Today my customer told me that before sitting in my chair he has never had anyone care about his hair the way that I do. It really amazes me how much barbers don’t go the extra mile to educate the customers about their hair. This particular customer has a thinning hairline, something that we all have to deal with in this industry. Since it was my first time cutting his hair I asked him a decent amount of questions while I was servicing him in regards to his haircut. I explained to him how we could try and bring his hairline back to its original place and maybe even try some growth products. This small bit of advice to him went a long way because it made him feel like I was really concerned for the health of his hair. He will definitely be coming back to get another haircut. 🙂 Managing our customers is so important to focus on in this business. Not only do we have to focus on getting customers but also have to be able to keep them coming back. When a customer asks you a question about their hair and you don’t have the answer, then take the time out to research the answer so when the client comes back you will be able to share what you found. Just out of curiosity, what are some questions that you guys/gals receive from customers pertaining to their hair?
This week I will be sending out an email to my customers about our canned-food drive this month. This is an annual event in which we collect food items from our customers and deliver them to a local food pantry. Being able to send out an email blast to our customers really gets the word out. We use email often to update our clients of what’s going on at the shop such as planned vacations, holiday schedules, specials on products, new barbers joining, tips on hair care, and a host of other important information. If you’re a barber and want to stay connected with your clients then connecting to them via email is an effective channel to use. Customers have gone online these days and as barbers we have to be able to meet them there. If you are using email to help manage your customers make sure that you are sending out information weekly. You don’t want your emails to automatically be sent to your customers spam folder because their email account doesn’t recognize you as a relevant sender. Consistently provide useful information to your customers and be sure to monitor to see who’s opening your emails. A great tool that I use to do this is called Aweber. Aweber allows me to sort my customers into different categories, send out mass emails, and track stats to see who’s opening or clicking in my emails. If you haven’t began sending out emails then you should look into it.
Its Wednesday and tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It was a pretty good day at the shop today, however managing my customers was definitely at the center of my attention. Over the last two weeks I have been letting my customers know what my holiday schedule would be so that they can re-adjust their time to come in and still get their haircut. I have to admit there was one slight oversight in my calendar that I failed to recognize. Once I thought I had finished my day around 5:00pm I packed up my three children and said to them, “Let’s get up out of here.” Oh yeah, there was no school today so my children spent a day at the shop with dad. After we left the shop we had dinner at a nice dine-in restaurant and went home. I received a phone call around 6:30pm from a regular client explaining how he had an appointment set up with me at that time. Boy was I confused. I totally forgot to make sure his appointment was in my calendar and it would have put shame on my heart had I not gone back to the shop to cut his hair. Yes, I had to pack the kids up again and it was completely my fault. The point of the story is that managing our customers is a vital part to our success and it needs to receive attention and planning to help improve our careers. Since my earlier days in the barber business I’ve gone to online booking for my appointments and my software manages my customers for me. However when I use to pencil my customers in my calendar it took much more time and I had a lot more human errors. The online appointment booking system never fails me and my customers have the power to schedule with me when its convenient for them. If you’re a barber that wants to take his/her business to the next level I would recommend looking into an online appointment booking system that has user-friendly pages for your customers. It’s helped me manage my customers smoothly this year for Thanksgiving and it could help you.
Have you been frustrated while trying to build your barber business? Don’t worry we all have been there before and broke past those walls that once stood in our way. This article may give you that inspiration and insight that you need to see your way to the next level in the barber business. I posted a status on the Facebook Fan Page and asked you guys what frustrated you the most about building your barber business, so I wanted to give you some advice on what I’ve used in the past to deal with some of those same problems. Before I dive into my suggestions let me first say that if you want to change your results then you have to change your thinking. The way you think about your business is by far the foundation of how you operate and in return get business. Here are some tips…
Do you have unfaithful customers?
Unfaithful customers are one of the biggest concerns for new and experienced barbers around the country. If a customer decides not to return to you for service don’t panic. Sit back and observe your service and ask yourself what causes a customer to become unfaithful. Most often customers don’t return because a barber is inconsistent, not available, or not in a good environment. When you service your customer treat them like royalty and spoil them. Seriously! And do it every time they come back exactly how you did it the time before that. The customer will get so use to this service it will be hard for them to leave you for another barber, especially the picky customers. Open your schedule to your customers and let them know what hours and days you will be working. Allow them to set appointments with you in advance and be on time for their appointment. Being available and consistent can really go a long way for even a decent barber. If at all possible try to keep your environment friendly to making money. How you do this will be different for every barber in different shops because we all have unique clientele. However take notice of the type of customers you bring in and if most of them don’t cuss then try to limit cussing in the shop (just an example).
Don’t know how many heads you’re going to cut this week?
Try to train your customers to set an appointment with you. I actually have most of my clientele on standing appointments which means I cut the same people every week at the same time. This is a very predictable means of income as a barber. In the beginning of my career I used an appointment book to pencil in my customer, but now I’ve been able to train everyone to set appointments online using my Genbook service. However you choose to set your appointments, doing this is the only way to get any predictability of your weekly income. Also documenting your income is a good way to know if you are growing, holding steady, or making less than what you use to make.
Does your customer not want to pay your prices?
I recently posted a question on Facebook and asked barbers what they typically charged for a haircut in their area. The prices ranged from $10 – $30 which is a pretty big gap. If you’re looking to up your prices for your customers the best way to do this is to stay firm and express the value that you provide to them that they won’t get from most other barbers. Small things such as a hot towel and razor edge up or even being on time for your appointments so your customers don’t have a long wait has a lot of value. I charge $15 for children and $20 for adults with no complaints from any of my customers. In fact I usually receive a good tip between $3-10 almost every time. Remember that every customer will not want to pay your higher price and they may try to haggle you back down or threaten you by going to another barber. You must stay firm with your decision and if your value is really worth the price then another customer will fill their spot.
Are you working long hours and don’t have any time on the weekend to enjoy yourself?
Welcome to the club… this is a good thing at first. At this point you need to begin to train your customers to set appointments and learn to manage your time to fit your needs. You would be surprised to see that if you cut your nights at the shop shorter, your customers will find time to come to you during the day or other open spots you have. Don’t let your customers control your schedule after you have established a decent amount of repeat clients. Managing your clientele is an important system of your business to learn that will eventually solve your problem with long hours in the shop.
I hope these tips inspire you to look at the way you do business in a different way. Try them out and see how it works for you then come back and let me know what you think.
Phone call after phone call after phone call… When you establish a steady customer base your phone will be ringing off the hook even during late night hours. I don’t blame my clients for calling me late at night for appointments because we develop semi-personal relationships with them and they feel comfortable with us. But sometimes I want to tell my clients to have a heart, however it’s all a part of the game. That is until I discovered Genbook, an online appointment scheduling system.
The Genbook appointment scheduling system is amazing and it’s the most convenient way to manage your customers and keep them happy. I highly recommend that every barber evolve to an online appointment system because it puts the customers in control and takes more stress and work off of us. My clients love being able to go in and set up an appointment whenever they need to whether its at 2pm or 2am. The Genbook system is very user friendly and has a lot of tools that you can use to track your business. The analytics give you the ability to see what services make you the most money, how much you average per appointment, and a few other important reports. I find this very helpful during tax season.
Another important feature this service does is capture the email address of everyone that sets an appointment. Once my clients set an appointment I add them to my email lists and that way I keep them up to date on every that’s going on with Mont da Barber.
I researched several other online appointment systems but nothing compared to Genbook which is priced pretty reasonably. What online appointment system do you use? Have you considered going online yet?
Time after time I tell new barbers that “Consistency” is key to this business and if you want to be successful then you have to understand why this is so important. If you can’t produce the same results for your clients each time they come to see you then it becomes more of a challenge to get them to come to you out of habit. What I mean is that as you develop clients and continue to service them over the years it becomes a habit for them to come to you. Customers come to expect the same exceptional service that you provide every time and get comfortable coming to you which is highly driven by consistency. They key to success in this business is to be able to connect with the customer on a deeper level to where they come to you based on how good you make them feel and always providing this feeling each time they come. Just last week when I was in the shop a customer said that he had been trying out different barbers and he just couldn’t find anyone that was consistent. He stated how one day he may get a good haircut and the next haircut wouldn’t be such a great experience along with the barbers not being at the shop on a consistent basis. Not only did this make the customer visit our shop for service but the word is beginning to spread about those inconsistent barbers which is definitely not good for business. I explain to barbers often that you don’t have to be the best barber in the world to be successful because you can not cut everybody. However, if you can be consistent by giving a decent haircut and always being at work during your set hours then customers will see the value in you. We have to remember that our customers have busy lives and schedules to stick to, so we have to possess a level of convenience, accountability, and consistency. Therefore, let us practice consistency and give our customers that same service every time they come to us. Have you ever heard customers say they just want a consistent barber?
If you haven’t tried HootSuite then you are definitely missing out on money. For a small fee the HootSuite app allows you to post status updates to all of your social media networks from a single platform, so instead of logging in to 6 or more different accounts you can manage everything from HootSuite. In addition, this app gives you the ability to schedule posts so that they go out when you want them to. This is great on days when you’re working hard at the shop all day but you still want to engage people on your social network channels. Whenever our shop has a new special, a new barber, new information, or just something funny to post we always schedule it in Hootsuite to post automatically every 3-4 hours so that different people will see it throughout the day. People make comments, like us, or even call in to the shop to set up an appointment and that is where the value is in this app. When you can keep people engaged in your business it develops trust which leads to customers. So if you haven’t tried out Hootsuite just click on a link and come back to let me know how it works for you.
How many times have you been at work and all of a sudden you have 3 or 4 customers walk in at the same time? This use to happen to me all the time. Actually, other barbers in the shop may have cut some of my regular customers because they didn’t have the time to wait in line. The day I decided to go to appointments only was one of the best decisions I ever made in the barber game. At first, I had to do a combination of walk-ins and appointments. Getting your existing customers to switch over to appointments is really not that hard to do. As customers came in to sit in my chair I would explain to them that I am switching to appointments only and if they were to set an appointment then they would have priority over any walk-ins that come into the shop. Customers will love to hear this! Those days of sitting in a barbershop all day will soon be over for your customers. As you begin to get customers calling to set up appointments you want to make sure that you write them down in your appointment book and stick to it. It’s important to write them down because as other customers begin to see that this is what you do now, they will realize that they need to get on the books. Once you develop the habit of doing this begin to allow your customers to write their own appointment times in the book. The purpose of doing this is to put the customer in control of their appointment and take some of the burden off of your shoulders. Once you reach a certain point of having to many customers you will be glad you did this because it will keep you on time for your next appointment. Now let me ask you how many customers do you think would love to come, get in, and get out/or stay? I personally almost never have more than one person waiting at time. How many do you typically have?