In this debate, two experts discuss the importance of retaining clients versus seeking out new customers.
Jennifer Swain, owner of House of Swain, Cumbria
“I’ve been able to build a successful six figure business and become one of Great Lengths leading salons through my client loyalty. However, this wasn’t always the case. When I opened my salon in May 2006, I didn’t have enough clients to fill the week - although I’d always make out that I was fully booked to build demand. I was marketing myself as a salon that took time, care and attention over my appointments, so that over time I had built a good reputation in the area. This led to a fully booked salon and I now manage a team of eight.
"Today, 90% of my clientele are clients I have had for years. They visit regularly for hair extension application and maintenance; it’s rarely for removal. Hair extensions is a premium service, so it is important that clients feel they are in safe hands. I am also mindful never to be complacent. I introduce new services, so clients always feel that I am doing a good job and demonstrating that I value their business.
"Of course, to grow your business you need new clients. The quality and consistency of service and level of work and care means clients really value us and will tell their friends which leads to new bookings. I’m proud to say we have long-standing clients that travel to us from London, Manchester and across the North West because of our highquality service and their loyalty to us.”
Janene Hawkins-Bush, JH Collective
“Because we get a lot of one-stop clients passing through on holidays, we prioritise focusing on new, local clients. We want to make sure we are always feeding the pipeline of new business to build a strong clientele that will eventually turn into loyal clients. We’re keen to never rest on our laurels, new clients help our salons to grow and keep our teams on top of their game. Out of towners are also a great source of income and provide a boost, so it is a balancing act on where we put our focus at different times of the year. Having said that, we also look at holidaying customers as potential new clients, especially if they have second homes here, or visit the area regularly.
"We’ve had our salons long enough now to understand the ebb and flow of tourists and how this impacts our salon. We plan ahead for busy periods and make sure we have enough staff to accommodate all types of clients. Whether new or returning, clients will receive the same high-level of service. We find that new clients are also great for retail revenue. Introducing new clients to the salon means new customers for the products we stock. Again, our visiting clients often forget their shampoo, styling products, or even electricals, so we always make sure we are well stocked."
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"Of course, we put everything in place to look after our regular clients who keep us busy all year round. New clients, whether local or visiting, are also a really important aspect of our business so we have adapted to make it work.”