Not many Salons use any kind of promise or guarantee in their marketing so it’s a terrific opportunity for you to stand out from your competitors. By putting your money where your mouth is, by guaranteeing the standard of service, you’re immediately triggering a ton of interesting questions in the minds of your potential customers. They’ll look at your marketing and say things like:
“My hairdresser doesn’t promise this",
"My Beauty Therapist won’t promise me results”.
You’re provoking them to question whether they’re getting their salon services in the right place. And that creates an opportunity for you.
Salon Service Guarantees are one of the most important marketing statements that you can make. They are marketing gold. And once you come up with one, I want you to use it everywhere. I display mine on the back of my business card, on our price card, and it’s going on our website too.
First, your guarantee must be achingly simple to understand. What's more, the whole process of claiming against a guarantee needs to be simple. If you’re burying your guarantee in tiny text on your website, if your guarantee comes with a huge list of terms and conditions, your customers are going to think that your guarantee is insincere and that you’re trying to wriggle out of ever delivering on it.
Second, it must be relevant to your customer. There is no point in guaranteeing a part of the service the customer isn’t particularly interested in. For example, you may have a guarantee in your salon where you promise that you’re going to answer the phone within three rings. That’s fine unless you’re in a Salon like mine. In my Salon, 70% of our customers either re-book as they leave or book online. Making any kind of promise around phone calls isn’t that important to my customers. How do you find out what’s important to your customers? You ask them!
If you suspect that something could be important then drill down. Have a chat with your customers. Go back to your customer avatar and clarify your target market too. Don’t guess with your guarantees. Look at your complaints for clues. If you can bring a guarantee in that deals with the real objections that people have had over the years, that is pure marketing gold.
Third, your guarantee must be genuine. If you guarantee something and then you fail to deliver, you’ve got to refund or let them have that service for nothing that day. Whatever it is you promise you have to deliver on it and you have to do it with a smile on your face and be grateful. Grateful because they’re still talking to you, and grateful because they’re showing you where your Salon systems are failing, and that’s important if you’re going to improve in the future. That kind of feedback doesn’t come cheap, but it shows how you can improve and increase the standards going forward.
In my salon, our guarantee is called the Bravo Five Point Promise. It’s easy to understand, and customers aren't going to be wading through pages and pages of terms and conditions. We have just five simple points.
Bear in mind that mine is a hair salon - but it doesn't take a lot of translating to apply to any business.
Point number one is that we guarantee you’ll receive a full consultation before every service. Now that may not feel like something important in our customer’s minds. If I asked my customers what they love about us or what they’ve hated about Salons in the past, I don’t expect many of them will come up with 'consultations'. But I know that it is the key to guaranteeing a successful visit. That clarity - knowing that the staff member and the customer have the same vision - is really powerful stuff.
Point number two is that if we don’t offer you a luxury conditioning treatment at the basins in my Salon, all of your services today are free. Why would I do that? There are a couple of reasons. Firstly, conditioning treatments don’t take a lot of product, they don’t take a lot of time, and are something the most junior member of staff can do. The income from a simple add-on can make a big difference to your bottom line. And historically, the only reason we weren’t selling lots of treatments in the past is that we never asked. We used to carry out maybe two conditioning treatments a month, and usually only when we were running late, so we gave them a treatment to keep them quiet.
I had a flash of inspiration at TGI Fridays some years ago. At the bottom of the dessert menu, they made a promise to their customers. If the server didn’t offer you dessert you can have a dessert for nothing. I went away scratching my head wondering how I could apply that in my business. By taking away the choice over whether we offer a treatment or not, we’re also taking away all of the embarrassment of offering that simple upsell. Think about it in your Salon. Think about the services you could be offering to every single client. If you can come up with something, make a promise around it. Consistently offer it to see higher results.
Point number three is that if we don’t tell you about every product we’re using on you today, you get to take them all home for nothing. So again what I’m doing is taking the choice away from my team around whether they talk about products or not. They have to. This is displayed on the mirrors in front of my customers. They’re waiting for that conversation to happen. It’s not something that my team has to be embarrassed about because the customer knows that they’re going to get in trouble if they don’t carry out that part of our promise.
Point number four is that if you’re not 100% happy with your hair today, you don’t pay. That means that occasionally a customer might pretend they weren’t happy to get out of paying. It hasn't happened yet, but there might be one or two in the future. However, I promise you the marketing capital and the goodwill that you’re generating will far outweigh any cost associated with that part of the guarantee.
Point number five is that if you don’t leave the Salon on time you don’t pay. This was something that purely came from our customers. When they were asked, one of the things that annoyed them was being kept waiting in reception when a Stylist was running late. It negatively impacted the customer's day. To make this promise we had to alter the systems and processes that support it. We had to get more strict about customers arriving late for appointments. People can’t come in fifteen minutes late for an appointment and then claim against the guarantee when they don’t leave on time. We made it part of our uniform policy that all of my team will wear a watch: if you don’t know what time it is, you don’t know if you’re running late either. It takes time to build a promise like this and to put the systems in place to support it.
Make a list of things that you think would hold good marketing value for your clientele, and then start testing stuff. Talk to your customers - if the feedback is good and it’s making you sweat slightly then go for it! Get that promise in place and then use it everywhere in your marketing.