Marketing Insight: 5 tips to keep customers
After seven years of loyal service (on my part), I let my hairdresser go. As any woman can tell you, one of her most important relationships is the one with her hairdresser. It was a tough decision, but as a marketing specialist and a customer, I noticed my hairdresser made some basic marketing mistakes.
Listen to your customers: I’d been trying to grow my hair for two years and keep my bangs long. (I have forehead issues.) For some reason, my hairdresser snipped my ends when I wasn’t paying attention. I figured this out after a year when my hair only “grew” about half-an-inch longer.
Marketing Tip#1: If a client requests a certain strategy and it doesn’t negatively impact their brand or their ROI, then do it. If your client doesn’t feel listened to, they’ll question your professionalism as well as how much you understand their needs.
Stay fresh and current: My hair is wavy but my hairdresser always cut it wet. The problem is that it dries wavy and doesn’t lie straight. Now, I don’t have the skills to style my hair the same way she did, so for several weeks between appointments my bangs looked uneven. My new hairdresser dry cuts my hair. Problem solved.
Marketing Tip#2: Good marketers stay current and learn all they can about trends and how people respond to new marketing methods. Given the Internet and social media, marketing is no longer a one-way conversation. Those who don’t stay current are considered out-of-date and not engaging with clients at key touch points.
Small gestures count: I got to know my hairdresser quite well and found out when her birthday was. Every year, I gave her a card and a small gift. We really connected on many levels so I thought it was a nice gesture. The thing is, I was the client and it would have meant a lot had she even texted me on my birthday.
Marketing Tip#3: Small gestures count. When a client mentions they are going on holiday or have an important event with family, it’s good to ask them about it. Send a follow-up email, ask about events or reward their loyalty with a small gesture and clients will know that they are valued on more than one level.
Do damage control: See Marketing Lesson #1. The side effect of having bangs that were too short was that I burned my forehead with a flatiron when I tried to straighten them. When I mentioned this to my hairdresser, and showed her the burns, her response? A noncommittal “Hmm.”
Marketing Tip#4: Handle damage control with basic PR skills. What are they? Acknowledge the issue, admit responsibility and offer a solution. The worst thing a marketer can do is to pretend they didn’t know about an isssue. Even if it was a client’s issue, acknowledge the error and offer ways to solve it and prevent it from happening again.
Don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach: On occasion, other clients arrived while I was still getting my hair done. Imagine the horror when some of us discovered we had the exact same hairstyle, colour and foils done. Aack.
Marketing Tip#5: Even if two clients have the same type of business, don’t market their products or services the same way. Every business had a unique marketing proposition or target audience so spend the time getting to know your client and their customers, and then create a custom strategy just for them.
‘Nuff said. I’m late for a hair appointment!