The most valuable client for any salon is the loyal client, the one who keeps coming back appointment after appointment, year after year. You’ve all heard that 80 percent of your future revenue is likely to come from 20 percent of your existing clients. You may have also heard it costs five times more to attract a new client than to keep an existing one. And then, this old chestnut has likely motivated you a time or two: a 5 percent increase in client retention can generate a 25 percent increase in profits.
Yet ensuring client loyalty still eludes so many, despite efforts to create a better environment and experience than their rivals. But often what they’ve failed to understand is that successful efforts to build loyalty must continue beyond the salon. Technology has made it easier to stay connected, especially with so much communication automated that clients expect it. Here are four ways of using technology that will keep your clients coming back:
Loyalty cards: Those bits of tattered card with stamps were a great gimmick for a while, but their functionality was limited. Once they were handed out, but there was no way to monitor them until, occasionally, they were redeemed. Nowadays loyalty cards are much more sophisticated and affordable, and they are no longer limited to the huge companies with millions to spend. Salons of all sizes are running comprehensive, automated client loyalty programs. All of which is recorded by your software, allowing you to plan ahead strategically. And it’s flexible, no longer a one-size-fits-all approach. Different points can be given for different services or products purchased; clients can be segmented into tiers and their rewards altered; different days or frequency of visit can be targeted to drive sales, and the benefits are rolling in.
No-hassle marketing: Digital client records that you can segment and drill down into have made it easy to executive highly targeted marketing campaigns. Your software should be alerting you to a client’s birthday, allowing you to quickly send out that birthday greeting, or, if you are a Shortcuts Software salon with Set & Forget Marketing, it’s doing it all for you without bothering you or your staff. You can use your software to search for clients who have lagged a bit on their next appointment, allowing you to send out a little reward if they come back. Your software should also allow you to send regular newsletters to build your brand community and, if it includes hair advice or special offers, to offer added value to your clients.
Priceless client recall: Walking into a salon and being greeted by name or being able to continue a conversation started during the previous appointment would make anyone feel valued, but it’s difficult for receptionists and therapists to remember everyone who visits. But with digital client records, it’s possible to jot down a few notes beyond just actual services purchased once they have paid and left – notes that will help recall that this particular client’s husband has been ill or her daughter is getting married this spring. A picture from the previous appointment can also make it easier to plan how to progress the client’s care at the next appointment. If the team can demonstrate they value a client enough to remember her, why would she ever go anywhere else?
There’s an app for that: The latest technologies are creating instant, constant access via clients’ smartphones. We have seen a dramatic uptake in our recently launched customizable salon app. An app means no more loading websites and navigating through to booking, and it presents a fully branded site for clients to browse, with instant access to online booking, the ability to check services or team info or simply to review past and future appointments. The app can also carry alerts and feature offers and, because it is customizable, every time the client opens it they are immediately submerged into the personality of your brand.
About Shortcuts Software: Shortcuts Software provides intuitive technology solutions to over 14,000 clients in the hair and grooming industries worldwide. As well as their stylish point of sale systems, Shortcuts sets itself apart by offering a complete online marketing solution built in to the system, and personalized client support 24/7. Constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of the market, Shortcuts is powered by the largest research and development team in the industry. Founded in 1994, Shortcuts technologies are now used in 45 countries around the globe.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.