Someone please explain to me the procedure for stealing a client….dumbfounded?, …me too. However, recently, this term has come up in the salon environment and it immediately propelled me into an alternate universe where ignorance is common and accountability is a four letter word. The sheer thought process that an individual must go through to ultimately conclude that client theft is the answer to the question….why has my business stagnated? is both ingenious and sad.
The rationale is almost as ridiculous as the notion that someone can steal your man….or woman. The sad part is that someone stealing something from you completely absolves you of any culpability into your own demise. Secondly, it assumes people, namely, your client or spouse is stupid. Maybe your client no longer desires your brand of kool-aid or for some strange reason needs her hair styled on a day you happen to not be available. Maybe, your client mistakenly assumes that she has the freedom to spend her money how and with whomever she pleases. What a tragic display of disloyalty for a client to try a different stylist in the same salon, I mean wouldn’t it be more respectful for that client to try out her salons most fierce adversary when she can’t get in with her regular stylist than to support her own salon by keeping the business in-house. How dreadful a thing for a client to chair hop then return to her regular stylist as if nothing ever happened…the nerve.
In my twenty years in the business, I have never once attacked or accused a fellow stylist of stealing a client from me because the question rests on a false premise, that we OWN that client. We do not own nor do we have rights to our clients, we cannot deed our clients to our successors, or include them in the sale of our salons, we cannot will them to our children as assets nor can we use them as collateral when seeking a bank loan. Clients are not our personal property….yes, our client lists are valuable and we guard their information with the fervor of a national treasure, however, you cannot count them as money in the bank until the money IS in the bank. A foolish hairstylist is one that assumes that they are the best stylist in the world and their clients be loyal to them and only them into the happily ever after…please…pride always comes just before the fall.
My recipe for salon success and client retention is simple; listen to them, use your expertise to give them what they want based on what they have, and lastly, treat them with respect and dignity at all times. If you keep your skills polished, your personal life in order (or at least to yourself) and maintain a professional demeanor, your success trajectory will always trend north and client retention will be the least of your problems.
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