Keep Your Clients Coming Back for More During COVID-19
It’s no secret that 2020 has been immensely challenging. Almost every industry has been affected and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but arguably, customer service professions where hands-on, up-close-and-personal contact is required have been hit exceptionally hard,
Unfortunately—as barbers—that means we have been hit exceptionally hard.
It might feel challenging just to stay afloat right now. And with that in mind, you’re probably wondering why we’re comin’ at you with a blog about customer retention. But that’s the thing—customer retention is a huge piece of the success puzzle for customer-service based industries (like barbering).
Why? Because it’s wildly more cost-effective to retain customers than to acquire customers. Truly—it’s much more expensive to try to attract new customers than to just keep the customers you’ve already got.
Obviously, we’re not saying you should ever turn down new customers (or not try to attract them), but during a pandemic when resources are low and profit margins are uncertain, dedicating your effort and money toward retaining customers could be a serious saving grace.
Ready to start retaining those customers? Let’s get to it. Read up on a few of our starter strategies below, but remember, this isn’t the end-all-be-all of customer retention.
Must-Know Tips for Customer Retention During the Pandemic
There are thousands of unique, creative ways to retain your customer base, and every shop is going to be different. So use these tips to get the ball rollin’, but don’t sweat it if other ideas work better for you!
All that matters is that you keep your customers and maintain your shop—the how behind that will look different for everyone.
Focus on Providing Valuable, Virtual Services
It’s no secret that much of our in-person contact has been restricted—and who knows how long we’ll have to continue limiting the number of clients we can let in and out of shops? You guess is as good as ours.
Switching your focus to providing valuable, virtual services can be a great way to retain your regulars. These folks already know how talented you are, so you don’t need to convince them of that—you just need to show them you can offer them exceptional value if they choose to stick with you.
Create how-to classes, online tutorials, virtual appointments for consults, and even online buying guides for products to help offer your clients a few affordable, but invaluable, services.
You can even offer up free content as a way to entice your clients to stick with you—blog posts, live Q&A sessions, zoom happy hours, meet-and-greets, etc.
Gas Up Those Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are excellent ways to keep your clients and attract new ones.
A loyalty program—sometimes called a referral program or a rewards program—is a unique system you create to incentivize your clients to return to you time and again for services. Loyalty programs are wholly unique to the shop that designs them, and when done right can be excellent ways to retain clients.
If you don’t have a loyalty program—or you have one but it needs some updating—now is the perfect time to design one for your shop. Remember, there’s no one way to go about this, but ultimately, it needs to technically benefit you “more” than it benefits your clients—that type of system can sometimes be tricky to design.
Looking for some loyalty program tips? Check out our post here for a run-down.
Upsell Your Retail Products
Many barbers have already had to face the hard reality that life in the shop has changed substantially—many of us can’t rely on padding our profit by fitting in as many clients as possible in a day.
The restrictions, regulations, and limits won’t allow it, and honestly, it’s not a smart choice for the overall good of public health.
Switching your focus to upselling your retail products can make up that gap you might be feeling. Obviously, only push products you believe in and would normally recommend but try to dedicate more time to selling in addition to providing services. It might feel like a strange shift at first, but once you see the fruits of labor, you’ll likely get the hang of it.
Get Direct Customer Feedback
There’s no better feedback than direct feedback—especially if you want to make real, actionable change. Your customers are the perfect people to get feedback from because they’re the people you’re trying to retain.
They’ll provide you with the critiques, comments, and compliments you need to know where you’re missing the mark, what you’re doing right, and how you can improve their experience.
Remember, it’s not enough to just get feedback from your clients—you need to analyze it and put it into action, too. Otherwise, there’s no point in feedback in the first place.
Emphasize Your Brand Initiative
Telling you to focus on your brand initiatives right now might seem a little weird—you’re probably thinking something like, “who has time for that? I need to focus on saving my shop right now.”
That’s a fair mindset—but hear us out.
When you spend time working on your brand, building your brand, and promoting your brand, you’re ultimately creating seamless ways to retain your customers.
Why? Because people are more likely to stick with brands and purchase from brands that they believe in, feel connected to, and are personally invested in. Without a strong brand initiative, it’s unlikely you’re able to bridge that connection that so many clients need in order to be loyal to you.
Take this time to focus on your brand, think about your initiatives, and think about how you can better communicate your why to your customers—that’s going to help keep more clients on board in the long run.
Not sure how to go about the branding thing? Check out our post here for more information on branding, brand identity, and brand in general.
Do you have some shop-specific tips for keeping your regulars coming back for more? Share them with us! This community is all about dropping great knowledge and helping each other grow, which is why we always include a comment section below our blogs.
If you’ve got some tips, tricks, or strategies that have worked for customer retention in your barbershop, share that wisdom with the crew!
Looking for other helpful tips for enduring the pandemic? Check out our regularly updated blog on NAOB. We’ve got regular resources coming at you to help you weather the storm, support your business, and even thrive despite the chaos.