Have you ever wondered where your favorite client Becky went?

She’d been with you for years and even followed you from your old salon to your new suite. And then, all of a sudden, you notice you haven’t seen her in a few months. You reach out, but she doesn’t respond. The struggle is real. 

I wanted to hear from real clients about what makes them decide to move on, so I went to the people (i.e. I asked my network on Instagram and Facebook). Their stories on why they left shocked me. 

Some of the behaviors people described or the conversations stylists had in front of their clients, blew me away. But what was more interesting was how many patterns I started to see. So, if you’re wondering why your client retention is low, here are seven of the most common mistakes that send clients packing. 

1. The stylist doesn’t listen. 

Don’t like feedback? Well, you’re in the wrong business. Not only did people tell me that they quit going to a stylist who didn’t listen when it had to do with their style, but many of them also mentioned that he or she wasn’t paying attention to their needs “in general”. To combat this, I recommend you extend your new client consultation anywhere between 15-30 minutes. This ensures you’ll have enough time to listen to your client and that you’re on the same page before you move forward. 

2. The client got bored

Don’t just assume that Little Susie wants to be 7N for the rest of her life. Keep up your education so you have fresh new ideas to share with your clients. Always offer new color options or highlight options to brighten up around their face if you feel it is a fit. As a stylist, you’re the expert and that means offering up new ideas and style options.

3. Gossiping…

…about everyone and everything on the styling floor. What the heck?! I thought high school was over? This is a big no-no in life and certainly in the salon. If you work with other stylists, you always want to keep it professional. 

4. They felt their stylist overcharged them (or you charged them something different every time).

This is super important: in your consults, make sure to talk about price with all new clients. The client can then ask you questions before you start. Even with returning clients, always be upfront. If you’re changing your pricing on services, over-communicate that in advance. And no hidden fees! Don’t ask them if they want a blow-dry without telling them there is a styling fee. Keep it consistent, keep it open, keep it honest. 

5. The salon was dirty! 

Oof. This is a big one for me. Cleaning your station, brushes, and your work area between clients is key. Clients do not want to see a pile of hair under their feet when they are sitting in your chair. This is particularly true right now when sanitation is not only important, it’s government-ordered. Even if you’re following all the rules, a messy salon feels dirty.

6. The stylist talks about her/himself and airs their dirty laundry. 

That’s just a no-no. Be professional. Pamper and love your clients from the time they walk in until the time they leave. I practice the 80/20 rule. You talk only 20 percent of the time, and you listen to them for the rest of the session. Of course, you are going to engage with your clients! But if you find yourself talking more than the client, scale it back. You can do this by educating them on the product or their service or redirect it back to them by asking a question.

7. The stylist overbooks and/or (usually and!) tends to run behind. 

Your clients want to feel special, and they deserve to feel special. Their experience and time matter. If they feel like they are being pushed out, or moved from one chair to the next, or if you’re constantly running 15 minutes behind, they will start to feel like just a number. 

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Be mindful of how your clients feel while in your chair. Make them feel like it’s the first time they sat down every time. Pay attention to detail. Go the extra mile. Be willing to do the things for your clients that other stylists don’t want to do.