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The hair industry is always evolving. New hair trends and styling techniques make it imperative to keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening so that you don’t fall behind. For years, the regular use of chemical relaxers or heat styling tools made it a requirement to visit the salon at least twice a month to maintain a hairstyle and the health of your hair. Now, more women are transitioning to chemical-free styling and opting for little to no heat. There is an abundance of information online and a variety of hair products in store that make it easy for women to maintain their hair at home. Consequently, visits to the salon have declined significantly. So what is a beauty professional supposed to do? You have to evolve with the industry and adjust your business practices. Here are the top five reasons you may be losing clients and tips you can use to maintain a successful business in the beauty industry. 

No added value with service

If you are promoting and offering the same services you did ten years ago, you are losing clients. Remember, the needs of the client are changing.

Ask yourself: Does your service offerings address the needs of your clients? What makes your service special?

You have to familiarize yourself with the needs of your clients and make updates to the services you offer. You can collect this information by asking current clients what type of services they would like to receive in salon, documenting the most requested services, or reading blogs and discussion boards to see what women want and need. If you are able to address the needs of your clients and offer something different from your competitors, you can retain your current clients and attract new ones.

Lack of hair knowledge

Some professionals rarely or never invest in continuing education once they finish school. If you have not taken the time to invest in continuing education, you might be losing clients. The current consumer and client are more empowered because they have more access to information through online sources. As a result, they may challenge you and the need for your services.

Ask yourself: Are you able to effectively communicate to clients why your service is necessary for the health of their hair? Are you able to emphasize the importance of re-booking an appointment?

As licensed professionals, we are the experts and we should be able to demonstrate that through our knowledge of hair and hair care. Our clients should feel confident that you are giving them the best advice and guidance to help them achieve their hair goals. If you are not confident in your knowledge of hair, then you will be unable to communicate to a client how they would benefit from your service and expertise. Invest in increasing your hair knowledge to keep clients in your chair.

Lack of professionalism

I must admit, the hair industry is an amazing industry to have a career in because it is so fun and exciting. Working in the salon is almost like hanging out with friends all day. If you have gotten too comfortable with your clients to the point where you have lost business acumen, you are losing clients.

Ask yourself: What are your standards of professionalism? Are you on time? Are you considerate of your client’s time?

The fun, down to earth environment of a salon can sometimes lose the element of professionalism that is required to maintain a successful business.  You have to remember that although your clients may feel like friends, they are still paying customers who expect and deserve your professionalism. Refrain from gossip, be courteous and respectful, listen to your client and never deny them the proper amount of service time. Make it your aim to please your clients and you will see their repeat business.  

Lack of customer service

Client satisfaction is the best form of advertising and a satisfied customer is a result of great customer service. If you are not taking care of your customer’s needs before, during, and after an appointment, then you are losing clients.

Ask yourself: How is your level of customer service? Do you follow up with clients? Do they get reminder calls or emails regarding their appointments? The impression you give your clients regarding your business and service starts the moment they make that first phone call to schedule an appointment or walk-in the door.

If you do not have a system in place for client intake, you could be losing clients before they sit in your chair. It is important to be pleasant and make your clients feel comfortable. Create an experience during the appointment that exceeds expectations, empower your clients by giving them maintenance tips so they can care for their hair in between appointments, and most importantly, follow up with your clients after their appointment to ensure they are pleased. Profit is derived from repeat clients, so be conscious of your client’s needs at all times and you will improve your client retention.

Lack of customer appreciation

The theme for running a successful business is repeat clients. It is their loyalty and consistency that keeps your doors open. If you are not demonstrating appreciation, then you are losing clients.

Ask yourself: Do you offer special discounts for birthdays or referrals? Do you give tokens of appreciation during holidays or set aside a customer appreciation day?

Clients regularly demonstrate their appreciation for your service by adding a tip or coming back for more service. I believe, as professionals, we should be careful not to develop a selfish attitude. It is our job to serve. The relationship between you and your client should be reciprocal, and expressing appreciation is one way to show clients that you recognize they are a valuable part of your business. Remember without clients, you cannot have a successful salon.


This article is written by Dr. Kari Williams. Dr. Kari is a licensed barber, professional hair designer & stylist, natural hair care specialist, educator, hair care products consultant, board certified trichologist through the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and the Founder & CEO of Mahogany Hair Revolution Salon & Trichology Clinic. She is the current President of the California Board of Barbering & Cosmetology, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2013. Dr. Kari is also the Creator and Co-Founder of AnnCarol, a line of products formulated to achieve and maintain healthy hair. Her products can be purchased at www.anncarolproducts.com.

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