Client Rewards: Why and How Salons Should be Awarding Points

H.E. James

About a year ago, the hairstylist I had nearly my entire life retired.  She did the hair of all the women in my family, including my young niece.  Needless to say, it was a slightly traumatic event.  We split up and began doing recon on the best new place to go, and I think I’ve finally found my new salon.

After trying two others before it, what tipped my favor to this salon?  First, I appreciated the customer service of the stylist herself.  Second, this salon offers a customer loyalty program, which is one of the easiest ways to gain repeat customers.

There are plenty of client reward programs for other services, such as travel rewards from favored hotel chains.  It’s well-run rewards programs that make organizations like Marriott and Hilton the top hotel chains in the United States.  These programs, which compensate customers for their loyalty, can be difficult to pull off, especially in a service industry like salons and spas.  Services are often priced on a sliding scale or are highly personalized between a stylist and a customer. 

Don’t let potential worries stop you from offering client rewards.  Instead, check out these tips for creating your client rewards program:

Make It Affordable

Programs that get the most traction are ones that a free.  These days, many customer expect client rewards programs to be free.  The programs exist to encourage us to spend more money at your establishment.  I very rarely join programs that require an upfront fee. This doesn’t mean your program has to be free.

It does, however, have to be affordable.  Consider the goal of a program: incentivizing customers to return to your salon for more services.  A salon program that costs more than a haircut is going to turn away potential clients.  Take Barnes & Noble’s membership program, for example.  It costs $25 a year to maintain, yet it can save customers hundreds of dollars with its available discounts.

In the end, this program costs B&N very little because it encourages readers like me, who buy at least three books at a time, to maintain that pattern.  It keeps bookworms from breaking their banks each time they buy.

Make It Simple

The membership program at B&N is a simple one.  Its biggest draw is the discount members can receive on nearly any book in the store or on the website.  Because of the comprehensive nature of the discount, it makes it easy for customers to remember and easy for the organization to calculate.

Take your cue from a retailer like Ulta, which offers a point for each dollar spent on certain products.  This uncomplicated point system is one of the most valuable customer loyalty programs because it lets customers earn cash back while encouraging them to spend more.  My new salon offers points for every dollar I spend, and every for 100 points, I earn $10 off a product or service.

For my salon rewards program, all I had to do was fill out a minute questionnaire.  The salon does all the work for me once I’ve signed up; this is key to engaging your customers: asking customers to do all the rewards work themselves is an expensive program.  Why expensive?  It will cost you clientele and turn into a huge financial hit for your organization.

Affordable and simple are the two most important tenets for a rewards program.  Make it easy for your customers to sign up and easy to earn those rewards, and you can turn a one-time customer into a full-time client.

About the Author

H.E. James

Hattie is a writer and researcher from Boise, Idaho, with a varied background, including education and sports journalism. She is a former electronic content manager and analyst for a government agency, holds an MBA, enjoys supporting local businesses, and drinking a good cider. Connect with Hattie at and

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