It’s been my experience that male clients do not get looked after in the same manner as female clients. Generally with ladies there is a good consultation upfront, a record card is created and notes are kept for every visit. Perhaps this is only due to the fact that more ladies have colour done which makes it essential to store the formulas or perhaps it is because ladies are a little more concerned with who cuts their hair and what it ends up looking like?
In my last three visits to random salons my name and cell number were written into the appointment book only. I did not see anyone adding me to a manual client card, let alone a computerised client record.
During one of my visits when the stylist asked me “So, what are we doing today?” he immediately jumped back in before I could answer and said “Please don’t say the same as last time, because I can’t recall what we did last time”.
I found this fascinating. To this stylist (and salon) I did not exist. Not only did they not have any record of my contact details but they had no record of what I had at the previous visit. If I never returned not only would they never know but it seemed that they didn’t care. I’m sure that if you asked them they would say that they cared and definitely wanted my business but their actions in no way indicated this.
The way I see it most men have pretty simple needs when it comes to their hair. Generally they need to have their hair cut about every 4-6 weeks and event that they do not want to make a big fuss over. Some gents haven’t changed their hairstyles in decades and usually only think about it when they are out shopping at the mall with their wife and they walk past a salon. They’ll pop in and ask if they can be squeezed in for a quick cut. If yes, great – if not then they’ll try the next salon down the passage. This is very different to women who will visit the hair salon and even hire a make-up artist to do their make up before a function they are about to attend.
Men’s need for attention in this regard is therefore generally much lower than women’s but I feel that men are neglected completely with very poor record keeping and communication taking place.
This is most likely why a man will visit three different hair salons in a row to get his hair cut.
Know Your Client
If a gent returns to the salon and keeps returning month after month for years to come then you will get to know them. These are not the clients that you need to go out of your way to get to know. The clients you need to know are the first timers, the ones who try your salon once and just as likely to visit other salons out of pure convenience. You need to hook them early and give them a reason to come back to your salon.
You will never hook them if you don’t at least get their contact details into some sort of record card that will be available for future use.
In my experience I have never received any follow up from a salon to the effect of “Dear Chris. Thank you for visiting our salon, we’d love to have you back…”
Therefore, get a first name, last name, cell phone number and email address. It’s not good enough to only get a first name because you will end up with 25 Johns on the system. The same applies for last names. If you only get Mr Smith it won’t be much help.
One vital piece of information you need to indicate on their record card (and in most cases should not need to ask for) is their Gender. It’s not that you won’t know their gender when they arrive for their hair cut and need to double check their record card but rather that when you want to generate reports later your computer system won’t know unless it is recorded on the record card.
A cell number and email address enable you to communicate with clients using the most efficient and cost effective methods.
If client’s are not willing to give you at least their first name and last name as well as a cell number then you have not done your homework and have not prepared the reasons why you would need this information. You need to add them to your database, keep their history and send them appointment reminders or inform them of a possible problem that affects their appointment time.
Personally I think it is laziness and a lack of understanding on the staff member’s side that leads them to forego proper client information rather than resistance from clients due to privacy.
Know their habits
Part of knowing your male clients is knowing their habits. How often do they visit, how much do they spend, what do they buy?
When you set up your software system, ensure that you do it in such a way that you are able to easily identify your gents services and products.
Name and categorise the services items in an obvious manner, ie “Gents Cut” in a “Gents” category. This will enable you to easily generate reports of how many gents services were sold, when they were sold, how much they were sold for and so on.
What is critical is that sales are captured correctly ensuring that the clients name is inserted into the sale. It is very common for laziness to creep back in at the reception desk and simply not enter the clients name on the sale. If sales are not entered correctly then you forfeit the ability to report on what the client purchased, how many male clients have visited etc.
Communicate effectively with them
SMS communication has become the standard for communicating short messages to clients. These will include appointment reminders, birthday wishes and specials amongst other things.
The first follow up is probably the most critical as it lets them know that you matter to them and that you want them to return.
Specials and birthday wishes are always good but should not be the only reason why a client should return to your salon. Simple courtesy and good service go a long way.
Don’t waste time targeting men with ladies information like a special on ladies cuts unless you want them to buy something special for their wife or girlfriend, which is quite a clever strategy. The same can be applied for ladies purchasing for their husbands or boyfriends.
If you wish to retain Male clients then you need to act intelligently in order to do so. Acting intelligently is far simpler than you think. The first step is recognising the need to track Male clients and thereafter simply taking basic steps like capturing their contact details onto your computer system. This will go a log way in itself to make the client feel like they belong at your salon. Thereafter you can start to pull reports from your system that detail the efficacy of your male client retention and their spending habits.