Most salon owners I know roll into every new year cashed-up AF because of the December silly season, but I also know that means a lot of those salons hit a slump around February every year when the craziness dies down. Why is that? There’s no doubt it’s a flow-on effect from what happened six weeks earlier.
Did you let your customer service standards fly out the window because it was too busy?
Did you forget to rebook your clients because you pushed them out the door to start your next client who had been waiting 40 minutes?
Or did they buy so many Christmas product packs that they don’t need any home hair care now?
I love the end of Summer. It’s my favourite time of year. While financially this time of year in my salons doesn’t ever match December, we definitely don’t see a dip in sales either. I hate
that comment, “it’s our quiet time”, is it? What have you done to rectify that ‘quiet time’ that seems to happen every year? We’ve learnt lessons from all the years before and we carefully plan to stay ahead of the slump.
First things first, PLAN AHEAD and don’t rely on booking your clients one appointment in advance. All of our clients are booked three to six appointments a head, ALL of them. This means there’s minimal ‘quiet weeks’ and it means my stylists are working at maximum capacity majority of their working days. That’s not to say that clients don’t reschedule, they do, but it limits their ability to move around as we are very booked out, so clients prioritise
their hair and make their pre-booked appointment fit into their life.
Keeping your clients and stylists organized with their appointments also means you spread all appointments out evenly throughout Summer, rather than seeing 800 clients Christmas week then having an empty appointment book for the weeks following, then getting slammed again six weeks later when all the Christmas week clients are in regrowth hell.
While everyone gets wrapped up in the hype of Christmas craziness and the silly season, things get forgotten. I get it, my employees are human, their focus switches to other things, like trying to stick to schedule and jam in a lunch break (let’s be real, a girls gotta eat) so expecting them to remember everything when they’re under extra pressure and working overtime is unrealistic. This is the time of year I want to reduce stress as much as possible
and lower time spent at point-of-sale, so no need to pre-book appointments, its already done a few months earlier.
Getting back to December, how many salons do “Ten Days of Xmas” nowadays? If I had a dollar for every one of those salons, I’d have enough for a new Valentino handbag. Literally.
Look, I’m not slamming anyone’s marketing, but how does that really work for you? I can’t stand copy + paste marketing (AKA she’s doing it so I’m gonna do it) and to be completely honest, this is something we played with a few years ago and all it did was generate crazy amounts of product sales over that ten days, matched with a whole lot of extra work for my stylists. Good? No! Terrible, actually.
“Hey January, I have absolutely zero retail to sell, and none of my clients need home hair care because I upsold the shit out of them during December and now they have a lifetime of shampoo.” That’s reality. Oh yeah, and now you have to pay your supplier for all the Xmas packs you just sold to your client, and no cashflow to do so.
Have you ever thought of holding off some of those awesome home hair care packs for the New Year? Clients tend to be a bit more cashed up because Christmas is well and truly behind us, and packs tend to push your clients to buy things they wouldn’t necessarily purchase – who doesn’t love a free styling product with Shampoo + Conditioner purchase?
If you have an awesome supplier (and a solid relationship with your rep) there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to negotiate 90-day accounts for the additional stock such as packs. If your supplier is smart, they’ll work with you because they want the extra sales too.
Otherwise, pre-pay what you can rather than eating up all the extra Christmas cashflow.
Last but not least, don’t forget your customer service and client retention strategies just because some of your staff are on Summer leave. We follow up every new client for feedback after their initial appointment with us. I think it would be downright annoying to do this after every visit, so beyond their first visit, we then follow up everyone who’s visited us in the past twelve weeks at July (new financial year) and January (new calendar year).
The best thing about this is it pumps up your reviews online creating more interaction, and usually prompts clients to contact you if they’d gotten wrapped up in the silly season themselves.
Once the crazy season is over, we utilise this time to really spend time reviewing our procedures and processes across the board, and client feedback is the best way to do that.
While the rare one-star review cuts a hole in my heart, don’t get butthurt by clients giving you feedback, you need it to facilitate growth and meet the demands of the ever-changing market. Instead, utilise the awesome ideas you get to set you apart from the other 22,000 salons in Australia.
We work to gain client feedback all year round, but we spend extra time on it at the beginning of every year, you know, that ‘new year, new me’ bullshit? Make your salon bigger and better than ever, too, and stay ahead of the slump.
What the new year means for Caitlyn Menzel Coaching is that I am also opening my books to new clients again, so if you want to be a part of the awesome stuff we’re doing, get in touch XX