You’ve heard of suspended coffees, right? The pay-it-forward type program that allows patrons to donate a cup of brew to someone in need. Perhaps you’ve heard someone order a double latte and tack on a suspended coffee at the register or you’ve seen the rows of “suspended” post-its or bowl of cards available for redemption at checkout. Coffee houses around the country have adopted the mindset and have taken the practice of giving to another level. It’s a simple gesture by patrons that can really make someone else’s day. So, why not offer something like this in your salon?
Naturally, a cup of coffee is much easier to pass along than a haircut or blowout, and post-it notes a bit tacky to display for salons, but the significance of the donation is proportionately more substantial. Just think of it, if someone is out of work or down on their luck, why not step up to help with a haircut to help with the job fair or interview? To a single parent who can’t manage the cost of a salon visit, a complimentary haircut for her kids would mean the world. To the families hiding out in women’s shelters and kids surviving in children’s homes, an in-facility service can be life-changing.
Many salons already step up for their clients on an individual basis, which is commendable and always encouraged. The same for programs where staff donates a few hours a month to a local shelter or raises funds for a worthy cause with a cut-a-thon or other event. Keep doing all of that, as they are always worthy programs. The problem is that the need for help far outweighs the available hours that salons and their staff can donate, so why not give clients an opportunity to pitch in so more people can be helped?
The suggestion is to implement a program that lets salon patrons get involved in the giving process. The option to tack on a little something extra at the register or to donate their rewards points for the sake of someone else in need. It’s just a matter of offering a simple vehicle in which to encourage and take in donations and a turnkey way of choosing recipients.
Do be mindful that the price of a haircut may be a bit much for some clients to donate, so the suggestion is to have a realistic offering that most customers can manage. Perhaps it’s in ten dollar increments, which is a natural number to round up at checkout. Regardless of the amount, you can treat the donation as a gift card purchase, which is later redeemed by someone else once services are rendered. And since the donation is made at checkout, be sure to have simple signage that helps prompt the contribution. It’s also a great subject to add to newsletters or even do a standalone e-promotion. Follow that up with posts on social media and in casual conversation with clients and watch the project take off.
As far as whom to offer the redemptions to, that’s up to you and your staff. Perhaps it’s a subject to cover at staff meetings in order to nominate worthy recipients or to agree upon a group project, like offering more time offsite for various causes. Or maybe you give out gift cards to local shelters and let them deem worthy recipients. Regardless, the gift is much appreciated to someone who desperately needs the services and the boost of self-esteem that comes with it.