How to Retain Customers

By ASCP Staff

We’ve all heard the saying, “Work smart, and not hard.” This is especially true when it comes to knowing how to retain customers—it’s much harder to gain new clients than it is to retain the ones you have. And learning how to retain salon clients can be as easy as following two simple rules: First, treat your loyal, longtime clients as if every time you see them, it’s the first time. Don’t ever take these clients for granted. Second, if some of your clients haven’t been in to see you in a while, reach out to them and let them know you miss seeing them, especially if they are newer clients. Everyone likes to feel valued, and a simple phone call to let them know you’re thinking of them can make a huge difference in their decision to stick with you and book appointments on a regular basis.

Let’s look at some ways you can entice those clients to come back to you and stay!

Let Them See the Difference.

Before-and-after pictures can make a huge impact on client retention. Your clients may not realize what a difference you are truly making to their skin. If you aren’t taking before-and-after pictures, now is the time to start. A picture is worth a thousand words and seeing is believing!

Make it Personal.

Your clients want to feel like they are special to you . . . which they should be. When you call or text them, make sure you talk about something personal they’ve shared with you. For example, if you knew a client is planning a vacation to Maui, the conversation might go like this: “Hi Mariah! I just wanted to check in with you to see if you have enough sunscreen for your trip. I also have some travel sizes of your favorite moisturizer and serum, so if you can book one of our esthetic services this week, I’ll make certain you’re all set for Maui!”

In this day when everything is digital, a hand-written personal note card mailed to your client’s home will surprise and delight them. Maybe you’re remembering their birthday or wedding anniversary, but whatever the sentiment, it will make them feel valued and special. 

Offer special add-on esthetic services or free beauty product samples.

Here are some examples:

  • Ask your vendors for sample products and combine it with a package deal for your clients. Your client will receive the free sample, then you can pair it with 20 percent off a purchase of the full-size beauty product if they book one of your esthetic services.
  • Include a deluxe hand massage during their next full-service facial.
  • For your client’s birthday, bachelorette party, or bridal or baby shower, offer to finish their esthetic services with a smokey eye make-up application.

Make your esthetician software work for you.

As estheticians, we lead busy lives and have limited time to focus on tracking client appointments. There are many choices of software available to make your life easier. Here are a few options:

  • Salon Iris is software created for independent estheticians but can also work in a business of any size. Salon Iris can track how many new clients you’ve gained, clients who didn’t show for an appointment, and clients who aren’t returning for esthetic services. It helps you to maximize client retention and the growth of your business. This software also helps target each type of client with a marketing message that pertains to them. You can communicate with new clients with one message, and your non-returning clients with another message tailored to them. For more information, visit
  • Timely is a booking and business management software that can help you track client retention. It allows you to easily run client retention reports to show you an overview, but also gives you details, such as how many of your clients have already rebooked for esthetic services, and how many of your clients are new versus clients who are returning. It makes measuring these metrics easy . . . just a click of your mouse. You can learn more about Timely at
  • Phorest is designed to support the needs of a full-service spa. This software includes spa management tools and support tailored for specific needs, including marketing and promotion campaigns. What is impressive is a feature called Client Connect. This is designed to track your regular clients to notify you if they have missed an appointment, and the program will automatically follow up with that client, which is a great time-saving feature. Visit for more information.

These steps will help you keep your clients coming back, which is your goal. So, concentrate your time and efforts on clients you’ve already seen. It is much easier and more effective than trying to reach brand new clients. Remember the goal is to work smart, not hard!         

FAQ about How to Retain Customers

What are some rules of thumb to help me retain clients?

  • First impressions are everything when it comes to new clients, but don’t neglect loyal customers. Make sure you treat every client like it’s the first time you’ve provided esthetic services for them.
  • Close the loop on customer feedback. One of the biggest keys to retaining customers is to know how they feel.
  • Keep your products and esthetic services top of mind.
  • Reward loyal customers and those who promote you.

What are the best strategies to build client retention?

  • Provide excellent customer service.
  • Be active in your community.
  • Make a special point of keeping clients informed of promotions, new products, etc. They will love feeling like they are in the know.  

I want my clients to feel they are special. How can I accomplish that?

  • Surprise them with an unexpected gift or a special discount on a product or esthetic services. Clients are people and people love to feel appreciated.
  • Client surveys will make them feel their input is valued.
  • Be personal. Remember specific things about their lives. Send them a card for their birthday or wedding anniversary. They will be delighted you remembered.

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