Jim Valenzuela, founder of V's Barbershops, shares his advice for strengthening customer loyalty. 
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Jim Valenzuela, founder of V's Barbershops, shares his advice for strengthening customer loyalty. 

 

Jim Valenzuela, founder and CEO of V’s Barbershops, entered the barber business in 1999 when he saw an opportunity for an upscale barbershop in his community of Phoenix, Arizona. Valenzuela was looking for an entrepreneurial opportunity, and had many fond childhood memories of barbershop visits with his dad.

“I opened my first, then second store—and they exploded,” Valenzuela says. “At the time there was nothing else like it. Then, barbershops were dark and dirty, beauty salons catered to women, and there were quick‐cut places.”

Fast forward to 2022, and Valenzuela has franchised 55 shops in 17 states. “We wanted to grow slow, so we know every franchisee and can throw our heart into every store,” he says.

V's Barbershops are thriving, and much of that is due to Valenzuela’s common‐sense approach to customer service. Here, he shares seven tips for barbers to win clients over—and keep them.

Good Grooming: Do you have a current, well‐groomed cut? Does your breath smell good? Is your beard clipped? “We’re in the vanity business,” Valenzuela says. “You’re part of the grooming community, so you need to look it.”

Personalized Greeting: Use your client’s name when you greet them. “Hi, Joe, how are you?” makes a much bigger impact than, “Hey, man.”

Strut Your Stuff: “Have a little bit of theatrics,” Valenzuela says. “When you grab a hot towel, flip it up like a pizza—show your client you know what you’re doing.”

Don’t Skip the Consult: Always ask your guest how they want their hair cut—even if you see them all the time. Don’t skip the consultation.

Cleanliness Counts: Now more than ever, it’s important to be clean and tidy. And when clients see you wipe up after yourself, that’s even better.

Manners—Always: Say please and thank you consistently. Whether you get a $2 or $200 tip, a genuine “thank you” is required. And it’s not hard.

You’re Never Fully Dressed … without a smile. “A smile is magnetic, and simple to do.”

“These little behaviors create an experience for the guest,” Valenzuela says. “It’s easy to get into a routine and become indifferent. Don’t let that happen. Find a way to connect with your client and they’ll come back.”