How to build loyal clientele as a barber

Victor Young

Marketing & Business Development Manager

Alright, so I know you’re not here to learn how to give the best fades or a new Tiktok haircut trend. 

You’re here to learn how to build a bunch of loyal clients. 

And here’s the thing. Yes they love the fact you can give them the blurriest fade or best haircut for their face. But it’s also the non-technical stuff too.

Let’s unpack this.

The Value of a Loyal Client Base

Customers are the oxygen to our business as barbers. And if you’ve just started your own shop, just started to cut hair or maybe joined a new barbershop, having loyal customers who genuinely want to see you is a green flag.

These green flags can be anything from:

  • How you connect/vibe with them
  • How you greet them
  • How you cut their hair
  • Whether or not you watch support the same basketball team

There’s a lot of factors - and ultimately it’s if you connect with your customers.

And it’s this connection which can help you bring in:

  • Steady income
  • A full schedule
  • More customers from referring their friends/family

Which makes you extremely valuable to any business as an employee, and a successful barbershop if you own one.

Be a friend

If a friend came in for a haircut, you would make damn sure they walk out feeling fresh with a blurry fade. I mean you’re mates, unless you wanted to leave a few lines in his hair for the lols.

The same goes with your customers. Treat them like they’re your friends. Talk to them like that good friend you need to have a catch up with. 

In our experience with our barber shops across Australia, customers genuinely appreciate it when you can joke, laugh and riff off each other.

And it’s not to say all customers want this.

It’s also about reading the room. Understand when your customer just wants a quiet haircut. Know when your customers want to vent about an issue they have with their partner. Sometimes you might need to be listener for the whole haircut. And it might go longer than expected.

Think long term. Give them a good haircut, treat them like a good friend, and you pretty much have a client for years to come.

Give consistently great haircuts

Customers don’t expect better and better haircuts each time they see you.

They just want a consistent haircut. Consistently great haircut.

And what makes a great haircut?

Our philosophy at Mancave is dead simple:

  • Give the customer what they want
  • Listen to them
  • And treat them like family

Of course technique matters, but most customers don’t see this.

Customers are paying you for the result.

How you get them there is up to you.

Ask questions and actually listen

From the customer’s point of view, the biggest red flag is when they’re not listened to. This often ends up with them passively saying you’ve done a great haircut and never showing up again. Oh and they might also feel the need to leave a not so great review.

To win a customer for life and achieve that loyalty - ask questions! Especially if it’s your initial consultation with them.

Open ended questions like:

  • What haircut are you after?
  • How do you style your hair?
  • What would you think if we tried this?

These open ended questions help get the most authentic answers. And when they answer make sure to listen! If there’s anything you’re unsure about - ask.

Haircut anxiety is a thing, and the easiest way to settle this is to ask and make sure they know what you’re doing.

Remember their name and haircut

I know this is hard. Depending on where you work you could be meeting 20-30 people a day. So it might feel like a tough ask to remember their name and haircut.

But if you do, your customers feel like they’re a VIP. They know you’re cutting hair all day and they know you probably have a bunch of different haircuts to remember. But you’ve remembered theirs just the way they like their hair cut? Damn this guy pays attention!

Okay so what are some tricks you can do to help you remember?

  1. When you introduce yourselves, say their name throughout the initial haircut or at least in your head
  2. Take a photo of the final haircut, and or add this to their client profile in your customer system
  3. Unsure about their haircut? Look how their hair is when they walk in… just imagine it 2-3 weeks shorter.
  4. Still unsure about their last haircut? Ask them! “So last time I think we did this right?” 
  5. If you’ve forgotten their name? Just be honest about it. You can joke about this

Building a loyal clientele is a journey, not a destination. It takes time, patience, and a whole lot of love. But when you look around your bustling barbershop, filled with loyal clients who trust and value your service, you'll know it was worth it.