The Barbers’ Playbook: How to Retain Clients

The fastest way to grow your clientele is by concentrating on getting the person sitting in your chair to become a return customer. Here are the steps to do it!
Matthew Mendoza
Matthew Mendoza, aka Barber Doza, is a licensed barber, educator, and consultant. He helps barbers get licensed and build their businesses.

You always want clients to come back. This is the long game and the endgame. Client retention is a sign of quality service. It's the key to sustainability and profitability. Many barbers focus on getting new clients (acquisition) but neglect or overlook client retention. Often, the fastest way to grow your clientele is by concentrating on getting the person sitting in your chair to become a return customer. Let’s discuss how to grow your clientele by providing a word-of-mouth-worthy experience and understanding the four types of clients you can attract.

The Word-of-Mouth-Worthy Experience

The service industry has transformed into the experience industry. We live in a social media-driven world where clients post highlight reels of Instagram-worthy experiences. Hate it or love it, your success lies in delivering a word-of-mouth-worthy experience. For example: Is your client’s experience worth sharing with their community? Is it convenient to get in the chair? Did they enjoy the conversation? Was the haircut fire? Do they feel like they belong? 

A memorable experience features the 4 Cs: 

  • Convenience 
  • Conversation
  • Cut
  • Community 

You’ll have no problems turning a first-timer into a promoter if you provide a quality service. Here’s how you do it, tier by tier:

Tier 1: First Timer

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Studies reveal that you have seven seconds to make a first impression. 55% of a first impression is based on what you see, body language, and facial expressions. 45% is what you hear, the actual words, and the tone with which they are delivered. When you have a first-timer sitting in your chair, focus on leaving a positive first impression. Remember the 4 C’s. 

Tier 2: Trial 

Congratulations! They returned for a second service and are now in a "trial period" with you. Their second service with you might be more important than the first because it tests your consistency or ability to improve. During the consultation, ask if there is anything they want you to do differently. Many clients jump barbers because they ignore their requests and give them the cut they want versus the cut they asked for. Make the experience better than their first.

Tier 3: Client

You made it! If they sit in your chair three times, they are your client. You've made it through the small talk and basic background info. You know what they do for work and a little about their life. Don't get lazy just because you've got them returning to your chair! Continue fostering an honest space to fine-tune their haircut. Now is the perfect time to start talking about their at-home grooming routines so that you can recommend products to make their styling easier. 

Tier 4: Promoter

Your client is bringing you new clients. A promoter is a client who refers their community to you. As new clients sit in your chair, ask them how they discovered you. Some of them will mention a friend. Take notes on what they say. You want to identify the promoters so you can thank them. A simple thank you goes a long way. You can also set up a rewards program for your most active promoters via your barber booking app.

The word-of-mouth-worthy experience can be measured by your number of promoters, aka referrals. Barbers who provide an experience that transforms a first-timer into a promoter will never have an empty chair. 

Looking to learn more about growing your clientele? Download The Barbers’ Playbook: 10 essential strategies to evaluate and grow your barber business. Whether you are a new barber or an OG, this playbook will generate new ideas to elevate your business.

Matthew Mendoza aka barber doza , helps barbers pass their state board exam through his online course, provides business strategies to emerging barbers through his podcast Beyond Barber School and writes about the latest trends in the industry through his weekly newsletter called theGuideline.