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Why engagement is the key to a successful salon loyalty program?

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Over the past few months we have all had countless video calls with friends and family due to the social distancing measures in place. Between my elderly mom constantly having issues getting connected and having her audio work, my teenage nephew popping in and out because it’s too basic and boring for him, background noises and internet connection issues, it’s a bit chaotic to say the least. But connecting with family and friends always feels great in the end because there are many situations and

circumstances that keep us apart and the one thing that we will always crave is human connection.

Businesses are not so different. Customers come to buy products and services, but one factor that keeps them coming back over and over again is real human connection. And this is especially true in our salon and spa industry. So staying in contact with customers and making them feel engaged and connected to your company is extremely important. Doing this through your loyalty program is what will separate you from the rest of the pack!

Loyalty programs are not new. In fact 95% of consumers are a member of at least 1 loyalty program and the average consumer is a member of 15 different programs. So why do some loyalty programs work better than others? The secret is engagement.

You see, the very essence of a loyalty program is that you are trying to change the behaviour of a consumer. It’s psychological. You want the consumer to spend more, visit more frequently, and spend on items they might not normally consider. And why would they do that? Because of the points, of course! And here is where our engagement rule starts. If the customer is not aware of their points and the reward options, then why do we expect them to change their behaviour?

Awareness Precedes Change

How many loyalty programs are you a member of where you simply show your card at the cash desk, they scan it, and you move on? This happens to me all the time. The challenge is that I have no idea how many points I have, I don’t know what the value of the points are, and I don’t know what rewards are available. I am not aware.

So am I changing my purchase behaviour? Absolutely not! Even though I am a member of that store’s loyalty program (I have their card), I am not loyal to that business. I don’t go there specifically because of their points and rewards program. Too many businesses are missing the mark and end up simply giving away points and profitability without impacting the psychology of their customers.

We see this far too often when salon loyalty programs are built into a salon POS software system.

Points are automatically added into the client file, yet the client is not aware, and therefore they are not changing their purchase habits.

How do we change that? Put the program and the points in the hands of your customer. Give them an opportunity to see their points balance each and every time they are collecting (and in between if they want!).

Let them see the rewards that are available to them. This lets them see the actual value of the program and also gets them excited as they get closer and closer to a reward they are interested in (see how this can change the psychology and entice them to spend more to reach that reward faster?!).

You see, buying is an emotional decision. We are tapping into the customer psyche. So as a business owner, you need your customers to connect on an emotional level with your salon or spa loyalty program.

Emotional Connection Builds Member Engagement

While 84% of members surveyed reported feeling satisfied with their membership, only 55% said they felt a connection with the business. That’s a gap of 30%. Creating a real emotional connection is difficult, but probably easier in the salon/spa industry than others. Service providers can create deeply personal relationships with their clients over time.

But you can’t simply rely on your stylist having a good relationship with their client. You need the client to have an emotional connection with the salon, not just the stylist. This kind of relationship requires a business to invest a similar amount of dedication

and emotional energy, too. 

You can do this by using your loyalty app to connect with clients about important things:

- Send a message to them with a little bonus on their birthday.

- Send a message to them after their visit with a simple Thank You.

- Make them feel valued by sending them special offers and opportunities to earn bonus points.  

True emotional engagement goes deeper than repeat purchases. When a member encounters hardship or difficulty, will they see your company as an essential partner in finding a solution, or another drain on an already stretched budget?

Creative Ways to Communicate with Members

Here are a few ideas to help inspire you to continue having positive interactions with your members and keep them engaged with your company and your salon loyalty program:

Be Personal

People connect with other people more readily than they connect with businesses or brands. Be sure to reveal the people behind your business. This is valid for your social media posting as well as any messages coming from your loyalty program. Write your texts as if you are writing a friend.

Video messages evoke more emotion than just text, so using video in the right circumstances to communicate to your clients can be very effective.

Even steps as simple as having your emails come from an employee name instead of your organization name can deepen a relationship.

Be Transparent

We are in a time where people crave information. But we are also skeptical about ‘fake news’.

Therefore your loyalty program members will appreciate open, honest communication when it comes to important issues.

When a brand has a history of transparency 90% of consumers will give them a

second chance and 85% will stay through a crisis. Transparency in this case is means that a business is open, clear and honest in their communication with the public.

Even disappointing news such as technical issues that cause closures, new regulations, cancelled appointments, etc. is forgivable when the information comes from you with a sincere apology and a plan to make it right.

Show Appreciation

The simple act of hearing the words: “thank you” has been shown to make a person more receptive to continuing a relationship, even a new one.

Gratitude has a lot of benefits, and it doesn’t take a lot of money to make a big statement.

Your loyal members are visiting more frequently and spending more.

It is imperative that you take many opportunities to thank them and make them feel appreciated.

For example, a follow up call, a thank you note or a follow-back on social media can help a member feel valued.

If you need more ideas, here’s a list of 25 inexpensive salon client appreciation ideas.

Inject an Element of Fun

Since you want a member’s experience with you to be overwhelmingly positive, then it makes sense to add a layer of fun to your member interactions.

Firstly, having a salon loyalty app is a great start because it makes your program digital and puts it at the client’s fingertips.  

Tying some of your rewards to a mystery prize wheel can be exciting. Your clients can even help you determine what game elements will be the most popular.

A prize wheel could be linked to a loyalty bonus points offer or % discount (for example, the client could redeem their points for chance to spin for a % off their retail purchase. The spin wheel could have several different % offers).

You could also provide bonus points for certain interactions that members have to do (consider a virtual scavenger hunt of ‘tasks’ to do on your website and/or social media).

Connect Everything to Your Salon Loyalty Program

If you really want your members to be engaged with your loyalty program, you need to make it a focal point of their experience with your company.

Put the control in their hands with a salon or spa app, and use it along with the points system to run all your promotions, to send messages and special offers to

clients, and to provide special perks or opportunities for bonus points.

The more engaged the client is, the more they focus on earning points. The more they focus on earning points, the more they spend.

The more they spend, the more rewards they earn. The more rewards they

earn, the happier they are about their experience with your company.

It’s a positive cycle that will help you continue to foster a deep connection with members and retain them as happy clients for a very long


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