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Reward Your Guest-Care Team and Reap the Benefits

Van Michael Buckhead
Van Michael Salon, Buckhead Location

Does your front-desk team feel like they’re missing out on some of the perks stylists enjoy? Do they need more motivation to deliver superior client service?

It might be time to put a plan in place to reward and motivate your front-desk staff. At Van Michael Salons in the Atlanta, Georgia area, Executive Director of Guest Services Jana Rudolph and her team had to think out of the box when they developed Royal Rewards for their guest-service coordinators. A lot of time and careful thought was put into this non-traditional perks program, and it has paid off.

Obviously, every salon is not going to have a staff of 75 guest-service coordinators like Van Michael does—most salons do not even have a call center. But even if you’re smaller, you can still have a similar rewards program.

How it Works

Van Michael’s Royal Rewards program is based on points.

“Initially, it was just a way to give incentives to the guest service coordinators and call center every month without increasing their salary,” Rudolph says.

 Up to 1,500 points are available to guest-service/ call-center team to earn per year.

“Each salon has monthly average sales goal based on retail and services,” Rudolph says. “We try for a 10 percent increase each month based on the prior year’s numbers. If the salon meets that goal at the end of the month, each guest-service coordinator gets 75 points.”

For the call center, the goal is based off the rate of service on the phone. “We grade the service based on several pieces of information—how quickly we answer, the amount of calls taken, etc.,” Rudolph says.

While this is a group goal, it encourages individuals to add on services and sell more retail.

Individual points can be earned a couple of different ways. Another 75 points are rewarded to those who have perfect attendance for a quarter, and then there are the “on-the-spot” rewards.

“Each salon manager gets a bank of points that they can give out however they like—all at once or in 5-point increments,” Rudolph explains. “If they want to do a daily contest and give out 5 points, they can. Or they can have a big focus for a particular month/week.”

Sometimes, managers simply give out points for those who are going the extra mile.

“They may get points for doing something like dealing with a client challenge without involving a manager, or running out to get a client lunch,” Rudolph says.”

“When a manager sees them doing something they went out of their way to do, they can reward them with points.”

Managers use an Excel tracker to input points in the system where they can be accessed by all team leaders.

“I encourage them to put the points in weekly so they can keep a tally,” Rudolph says.

Redeeming Points

some of the rewards available

Tech gadgets are some of the most popular rewards.

Once points are accumulated, they can be redeemed for merchandise or other, non-tangible incentives.

The non-merchandise items are free or a nominal cost to the salon—a parking spot, hair services, leaving early, etc.

The merchandise, which includes myriad items like iPads, cameras, luggage, purses, watches, Bose sound systems and more, is all acquired through the rewards Van Michael Salons earn from Aveda purchases on the company’s American Express card.

With seven locations and around 75 guest-service coordinators, including the call center, using American Express points was the key to launching the program.

“The cost to the company is very minimal,” Rudolph says.

“Different things motivate different people, which is why we offer a variety of ways to redeem points.”

Rudolph changes up the merchandise offered based on what people choose and whether they’re running out of anything. “It should be minimal or free to the company,” she says. “The point is to not spend any extra money on the program.”

But for the employees, the points—and perks—really add up to an awesome bonus package. The highest point value for an item is 800 points, which equals items like a TV, an iPad, a laptop, a Burberry watch or a Bose sound system, and the points roughly correlate with the price of an item.

“The guest service coordinators love it,” Rudolph says. “I get calls three times a week about points and how they can spend them. And they’re constantly asking how they can earn more—they really strive to get those manager points.”

One employee recently posted on the company’s internal Facebook page about everything she has redeemed points for—blowouts, a Bose sounds system, luggage and purses—all because of the Royal Rewards program.

Rewards include some of the retail product that the salon sells.

Rewards can include some of the retail products that the salon sells.

“She was very grateful to get those prizes just for doing her job,” Rudolph says.

Other employees use those points to buy holiday/birthday gifts for others, and at the end of the year, the person who accumulated the most points gets a desktop Mac computer.

As for the managers, Rudolph says they also love the program because it gives them a way to reward people without having to ask for a raise on their behalf.

“It’s not a big, time-consuming thing for the managers to do points,” she says. “Some just do a contest for who signs up the most clients for Pure Privilege.”

“It needs to be relevant to what you’re trying to encourage your staff to do,” Rudolph says. “The point recognition and redemption process must make sense for the company.”

At Van Michael, the goal of the program was for the guest-service coordinators to reach their goals and come to work. They also wanted to eliminate turnover, which has strongly improved.

“Last year, we had a 75 percent rate of people who stayed with us,” Rudolph says.

The Royal Rewards program has gone through a few adjustments over the years and Rudolph says it remains flexible. But overall, it has been a win-win for management and the guest service team.

Van Michael Red
The front desk at one of the Van Michael salons.

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