Trust: The Key to Retaining Salon Clients 


In the salon industry, client retention is one of the most important factors in running a successful business­ – yet, it's one of the most difficult things to achieve! We've covered ways to increase client retention previously, but what is truly at the core of making a connection with clients? Industry expert and author of the book Leave Your Mark…The Thinking, Skills and Behaviors of Salon InfluencersJay Williams, shares his knowledge on the connection between client retention and trust.

Why is trust important? 

Trust plays a role in all of our day-to-day interactions. According to social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, we inherently evaluate whether we can trust a person or a situation when we  first encounter it. If clients are interacting with you as a stylist and trying to determine whether they can trust you, then trust becomes your most important commodity!

The good news is that you already have a way to measure trust! Metrics like retention, referrals, re-bookings, and reviews are all affected by trust. If your retention rate is 60%, then that means 60% of your clients trust you enough to re-book you, refer you, and even write a great review about you! So, how do you build trust with your clients? The first step towards building trust is understanding what components make up trust.

What does it mean when your clients trust you?

We've established that trust is important, but what makes up the concept of trust? Trust is made up of two things: Character and Competence


1.    Intent: Why do you do the things you do? If you are recommending a retail product to a client, what are your intentions? Are you recommending a product to help them look good and feel good, or simply to gain a sale?

2.    Integrity: Do you do what you say you're going to do? If your client says she wants a hairstyle that is low maintenance and easy to style, do you deliver that hairstyle? 


1.    Capability: Can you do it? What are your skills, licenses, and certifications? How many years of training do you have? 

2.    Results: Have you done it in the past? Are other clients happy with the results of their visits? 

If either character or competence is affected, then trust between the client and stylist is compromised! Oftentimes it can be only too easy to focus on being competent and forget about the character aspect of trust. To build trust with your clients, make sure that you are taking a hard look at your team and ensuring you are consistent in your intentions across all clients. You might judge yourself by your intentions, but your clients will judge you by your actions, so make sure that your actions match your intentions.

What strategies can you use to help build trust with your clients? 

1.    The first important strategy Jay suggests is beginning each sentence with "My intention is." Especially when it comes to retail, it can be very difficult for clients to determine what your intentions are! Are you trying to sell them an overpriced product or do you truly care about equipping them with the right products to help them feel great about themselves? Starting your sentences with "My intentions are" will help clarify your intentions and build trust with your clients. 

2.    Evaluate your trust level with each client. Just as you have a different relationship with each client, your trust level with each client will also differ. For example, if a client is relatively new, it may not be a great idea to offer them a free haircut since they may not trust you at that level. They may, however, trust you enough to come in for a free blowout. Evaluate your trust level with each client and try to extend an offer just past his or her trust level so that you can work on building a stronger foundation of trust. 

3.    Ask for feedback. Talk to your clients! Describe each of the services they received that day and ask them for their thoughts. What would they rate it on a scale from 1 to 10? If they're not comfortable giving feedback in person, could they give their feedback anonymously? Asking for feedback is a great opportunity to get another person's perspective and allows you to gather data that you would not have had solely based on your own experiences.

Understanding how trust is built is the first step towards retaining a client. Becoming aware of your trust level with each client will help shift your thinking and lead to behaviors that will work towards building trust between you and your clients. Check out Episode 130 – Retention = Trust with Industry Expert, Jay Williams the Beyond The Technique podcast to learn more about how you can build trust with your clients and stylist! If you want to hear more from Jay, listen to Episode 122 - his first appearance on Beyond The Technique. 

Emily Kelly