We Are Sunshine

Customer Relations: Old-school style

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

By Ric Rooney, Sun Spot Atlantis

Since I started in this business way back in 1991, current technology has given us some fantastic new tools to reach potential customers and keep in touch with current ones. Smartphones, websites, text messaging and social media platforms – it’s enough to give an old guy like me a headache trying to keep up with it all!

But my favorite tool for customer relations? Old-fashioned email. Here’s why: It’s the only format that let’s my personality shine through and allows me to connect with my customers over time at a much deeper level. Social media tools are kind of like dating. It’s the flirting stage of a relationship that includes quick, impressionable interactions, but at a superficial level.

These tools are all important building blocks for your business. However, if your goal is long-term customer retention, then you have to give them more then an occasional wink. You have to give them a reason to keep coming back to you year after year instead of your competitor. Otherwise, you’re nothing more than the latest Groupon “Deal of the Day.”

And they only come back to you year after year when they know and like you; they feel like family, not just a customer. Take the time to write regular emails from the heart, like you would to a friend, and talk about your business. Tell them what’s new, what’s going well and let them start to feel your personality. This is where they start to bond with your business. It’s harder then it sounds, because writing meaningful, interesting emails isn’t easy. It takes time and thought and has to come from you.

I write in “long copy” style. This is an old-school method that seems to have fallen out of favor today and replaced with “short copy,” where you state your point quickly in as few lines as possible. Here’s what I believe: If what you have to say isn’t relevant and interesting to the reader, they won’t make it to the fifth sentence. However, if what you have to say is relevant and interesting to them, they’ll read five pages.

I send my emails in plain text style, just like you’d receive from a friend. I have experimented with graphic, formatted, newsletter types of emails, but found that my subscriber rate dropped. I always start my emails with a numbered, one-line list that previews the four or five topics I’m going to talk about. So if a reader is only interested in one of the topics on the list, they can go straight to it.

I write a majority of the article based on what is going on at my salon and then briefly discuss the specials for the month. You absolutely can use your emails to sell, just respect your customers and don’t make it all about the sale.

I often end with “Trivial Trivia,” something that has nothing to do with our business but hopefully leaves my customers smiling. Often times I’ll try and tie in “Trivial Trivia” to the current time of year, like St. Patrick’s Day jokes in a March email blast. The objective is to have customers actually look forward to reading your emails, which I only send every four to six weeks on average.

When customers can joke about your email blasts and comment on them, you know you’ve turned a customer into a friend of your business. If they can relate to your business and discuss it with you, you have succeeded. Create a “family” of friends, rather than treating your customers like another number. If your email blasts are friendly and familiar, you’re sure to increase your salon’s following.