When you think about loyalty and rewards programs, you probably think of big retailers like Best Buy or airlines like Delta. You might not think that local, service-based businesses like the cleaning company down the street, dog grooming, hair salon, or massage center in town has a rewards program, but an increasing number of service-based businesses are jumping on board the reward train.
Why? A loyalty and rewards program is an excellent way to keep customers happy and coming back, and for service-based businesses that means increasing appointments.
By using customer contact information collected during the signup process, service-based businesses can reach out to customers with unique promotions that are designed specifically to get more appointments on the books.
To help fill your calendar, here are three ways service-based businesses can use their rewards and loyalty program to encourage customers to make appointments:
1. Include additional perks for multiple appointments
The structure of a rewards program is set up to reward those who frequent your business. For the most part, the more a customer spends, the better the rewards.
For service-based businesses, it’s important to take this concept one step further. You can create special rewards for customers that make several appointments at once.
For instance, customers that make two salon appointments in one month get a $10 off coupon for salon products. Customers that schedule a winter and summer tune up on their heating and cooling system receive 10 percent off labor.
The idea is to offer an incentive to schedule more than one appointment in a set time period.
You can build these ideas right into your rewards structure, or give them a test run for a few months. Send text messages to your customers that advertise these special perks and review your results.
2. Create a “flash sale” during slow months
Every business seems to have a few slow months. In the retail world, when a sluggish sales month rolls around, a store can host a flash sale. A flash sale is an immediate sale that offers great discounts for a short period of time.
Service-based businesses can adapt this flash sale concept to meet their needs. For instance, an insurance firm that relies on appointments to sell policies can offer free admission to a retirement workshop to any customer that signs up for a consultation in the next 48 hours.
Customers of a computer repair shop that make an appointment to bring their laptop in for virus scanning in the next 24 hours get access to free virus-scanning software for a year.
You can promote your flash sale via text message. Use the contact list from your loyalty program and send customers a text about the limited-time deal.
3. Send reminder promotions
Your customers are busy, and sometimes all they need to make an appointment is a reminder to do so.
One of the best features of your loyalty program is access to data. You can look at your customers’ behavior and create reminder campaigns for specific segments of your audience.
For instance, a cleaning company might have a segment of customers that only make appointments at the end of the year to handle holiday party cleanup. The company can create a reminder campaign that’s specific to this group by sending a text message that offers 15 percent off to those that book their holiday clean up package in the next week.
A lawn care service might remind its usual springtime customers about its services with a text like this, “We’d be happy to tackle your dandelions again this season. Call us at 555-5555 to make an appointment and get 10% off.”
You might be wondering why you don’t just send these reminders to everyone on your contact list. Here’s the reason: research shows segmenting increases sales.
Research from MailChimp, for example, shows segmented emails get 62.8 percent more clicks than non-segmented emails. A survey from Direct Marketing Association shows a 760 percent increase in revenue from segmented campaigns in from 2012 to 2013. The more relevant a promotion is to a customer, the more likely they are to take advantage of it.
Plus, if you send every message to every customer, they’ll likely grow tired of hearing from you.
Do you have a go-to method for increasing appointments? Share your secrets with others in the comment section below.