Hair Salon: WOMO has been our number one source of new customers

Sandton Hair Gallery is a family business, run by a mother and daughter team; Joan and Jenine. The business started in 2003 (with zero clients) and has grown to be one of the most highly respected salons in the area. We spoke to Jenine to understand how they'd used customer reviews to help grow their hair salon.

Update: Sandton Hair Gallery was recently featured on a webinar by Worldwide Salon Marketing. Click here to access the recording.

Sandton Hair Gallery
Above left: Jenine on the left, Joan on the right, and Stella in the front.

Jenine says; "It wasn't long ago that we really had no idea about WOMO or any kind of internet marketing. We joined WOMO's Happy Customers Program in July of 2010 after a we received a Service Award letting us know that we were one of the top salons in Melbourne. We didn't even know we had reviews! We quickly found out what they were talking about, and after a phone call with a staff member at WOMO, we decided to try accelerating our word-of-mouth through their program."

Review Us Flyers"We started using the 'Review Us' leaflets and we soon found that the more reviews we got, the more new customers came to us. We now have almost 100 customer reviews and lots of people say they've seen the reviews and that's what inspired them to try us."

"In fact, I'd say that 50% of our new clients say that they've seen our reviews – they have a huge influence. Now we absolutely love getting reviews and hearing the appreciation our clients have – they don't always give this feedback face-to-face and it's worth its weight in gold."

"We have a regular meeting where we discuss our wins for the week and much of this is focussed on looking at our recent reviews. If a person really likes something we'll plan to do more of that."  

"Our staff feel very honoured when a customer names them in a review. It's a real boost to their confidence and inspires us all to do more for our customers."

"Sometimes we find out things through the reviews that we wouldn't have known otherwise. For example, at one point our setting dryer was not working but we needed heat for a certain type of treatment to take. So we improvised and used a hot towell absorption method and also did an Indian head massage. The lady reviewed us and raved about how good this treatment made her feel. Now we use this method for all our clients – they love it, plus it's better for the environment!"

"Aside from getting new customers, we've also learned a lot through the customer reviews. We always knew that listening to customers was key, but what we perhaps didn't realise was that a lot of customers also want to hear our advice. One review said something like; 'I love hearing ideas about my hair and what they recommend'. We now incorporate a lot more of that with our service."

"Even the odd bad review can be actually be good as it gives us a chance to find out what they think and invite the customer back to see another team member. Through reviews we get real feedback that can help us improve. I must admit that they still get to us a bit, but at the same time, we know that we can't please everybody – no business can."

Jenine's Top 3 Tips for Success;

  1. Listen – really listen! Ask lots of questions to clarify and ensure you're on the same page as the customer. Communication is 90% listening and really should be taught as a basic life skill!
  2. People don't remember what you did for them. People remember how you made them feel. Make them feel good!
  3. Be honest – don't gush with shallow compliments and don't promise something you can't deliver. Be genuine and people will appreciate that.

"WOMO has been our number one source of new customers. We've tried quite a lot of different things including letterbox drops, advertising in our local Leader newspapers and Facebook. None of those delivered a good return. Aside from WOMO, the other things that work well for us are our regular newsletter to clients, and also, referrer cards. Really all of our marketing is based on building a good reputation by keeping customers happy."

We asked Jenine whether they were afraid of using reviews to promote themselves – as some businesses are worried they'll get negative reviews. She says;
"If you're professional, you need to have confidence in your service. If you know your staff and know you provide a good service, customer reviews are only going to reflect that and more. Encouraging customer reviews has been one of the best things we've done."

>> See the WOMO Listing for Sandton Hair Gallery here <<

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