John, how should I go about creating a client loyalty program?
Client loyalty is vital in retaining your clients and obtaining new ones. As a salon or spa owner, your loyal customers are ambassadors to your business and are a big part of your revenue. Because of this, your client loyalty program must be a mutually-beneficial part of your business that rewards your clients and improves your key performance indicators.
The key to its success is to build a culture around the loyalty program within your salon. Your website, your online booking, your point of sale software, and your team should reflect your loyalty program. It’s important to understand that in order to increase your bottom line, your client loyalty program must affect client behavior. Giving away points for every dollar in service or retail spending is not what drives change. Instead, focus on rewarding clients for things such as referrals, pre-booking, trying a new service, or spending more than a set dollar amount.
Too many times business owners launch a great loyalty program that nobody understands, employees are skeptical of (“Am I going to get paid if someone uses points?”) and has irrelevant or inconsistent marketing materials. One thing I recommend is to have a policy in place where points can only be redeemed for “whole items.” For instance, a client needs to have 40,000 points to buy a $40 haircut; they cannot use points towards partial payment or tip. A policy like this will make managing your client loyalty program easier and will encourage the guest to work on building their points, thus increasing their frequency of visit. To help motivate your team, I suggest that you pay your staff as if they received cash for their services so that they can believe in and are excited about the loyalty program. If your loyalty system is set up so that it positively influences the behavior of your clients (more visits, more spend) then you should be confident in paying your staff for those services. Why? Because if they have 40,000 points, as we used in the previous example, then they must have referred a couple new clients, rebooked several times, purchased more retail, and/or tried other services. Make your loyalty system work by having your staff gladly support it.
Your employees can be one of your greatest assets in implementing client loyalty programs. They speak to clients regularly, and have the most ability to inform them of current promotions. From front desk to service provider, your entire team should know what promotions are currently running so they can push clients to those actions. For example, if a client is interested in purchasing retail, help boost the sale by informing them they will receive “X” amount in points if they do so. The front desk can solidify a pre-book by informing the guest they will receive points if they pre-book their next appointment.
If you build a culture around a client loyalty program that you believe in, your staff will be more inclined to speak to it and is more likely to become a success. Just make sure you take the time to determine every specification of your program so its implementation goes as smoothly as possible, and its perks motivate clients’ purchasing habits to help grow your business.
Millennium Systems International, Founder and CEO
About: John Harms, Founder & CEO of Millennium Systems International, creator of Millennium Software, has been designing industry leading salon scheduling software and educating the beauty & wellness industry since 1987. Today Millennium is utilized in thousands of businesses in over 38 countries and operating with approximately 150+ employees worldwide. Millennium currently runs its corporate headquarters out of New Jersey and its international office is based in the U.K.