visit and checkout process. Finally, we’ve made it to Part 4 which is all about the follow-up. After Part 4, you will have all seven of my secrets to maximize customer relationships and run a fabulous business! 

Secret #6: The Follow-Up

Oftentimes, the follow-up is the missing link to maximizing customer relationships which is why I consider this the most important secret! A lot of businesses provide you a top-notch experience when you’re visiting them, but then you never hear from them again. Have you heard the saying: out of sight, out of mind? Well, this is why the follow-up is so important! 

So, how do you follow up with your guests? While the possibilities are truly endless, here are a few tried-and-true ways that we follow up with our clients.

Surveys

Surveys can be scary for a lot of people because they put you in a vulnerable position. After all, there is always the possibility that you could receive negative feedback. But, you cannot reach your full potential from a position of fear or ignorance. Instead, you need to look at surveys as a great learning opportunity! 

At Be Inspired Salon, we send a survey to every new guest after their first service. We ask questions like: Was the salon clean? Was your stylist professional? Did your stylist show you how to use your products? (If you want to know more about our survey, connect with me!)

Marketing Emails

Friends, marketing emails are not dead. Did you know it takes an adult 21 times to remember new information? That means you need to consistently remind your clients why they made a great choice to do business with you. For my salon, this means we are always reminding guests about Meet Your Stylist (remember, this is how we stand out from the crowd before a client buys from us), our VIP Program, and our points program. 

Take Notes

To really shine in the follow-up, you might need to take some notes on your clients. Some people have a natural gift for this and they simply remember every detail about a person. But, for most of us, we need to take a few notes about our clients to remember their interests, names of their children, upcoming vacations, where they work, etc. Think about creating “customer profiles” to help you form a deeper connection with your clients! 

Personalized Emails

At my salon, we encourage our stylists to send check-in emails to their clients. If a guest purchased a new product, or changed from blonde to brunette, the stylist can send a quick email asking how the change is going. This is so quick and easy, but it leaves a lasting impression with your clients! 

Cards

When was the last time you received a handwritten thank-you card? Better yet, when was the last time that you received a handwritten thank-you card from your hair salon? For most of you, the answer is never! We send thank-you cards every week to clients who refer new guests and brides who were booked with us the weekend before. Additionally, we send cards for graduations, new babies, marriages, new businesses, and get-well wishes. 

Show Up

Show up for your clients like they show up for you. Do you have a client who has been planning a charity event for the last six months? How awesome would it be to show up at their event to demonstrate how much you care about their success! If you have a client in the hospital, maybe you stop in for a quick visit during your lunch? What kind of impact would that make for your relationship and their loyalty?  

Remember, the little things mean everything, and you will truly maximize your relationship by following up with your clients!

Secret #7: Accountability

Hopefully, you’re fired up about all the fun and exciting ways that you can WOW your clients before, during, and after the buying process. But, now comes the tough part—how do you stay accountable for all the initiatives that you’ve implemented? Holding yourself and your team accountable will separate you from your competition. 

Excellence Trackers

My stylists all have excellence trackers to hold themselves and the team accountable. An excellence tracker is like a goals sheet. For example, my stylists reach out to all guests who canceled, but did not rebook. They also reach out to guests who have visited twice or more to ask for a Google review. Every week, they have goals regarding phone calls, emails, pre-booking, sending cards, etc. and their promotions are tied to their performance trackers. Basically, if you want to move up in this career, you need to meet the goals on your excellence tracker. 

Meetings 

You need to check-in with your team on a consistent and routine basis. At my salon, we have weekly team meetings where everyone submits their performance tracker. At the meeting, everyone can share what they have been working on in the last week—including me! This is a fabulous way to hold everyone accountable.

Secret Shoppers

Yes, we really do this, and you should, too! As a business owner or manager, you cannot be at your business 100% of the time and handle 100% of client visits. So, a secret shopper program is an effective quality control technique. For our secret shopper program, I break down our training manual to a six-page form for the guest to fill out. For instance, our training manual indicates that a phone call should follow XYZ steps—then, the secret shopper form asks on a scale of 1-5 if these steps were met. 

Like surveys, secret shoppers can be scary, but they give you a glimpse into what things are like when you’re not around. At my salon, I learned that we had some consistent mistakes at the front desk, so we had to tighten that area up. Without the secret shopper program, I wouldn’t have known that!  

Now that you’ve mastered all seven of my secrets, take a moment to write down your three biggest takeaways. In three months, revisit your list and see what progress you’ve made! Do you have other suggestions to maximize customer relationships? I would love to hear from you, so make sure to connect with me! 

Maximizing Customer Relationships Part 1: Stand Out From The Crowd

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In your current work, do you interact with customers? For most people, the answer is a loud YES! For better or worse, customers are often at the heart of most companies, so maximizing relationships is essential for building a reputable and profitable business.

Whether you’re an employer, employee, independent contractor, or entrepreneur, you need to WOW your customers before, during, and after the buying process. Trust me, I’ve been in all of these positions in the beauty industry, and I’m excited to share with you my seven secrets for maximizing customer relationships!

First, take a moment to reflect on this question: what does it mean to YOU to maximize customer relationships? Spend a minute jotting down a few thoughts. Do you have your answers? Here’s what maximizing customer relationships means to me:

  • Increased revenue and decreased discounts and deals
  • Increased positive morale among the team

To achieve these results and others you’ve identified, you need to follow Secret #1: Stand Out From the Crowd! If you want to WOW customers, you have to be different from your competitors. Thinking about your business, how do you already stand out from the crowd?

When I ask this question during workshops, attendees often give an answer similar to: “We provide our clients amazing customer service.” Although this is a genuine answer and customer service is indeed important, I bet that your competitor says the same thing. Who wouldn’t say that they give great customer service, right? Keeping that in mind, how else can you stand out from the crowd?

As you might know, I founded Be Inspired Salon in Madison, WI in 2010. Working in the beauty industry, maximizing customer relationships is the key to success. The hard truth about hair salons is that the national average retention rate is only 30%. That means only 3 out of 10 clients will return to a hair salon for a second time! Considering those statistics, we need to continuously WOW our customers, and we do that by standing out from the crowd.

At Be Inspired Salon, we separate ourselves from the competition by focusing on three specific services: curly haircutting and styling, bridal hair and makeup, and hair color. It is tempting to try and be good at everything, but finding your niche is what will make you stand out from the crowd. Think about some famous brands—you will often identify just one product or service that separates them from their competitors. For instance, Pandora Jewelry makes more than just charm bracelets, but that’s what most people identify with their brand. There’s so many more Converse—Chuck Taylor All-Stars, Apple—iPhone, Chanel—perfume, Ugg Australia—sheepskin boots, Fossil—watches . Are you following?  All of these brands create more than one product, but it’s only one product that makes them stand out from the crowd.     

Now, think about how YOU will be unique, and don’t be scared to think outside of the box! Standing out from the crowd is the first secret to maximizing customer relationships, and I have six more that I can’t wait to share with you! Make sure to check back for the next post in this four-part series when I share secrets to maximize relationships before the buying process and during the first purchase.

Do you have other ways that you stand out from the crowd? Engage with me on social media; I can’t wait to connect with you!

What Not To Do As An Entrepreneur | Part 1: HIRING

I am super excited to kick off a three-part series about What Not To Do As An Entrepreneur! First, I promise that this series will not be negative, and you won’t close your computer crying with crushed dreams. But, I do want to get real and share some tips that I wish I was told when I started my entrepreneurial journey.

As entrepreneurs, we are often told what we should do. Go to this event, hire that consultant, start this investment. But, what about the habits, partnerships, and decisions that we should avoid? A great quote to reflect on states: “success is what you don’t do.” Well, what the heck does that mean? Think about a weight loss journey. What you shouldn’t do is go to Happy Hour three nights a week, nor should you eat processed foods. When you stop these negative actions, the positive actions can actually be effective! But without—it’s unlikely you’d achieve your goal. Hence, success is often what you say no to.

As an entrepreneur who manages five brands, I have made my fair share of mistakes (keep reading and you will see what I’m talking about). To be honest, you will still make mistakes after reading this series—every entrepreneur does—but I hope that I will help you avoid the big ones and learn from the little ones.

Do not co-own; there can only be one CEO.

There’s a reason companies have one CEO. Have you ever partnered with someone? How did that go? Typically, partnerships will not work because there is not clarity around their roles. Have you ever taken a DiSC personality assessment? Well, I will share that I’m a D—if you know me, this is no surprise. D’s are dominant, driven, and task-oriented. Primarily, I just want to get it done. For me, another owner will not work, period.  Someone (me!) has to be in charge. I believe that the 80/20 rule applies here: 80% of the time co-owning will not work.  

Do not get desperate and make impulsive decisions.

 I once heard a great quote that states: “If you want a lot, make it easy; if you want the best, make it hard.” I have impulsively hired and really regretted it, so take your time!

Another great piece of advice I was given was, “Be slow to hire and quick to fire.” If someone isn’t getting it done within their current role, you may try to reposition them. If that still doesn’t work, you have to let that person go. Deep down, you will know if that person is not working for your team. Channel your inner Olivia Pope and trust your gut.

Think about these impulsive decisions that you may be guilty of: have you ever joined something that you really can’t afford, then totally regretted it? Maybe you purchased an expensive app that you have only used twice, or bought a business membership that really wasn’t worth it? Now, you are stuck with a service that you can’t afford. You get the point. Do not get desperate. 

Do not hire the cheapest; do not hire based on price period.

This is a really challenging lesson for me and one that is hard to admit. So, I am going to be candid and share a tough experience. When I first hired a software developer for Meet Your Stylist, I thought that he could build the right software for the right price. However, I quickly learned that he didn’t actually like to work. Rant Warning: the project took a year longer than it was supposed to, he was terrible at communicating, he would disappear for days, countless technical glitches…trust me, I could keep going.

At that point, I had one customer and the software was continuously failing. Although my one customer was very gracious and understanding, I was completely embarrassed. I was freaking out and totally scrambling for a solution.

When I consulted with a reputable software company, they explained that the developer’s software was a nightmare—there was code on top of code on top of code. Basically, I would need to start over if I wanted the software to work. That hiring mistake cost me $30,000. I took that mistake up the you-know-what. Long story short, if you think a project will cost you $40,000, budget $80,000—you will either pay in dollars or tears.  

Do not do all the work yourself.  

If you try to do it all, the work will be mediocre. ActionCOACH founder Brad Sugars explained this best when he said: “Saving a wage is costing you a fortune.” Eventually, you need to find strengths in others and build your tribe. As an entrepreneur, what do you do that you aren’t that great at, or drains your energy? Hire those tasks out. Do you struggle with product photography? Hire an intern! Do you hate writing your blog? Hire a blogger! Don’t try to be great at everything. Be great at being an entrepreneur, and fill in the rest by building an awesome tribe!

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Which of these tips comes as a surprise to you? Share your thoughts below! Then, check back for Part 2: Money, Money, Money where I dish on some important financial decisions to avoid!