Keeping your clients satisfied is key for your salon's repeat business and referrals. But what does it take to truly delight seekers of hair, nail, and skin care? If your salon provides outstanding service and outcomes with an eye to the latest trends, what more could guests want? Which aspects of their experience matter to them?
To find out, Zenoti conducted a survey of more than 1,500 U.S. beauty and wellness consumers in 2023. This blog post presents:
- Select survey findings
- The significance of those findings for salons
- Ways to act (and react) and enhance guest satisfaction
Which methods do clients prefer when booking salon appointments?
To set the stage, know that most salon customers schedule their appointments in advance: More than half (53%) said they "rarely" or "never" just walk into a salon without a prior booking.
It might not surprise salon owners – or their front desk – that a phone call has been the most common way to book appointments, with 61% of salon customers having used that method.
Take note, however, that salon customers prefer booking online over any other method. Here are the supporting stats: #1, online booking through website or mobile app (preferred by 35% of customers); #2, booking by phone (28%); #3, in-person during a previous visit (18%); #4, text message (15%); and #5, email (5%).
With such a high percentage of salon clients picking up the phone, you could surmise that many salons are still catching up to customer preferences in the digital era: They may not offer online booking or, potentially worse, their online booking offering is frustrating or confusing, leaving clients to call the front desk instead.
Here are two more booking-related preferences: 82% of salon customers want to use their smartphone to book appointments, and 86% would like to receive reminders by text.
How to implement online booking
Give guests a choice of booking online through both your website and a mobile app. Zenoti offers an experience that is digital yet personalized. In addition to improving the guest experience, you'll expand booking opportunities as 40% of appointments are booked outside of business hours.
The in-person experience: customer frustrations
Four out of 10 salon customers say that waiting around for appointments is their biggest frustration. Picture this: Jane walks in at 10 a.m. for a haircut. She's booked for 60 minutes, but her appointment always runs long due to her hair type and texture. Now the next guest booked for 11 a.m. must wait 15 minutes, causing frustration for that guest – and stress for the stylist running late.
How to minimize the wait time for guests
Start by customizing each guest's appointment duration, based on their type of hair or service. For salons using Zenoti, that specific time period is entered into the system once – let's say Jane should get a 75-minute slot in the example above. Then, all of Jane's future bookings appear as 75 minutes. Not only does this prevent waiting-room frustration for the next guest, but it also makes for a relaxed experience for both Jane and her stylist.
Customized durations work for appointments that run shorter than usual, too. A guest who needs just 30 minutes for a haircut needn't be scheduled for the full hour, freeing up bookable time.
Staff demeanor is a source of frustration for nearly 1 in 4 salon guests. Staff who mock or trash-talk guests who just left tend not to notice that customers waiting in the lobby are paying close attention even if they seem immersed in magazines and mobile phones.
How your staff treat one another matters, too. It isn't okay for your more skilled or experienced stylists to bark orders at junior staff and apprentices. Kindness and respect shows – and clients are paying attention.
Foster a culture of positivity and mutual respect to help team members contribute to a great guest experience every step of the way.
The in-person experience: what customers want
7 out of 10 salon customers say excellent results make for a great experience. Again, no surprise there.
Always remember that a happy client can lead to another. If a guest loves her beachy waves with ombre, she'll tell her friends and perhaps give your salon a glowing review online.
To set up your service providers to deliver consistently great results, help and encourage them to stay ahead of their craft through continuing education and trend-watching. You can also have your more experienced stylists train and mentor junior staff.
Beyond delivering excellent professional results, don't underestimate the value of a simple, friendly hello when guests check in. That first minute might seem small next to an hour-long appointment, but 67% of salon guests say a warm, personal welcome defines a great salon experience.
Guests can tell when front-desk staff are going through the motions versus being genuinely friendly and welcoming. That welcome sets the tone for the rest of a guest's experience, so be sure to make this part of your front-desk training and reinforce it from time to time.
More than half of salon guests – 54% – say a quick, easy check-in defines a great experience. Instead of clients queuing up at the front desk, give them greater control with a single-tap check-in through a mobile app. It's an easy way to satisfy the 72% of guests who want to use their mobile phone to check in when they arrive.
The in-person experience: how much salon customers trust stylists and providers
The 2023 survey found that 8 out of 10 salon customers have a high level of trust in their service providers, and 34% will usually or always buy a product recommended to them. You can leverage this trust to boost your retail sales, extending each client's positive experience with product suggestions that are just right.
For example, a tech or the front desk checking out a guest for a facial can recommend a serum for home care to maintain skin health between facials. Such post-service purchases all add up to boost ticket sizes and monthly totals for your salon.
If you currently train your staff to move products by having them memorize which items complement which services, you're leaving a lot to chance. You're also making your providers work a lot harder than they have to.
Tip: How to suggest retail products for guests to buy
Your salon management software should automatically offer clients suggestions when they book online and should prompt stylists with recommendations for each visit. In addition, Zenoti also offers instant recommendations via mobile POS so your staff can easily suggest the right products during guest checkout. Eight out of 10 guests buy recommended products at least sometimes, so it's worth setting your staff up to successfully close those sales.
Extra: Give guests the convenience of tipping their providers right from their phones (71% of salon customers want to do it).
Choosing a salon: online reviews
About 9 in 10 customers will not consider a salon with an online rating lower than 4 out of 5. This finding highlights the importance of not just managing your online reputation, but proactively requesting customer feedback as part of your workflow. Prospective guests often check reviews before deciding to book, so make time to acknowledge positive reviews and address negative ones, at a minimum.
How to maximize positive guest feedback
Salons can step up their reputation management with automated review requests. For salons using Zenoti, a request for feedback is part of the automated thank-you texts that guests receive after their appointments.
This approach ensures the best chance of getting four- and five-star reviews from your most satisfied customers. Let software do the sometimes delicate job of asking for those glowing reviews – the more reviews you receive the easier it is to offset the occasional and mostly unavoidable negative reviews that can lower your overall rating.
Half of all people (51%) in the United States regularly visit a hair or beauty salon, and three in 10 say they're nail salon regulars, according to Zenoti 2023 consumer survey data. That's good news. The findings suggest a healthy pipeline of potential business for your salon.
In person, salon customers respond positively to excellent results and a warm, personal welcome. Outside of your shop, they want online booking and a mobile app to streamline every part of their journey.
Personalize your brand's customer experience even more by leveraging the trust in service providers and offering product recommendations. At checkout, a mobile POS with automatic suggestions takes the work out of this step.
Finally, online reviews are important to salon customers – and they'll use reviews as a threshold for which businesses they'll frequent, and which they won't. Monitor and respond to reviews and ask your most satisfied customers for feedback through automated review requests.