Double new clients framework - Google Reviews

• Written by Colin Shove

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Pack your profile full Google Reviews and watch your salon clients multiply

95% of salon owners said they would feel fantastic if their team received more 5 Star reviews.

People who work in salons like making people happy. You may sometimes find it challenging to inspire or motivate your team to change behaviour but you absolutely know they want to be thought of as good at their job.

You also know how great it feels when someone takes the time to write a 5 star review about you or your business. Just imagine how positive the atmosphere would be in your salon if this happened every day?

Having a great atmosphere in your salon may be reason enough to seek client reviews but this is an article about increasing the number of new clients by at least 100%!

We ran tests in two salon groups. Both groups had Google Business Profiles. The first did not seek client reviews.

The second group sent a text after a client's booking thanking them for visiting and asking them to click the link and rate their experience.

We were looking to discover if there is any tangible benefit to collecting reviews in addition to the wonderful dopamine hit we enjoy when we receive them.

We ran the test for three months and counted new client percentages and new client retention.

The first group averaged 7% new clients. So that’s like a salon with 5 staff averaging 125 clients a week getting about nine new clients a week, which is approximately 450 new clients in a year.

We tracked the retention and found that 15% of clients returned for a second visit and 50% of them came back for a third visit. That's equivalent to losing 93% of all new clients by visit 3!

Of the potential 450 extra new clients the salons in group 1 finished up the year averaging 27 additional clients.

The analysis on group 2 was quite different.

Over the 3 months we saw new client rates increase to an average of 17%. The equivalent of 54 new clients a week, equal to more than 1100 new clients a year.

Their retention rate showed that 49% of clients returned for a second visit and more than 75% of them came back a third time. That’s the equivalent of keeping 38% of all new clients beyond visit 3.

Of the potential 1100 extra new clients the salons in group 2 finished up averaging 454 additional clients.

Why would simply taking control of your reviews strategy and tidying up your Google Business Profile have such an impact?

  • Group 1 did not have control of their reviews process so only got them from two types of people. The ones who loved them and the ones who absolutely didn't!

  • Group 2 leveraged the majority of clients who think they are great. They are happy with what you do and if you make it simple enough are prepared to support you. In fact 30% of clients messaged left a review.

When potential clients searched, their very tidy and informative Google Business Profiles ranked well. Visitors see the information they need to make a decision about your business and its reinforced with loads of 5* reviews.

With regard to the retention the formula is less quantifiable. What I would suggest though is that if I knew every client I interacted with was encouraged to rate my performance and my colleagues, clients and whoever else who looks on Google was going to see it, I would probably put my best foot forward.

How to get reviews:

Ask: Many of us fear rejection which is why asking clients to leave a review can be daunting. We have all received emails and texts from companies asking for reviews and have probably not bothered. Often because the person we dealt with (if any) seems far removed from the process. Just another corporation trying to boost their ratings.

Even large salon businesses are small businesses. Clients visiting are being looked after by individuals who they build relationships with. Think of some of the conversations you have had with clients, a million miles away from a detached corporate chat for sure! Use some of the conversation you have with your client to explain you are working to build a larger clientele. Explain that positive client reviews are a proven strategy to attract more clients and tell your client how grateful you would be if they could help. It will feel a little uncomfortable initially but keep practising. Your clients will leave you glowing reviews and that will be far from uncomfortable!

Automate: Send a text or email containing your reviews link. By making it easier you will receive more reviews. If you do this, ensure you personalise your message by including your clients name at the very least. Remember we are leveraging relationships so need to demonstrate we have one. It also helps to mention to your client that they will receive a message so they are looking out for it.

Be Timely: Strike while the iron is hot! Send your messages very soon after your client leaves. This way you, and their new hair style or treatment are very much on their mind.

Always reply: Regardless of the rating, always reply to reviews. People love to be recognised and Google considers this best practice. Replies are public so even if a client is unreasonable or downright wrong, respond in a way you would be happy for people who don't know you yet to see.

Be assumptive: Ask for 5 stars! When you talk or communicate with clients about reviews refer to them as 5 star reviews. Sew the seed when you talk about them. Remember no one wants 4 stars!

The Salon App Leaderboard: Leaderboard is a feature that takes care of your reviews process automatically. Clients are texted after their visit with a message containing your reviews link. The benefits are:

Profile Gatekeeper: Only clients rating 5 stars are redirected to your Google profile and asked to leave their message publicly. This means that poor reviews (or reviews made in error) are held within Salon App kept away from your public profile enabling you to handle them the way you see fit. Your replies can be customised based on the rating

Team Ratings: Your Google Business profile is for your company. Reviews can contain names for example “Sarah was professional and extremely patient” but the reviews are all pooled together. With Leaderboard we track which team member received the review and store it in your leaderboard dashboard and client profile so your team can see their own (and their colleagues) ratings.

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Written by Colin Shove

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