The Power of Mobility: The Mobile Consultation
At the brand new Canvas Salon and Skin Bar in Columbus, Ohio, owner Stefanie Fox hired an IT firm and gave them the parameters of what she wanted to create before she opened her salon. The redCHOCOLATE educator envisioned a team of stylists working with iPads with information centrally located so the tablets could be used as consultation and coaching tools.
“The iPads are amazing—clients and hairdressers alike are in love with them!” says Fox.
At the start of a service at Canvas Salon, a guest is handed an ipad and asked to complete a questionnaire, which is a part of the salon’s website accessible only by the team. The stylist then receives an email that populates the guest’s selections for the value-added services she’s chosen for that appointment. Next, Fox has all the redCHOCOLATE consultation forms uploaded via dropbox onto the tablet, which stylists use to help guide the service.
A thorough consultation invites clients to touch their own hair and explain where it feels different, giving the stylist an entry point to talk about possible treatments. Stylists also use the tablets to access the salon’s Pinterest account, where boards have been created for every category of service and every season. “We use the Pinterest application during the color and style portions of the consultation to identify visually where we are going with the guest,” says Fox. “The iPads really raise the level of professionalism of the stylist in the eyes of a client. For example, I had a stylist tell me the other day that she has the pickiest client who is never open to change. But when the client saw she was now working with an iPad and showed her ideas from the Pinterest boards, for the first time that client allowed the hairdresser to perform a style she thought would look great on her. That’s powerful.”
As part of the thorough Canvas color consultation, stylists are expected to recommend up to three color service options for the clients to consider. Fox added a PDF application into the tablet that allows stylists to write directly into the PDFs. “Typically, at this point the hairdresser will offer the guest a beverage and step away for a moment and type up the three recommendations. These are presented to the client, but are also saved in her file and can be emailed to the client,” says Fox. “Sometimes the client will choose to do the more conservative or least expensive option on that day of service, but because we are emailing her the options, which always include the pricing, she’ll mull over the other options and come back and take us up on one of the others at a later appointment.”
Fox encouraged each of the stylists to establish a Linked In profile and a professional Facebook page and they encourage guests to connect to those. Before and after images are taken of the guests and with the guest’s permission are tagged to the stylist’s Facebook page, the salon’s Facebook page and the guest’s page.
“Some owners think the employee’s phones are an issue because they are always on them texting and Facebooking, and they see it as goofing off,” says Fox. “But I see it as a generational difference. Yes, we set parameters on how phones will be used, but we encourage staff to use them throughout the day as tools, and a way to connect with clients in a smart and professional way.”
Fox also believes the iPad helps elevate the conversation that staff engage in with clients. Like Kossof, Canvas Salon encourages clients to use the iPads during their color processing time. And, she charges her employees to keep the salon’s tablets loaded with content on beauty, health and fashion trends; new books and films; as well as information on cool new hot spots in the community and news on local events.
“I encourage staff to follow a persona interest and report on it,” she says. “For example, my manager loves fashion and I have one stylist who is a major reader, and they’ve become responsible for keeping those area current. “It can sometimes be uncomfortable for a young stylist fresh out of school to make conversation with clients in an upscale salon—quarterly, during team meetings we go over all the new things that have been updated on our Pinterest community, and that really helps.”