The growth of sites like TripAdvisor shows that reviews carry a lot of marketing clout. I know that whenever I am going to spend more than a few pounds on Amazon, the reviews can make or break my purchase.
Testimonials and reviews can be a vital marketing pillar in the salon business too. It’s lovely to hear from clients that they enjoyed their services, but testimonials can be much more than a confirmation of a job well done.
Current customer reviews can also play a large part in building trust with new customers, who are still deciding if they can trust us with their hard-earned cash, their bodies and their hair.
Actively solicit testimonials
Many salons have a bank of user reviews on their Facebook and Google My Business pages, but rely on the customer feeling the need to share their thoughts. The problem is, customers will only leave the vaguest of comments – and that is a missed opportunity.
Hoping for users to submit reviews is a very passive, reactive way of gathering feedback. Being more proactive about gathering testimonials gives you the chance to steer the comments towards marketing gold!
I’m not going to patronise you by telling you to “do a great job” – I’m sure you already do. You just need people to put it in writing!
Make it really easy
The automated systems are child’s play, but if you want a really targeted testimonial (see what I mean below) you can’t go far wrong by writing the testimonial for them. It sounds cheeky, but it works like this:
TIPS FOR TESTIMONIALS
Here are my three pieces of invaluable advice on getting great testimonials to use in your marketing
1 Change how you react to ‘thank yous’.
When someone says “thank you” for a job well done –I don’t mean for a fringe trim, but something like a colour correction or wedding hair – instead of saying “You’re welcome!” I want you to say something like: “I really appreciate your thanks, but actually I was wondering if you could do me a favour?” Then stop talking! I guarantee the customer will say “yes” without even hesitating. When they do, tell them you are really proud of the work you’ve done, you’re pleased with how happy they are, and would they mind writing a quick testimonial for you? I guarantee it works!
2Get a system for collecting customer reviews.
If your reception system is computerised, talk to your supplier. Some systems have review collection built-in.
Others work with a partner to provide something similar – I’ve had brilliant success with SalonSpy.co.uk.
Essentially it’s an automated prompt after a customer’s appointment to ask them to leave a review.
3 Run a promotion.
I needed to get a bunch of testimonials quickly for some marketing I was putting together, so I emailed my current customers and promised them a free bottle of shampoo for every review they sent me by email.
I got some great ones, some less useful, but importantly I got a LOT of testimonials quickly.
• Ask your customer for a testimonial about, say, hair extensions
• They say: “Yes of course”, (hopefully!)
• You say: “I know you’re busy, and I want to make it as easy as possible for you. Can I write a paragraph for you and send it to you for you to approve?”
• They say: “Yes of course” In my experience one of two things happens – they either approve the testimonial as it is, which is great because it hits all the points you want covered. Or, occasionally, they’ll edit or rewrite the testimonial and make it even more glowing and fantastic. I’ve never had a testimonial “downgraded”.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR 5* REVIEWS WORK HARDER
When you have your reviews, date and file them, and add one to every piece of marketing you send out, put one in the footer of emails and share them like mad on social media! I even have this one on my business card:
“The highest quality of cutting and treatments is matched by the excellence of personal attention and service … This salon is without parallel locally!”Rod king
Can you imagine me writing that as an advert? You’d never pay the least attention to it, but as a testimonial it packs a real punch.
Here’s how the pros use testimonials
This is taking your marketing to the next level. It’s more work, but works.
First, survey a mixture of your ideal clients and the people matching your target audience. Ask them for, say, five things that are important to them in the choice of salon.
Your results might look something like this:
1. Great technical skills 2. Friendly service3. Great consultation4. Late night opening5. Ease of parking
Then, you collect testimonials from your customers specifically addressing the issues you’ve discovered. One saying what amazing skills you have in service, a different one saying how friendly your whole team is, and so on.
I would make sure those five testimonials have pride of place on your homepage and you use them in rotation on your marketing materials.
If you have a third party telling your prospects how great you are at the things that matter most to them, you can bet they’ll read the rest of your marketing message. By pairing up testimonials with customer objections, we position the salon as the natural choice to solve their problems. Make the most of your current customer reviews to make it rain!