DRIVING LOYALTY WITH CUSTOMER-CENTRIC TECHNOLOGY: Key takeaways to help engage customers through innovation.

Author:Hockett, Steve

There are a number of successful franchises using technology to attract, engage with, and retain customers. At Great Clips, we have faced the challenge of balancing technology with the in-real-life experience of getting a haircut. You can get your groceries delivered to your door after placing an order through an app; you can have your car trouble diagnosed through an app; and you can even interact with a doctor through an app.

But, you can't order a routine haircut or special occasion new style for delivery through an app. So, at Great Clips, our challenge has been how to balance customers' use of technology to improve their overall experience and drive them to visit a local salon where they feel comfortable and connected to the stylists.

With more than 4,350 salons in the United States and Canada, Great Clips has experienced tremendous growth since our first salon opened in 1982. At the forefront of this growth is the strategy around customer-centric technology implemented to achieve consistent results that drive franchisee profitability and deliver a great customer experience. Because all Great Clips salons are independently owned and operated, although customers don't necessarily differentiate between each salon, our goal is to have a service platform where every Great Clips customer experiences the same outstanding customer service no matter which salon they visit, no matter which stylist cuts their hair.

You can set up these types of customer-centric technology at your franchise, but where should you start? By making things easier for your customers on mobile and building loyalty programs to establish long-term relationships and increase brand awareness.

Innovate Around Your Core

Millions of customers connect with our brand through their Great Clips app, and with more than 40 percent of all customer visits originating from this platform, we know that we're on the right track. Introducing these technologies into our franchise system has driven salon growth, increased customer loyalty and has been key in building connectivity with customers. You can set reminders for a haircut, make an appointment, find out wait times and much more.

When thinking about your franchised business, how does your app make life easier for your customers?

* Does it connect with your customers between visits or purchases?

* Can customers pre-order/pre-pay to make their in-store time faster and easier?

* What are current pain points in working with you that...

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