Understanding the Psychology of Your Tattoo Customers

For a long time the world of tattooing had an image of gruff, angry tattoo artists, and a scary-looking shop. But as tattoos have become more mainstream, the modern tattoo industry has put a huge emphasis on customer service.

And a big part of customer service is knowing what your customers actually want during a visit to your tattoo shop, and catering to those goals and expectations.

So, what do customers actually want from their time in your shop? We’ll take a look at the four main aspects to keep in mind so you can offer the perfect customer experience that creates repeat clients and brings in new business. 

  1. 1

A Clean - but “Cool” - Shop

Tattooing deals with blood, which means there is a risk of disease transmission if your materials are not properly cleaned. And just like you’d be nervous in a doctor’s office that smelled or looked disgusting, customers are going to be suspicious of dirty needles if a shop doesn’t look presentable.

This doesn’t mean making your shop look sterile. Lots of clients love the mystique tattoo shops have. However, your shop can be dark and mysterious without looking dirty.

  1. 2

A High-Quality Tattoo

When people see horribly-done tattoos, they wonder “why do people get tattoos?” When they see an incredible tattoo, they know why. Because tattoos, if done well, can look incredible.

Clients want to know that the piece they’re about to have tattooed on them forever is going to be great. You can ease their worries about a botched piece by making sure your track record is easily on display:

  • Hang pictures of past work in easy-to-see places around the shop.
  • Leave copies of portfolios of amazing work in the waiting area.
  • Ask satisfied customers to leave Yelp reviews of their positive experience.
  1. 3

A Meaningful Design

There are psychological reasons for tattoos. As an artist, you often get asked “why do people get tattoos?” 

The answer is that people getting tattoos - especially for the first time - usually have some sort of story behind the design they want. 

Your job as an artist is to also be a storyteller. If your client has some sort of experience or meaningful story behind the tattoo they want to get, look for ways to help powerfully tell that story through your design. 

Not only will this show your client that you understand them and care about the “why” behind their tattoo. It’ll also get you lots of repeat customers who love your work.

  1. 4

A Real Relationship

Some of your customers will want to pop in their headphones and zone out while you tattoo, and that’s perfectly fine.

Some people are going to want to chat. Either they want to get to know the person behind the design, or they want to talk off some of the nervous energy that comes with getting tattooed. 

Building a friendship with your clients is another perfect way to get repeat business and build your reputation of great customer service. Customers will walk away feeling satisfied with their tattoo and their experience, which means they’ll come back for more and recommend you to others. 

Creating the Customer Experience

When customers go into a shop, they are looking for more than just a good tattoo. So many artists only focus on the art and neglect everything else. This can severely hurt their business because customers buy from people they know and trust. Doing things to create the experience the client wants builds up your reputation in these other areas. And in the long run, they will make you a far more successful tattoo artist.

Ready to learn more about creating the perfect customer experience? The Artist Accelerator program not only gives you the skills you need to be a tattoo artist, but it also explains how to put customers at ease and collaborate with clients to create designs they love. 

Click here to learn how the Artist Accelerator Program can take you from complete beginner to professional tattoo artist in as little as 90 days.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

  • 500 video modules
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  • Private mastermind community
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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