Better Client Relations Through Technology

By Jan Hillenmeyer and assisted by Lauren Salapatek | 07/02/2012 1:37:00 PM

 

As the average client grows more technologically sophisticated, it’s more critical than ever than salons and service providers keep up. We asked this month’s Perspective participants how technology is shaping the client experience in the salon.

 

click image to zoomLauren Whitson, manager, 1&1 Internet, Inc.

Advancements in technology, especially mobile platforms and the Internet have pushed the boundaries of convenience.  Getting things done quickly is imperative and service industries are impacted more and more by the consumer experience. Salon professionals are challenged to offer the best service to clients before, during and after appointments and salons are creating more dynamic websites to provide clients with online services. Mobile apps and social media have resulted in new levels of accessibility and convenience for the salon client, which translates into more achievable success for salons.” --Lauren Whitson, manager, 1&1 Internet, Inc.


click image to zoomChris Brubaker, director of marketing, Demandforce

Today’s on-demand environment where everyone is connected 24/7 by a mobile device or computer provides great opportunities for tech-savvy salons to nurture and improve client relationships with services like online scheduling, special offers and auto-confirmations. Salons can turn clients into referral engines through reviews and referral programs. The best part for salon owners is that the tools required to accomplish all this can be automated with very little demand on the owner’s time." --Chris Brubaker, director of marketing, Demandforce


Rachel Ostrom, executive director of consumer engagement, Aveda

 “In March, Aveda launched “My Aveda Make-Over,” free virtual make-overs on a web-based platform that allows clients to experiment with new looks before they enter the salon. In June, Aveda launched an iPad application. These programs allow the client to virtually change her hair color or style from a palette of Aveda Full Spectrum Professional Hair Color and a collection of lengths and styles. The technology also allows clients to post virtual new looks on Facebook and get feedback from friends. The iPad application is the first app of its kind and is available through iTunes.” --Rachel Ostrom, executive director of consumer engagement, Aveda


click image to zoomFarouk Shami, founder and CEO, Farouk Systems

 “Today’s salon client is surrounded by technology through various devices. Farouk Systems is making products and information available using technology like the touch screen panel on the CHI Touch Dryer. Farouk systems also launched the CHI Colorist app for all Apple and Android devices which allows clients to receive a color consultation on the go with formulas, application techniques and will eventually include educational videos on cell phones or tablets. The company has also increased its presence and daily interaction through social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.” --Farouk Shami, founder and CEO, Farouk Systems


click image to zoomAlejandro Lopez, senior vice president and general manager, SalonCentric

Salon clients are armed with more information than ever before on trends, color effects, new technologies and product ingredients. Savvy salon professionals need to help clients sift through the information and be seen as authorities on beauty and style. Salons that are using iPads during consultations or using smart phones to film styling videos to share via e-mail or social media are helping  educate clients, create a better customer experience and position themselves as knowledgeable partners. Salons must embrace and manage digital platforms to create a better client experience and, as a result, grow their business.” --Alejandro Lopez, senior vice president and general manager, SalonCentric


click image to zoomStephanie Jennings, director of sales, Mindbody

 “People connect today via social media, email and texting. Mobile technology is constantly changing and for a client-based business like the salon industry, this social shift means that owners must adapt to meet the demands of their mobile clientele by being online in all the right places. Clients visit a salon’s  web site and social media pages, read reviews on Yelp, and finally book and pay for services online and from mobile devices. Salons must be where clients can find them and offer the convenience of online services." --Stephanie Jennings, director of sales, Mindbody


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Clients feel satisfied when they receive personal attention and the freedom to determine when and where an experience will take place. We can check e-mail, update social media and manage our business with the touch of a button. Salons expand the client’s freedom by allowing them to schedule appointments, receive online confirmations, offers and promotions and interact with the salon’s social media community. Rosy allows salons to run their business remotely, and engage clients with 24/7 engagement. Rosy lets salons balance the “interior” and “exterior” client relationship with technological solutions to improve the client experience, both inside and outside the salon.” --Rosy, vice president brand awareness, Rosy Software


Tracey Solanas, vice president of sales, SalonBooker by GramercyOne

Everything is going mobile today, including the way clients interact with salons. Web-based technology is powering this shift and clients can book appointments from anywhere at any time using mobile devices. Stylists can access schedules and take payment with mobile POS, all of which leaves time for other tasks including retailing and services that improve the client experience. With SalonBooker software, salons have a mobile reception desk. Clients can check in and check out with a credit card using a tablet from the styling chair or via a roving receptionist. This technology makes salons more accessible to the growing number of clients with smart phones.” --Tracey Solanas, vice president of sales, SalonBooker by GramercyOne


click image to zoomPaul Tate, CEO, Shortcuts Software

 “The modern consumer is a communications sponge and salons no longer have to worry that technology will interfere with the client relationship. Clients gather messages from multiple media, all of which influences their buying behavior. At Shortcuts, we focus on connecting salons with clients. Our SOLAR System, a cloud-based software addition, lets salons send surveys to clients and respond to their feedback. SETANDFORGET marketing automatically e-mails clients with messages that promote salon visits and product purchases. Clients want to receive relevant content from the salon and pricing offers, client-specific deals and more general touch-points improve client retention.” --Paul Tate, CEO, Shortcuts Software


click image to zoomToma Kovacevic, Emicor

Today’s client is techno-savvy and digitally engaged and salons need to connect with clients in as many interactive ways as possible. Emicor salon management software streamlines management functions and reporting and engages clients interactively allowing appointment bookings, reminders, marketing specials. Professionals can retrieve color formulations, service history and more to help improve the salon’s relationship with the client. Technological engagement and communication are key to improving salon/client relationships, but at heart, it is still caring professionals, excellent service, the right products and motivated professionals who become respected partners with their clients.” --Toma Kovacevic, Emicor


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“Clients expect totally different things from salons now. They expect us to communicate clearly and instantaneously. They want to book an appointment online with minimal hassle and are willing to pay for this convenience by paying in advance. Our new client friendly booking engine encourages online booking just by mentioning it on the salon Web site. Staff members love the fact that prepaying clients are far less likely to be no-shows. Our SalonBiz Whiteboard can be displayed in the dispensary and when client reviews are visible, clients function as a coach for the staff. For us, it is simple—create software that helps salons run their business so efficiently that it frees them up to spend time creating an amazing experience for the client and at the same time, allows managers to coach their team to ultimate success.” --Edwin Neill, CEO, Neill Corporation, SalonBiz Software, Neill Technologies


click image to zoomAshley Mooney, social media specialist, Organic Salon Systems

“A well-connected online presence is an important tool that can give salons the power to prosper. What this means for salons is simple—connectivity is key. It’s no longer enough for potential clients to be able to find a salon through social media sites. They should be able to reach the salon through online technologies that provide in-depth information, display creative work, project the salon culture and let clients know their voice is heard. Salons need to harness technology to build successful client relationships. A well connected online presence is an important tool that can give salons the power to prosper.” --Ashley Mooney, social media specialist, Organic Salon Systems


click image to zoomTodd Shea, senior director of marketing brands and product innovation, Aware Products

“Social media is one of the most impactful new technologies. Successful salons and stylist have harnessed the power of these marketing tools to interact with existing clients, find potential clients and promote products and salon specials. To make it easier for salons to create their own product lines, Aware is introducing a product design tool on our website, club-aware.com. This will enable our salon customers to choose products and packaging, upload a logo and review the preliminary design online. Customers can experiment with different packaging and ink colors, submit the information and begin the process of creating their own line of products for their clients.” --Todd Shea, senior director of marketing brands and product innovation, Aware Products


click image to zoomJoan Jennert, sales manager, Envision Salon & Spa Software

Salon clients no longer wait until they come to the salon for a service to receive information or book appointments. With current technology, they receive e-mails or text messages to learn about last minute appointments, product specials or salon events. Clients go to Google to read reviews, Facebook to see where friends are having services, and to the salon Web site to book appointments online or purchase gift cards. Clients are accustomed to the immediate experience. Software like Envision allows salons to improve client relationships through constant digital communication. Automating salon tasks provides time to give clients the best service, to cultivate client relationships and to reach out to new clients. Clients today will rate their experience and share it digitally with the world.” --Joan Jennert, sales manager, Envision Salon & Spa Software


click image to zoomMark Jackson, president, DaySmart Software

“As a software engineer, I am always thinking about how technology affects the world and what I can do to influence that progress in a beneficial way. Salon Iris has created a system for clients to book appointments directly through any internet source, as well as provide the salon with a system to directly contact clients via text message or e-mail for appointment reminders, marketing information and special sales. Salon Iris’ mobile applications for iPhone or Android allow salons to connect with new clients and book them an appointment immediately. This technology gives salon instant access to client information and service history, providing a personal touch. Technology has made the salon experience all about the client and there is nothing more personal than that.” --Mark Jackson, president, DaySmart Software


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Mobility is at the core of the salon client’s social structur”e. Salons that reflect the client’s busy world focused on convenience and value will win the day. An example: a client tells a friend about a first-time service discount she received from a salon via a QR code. The friend snaps a photo of the code on her smart phone. The photo is scanned at the salon’s front desk, capturing client information and promotion type. The client then books her next appointment on her phone and receives an SMS text confirmation. This is a snap if the salon’s software handles QR Codes, real time online booking and SMS. Salons that have the internal software to greet the client by name from a tablet, add at-home products from a smart phone to a paperless sales ticket ant provide information in mobile Cloud devices will attract and retain more clients and increase revenue.” --Catherine Renaud, CEO, Virtual Cloud Software


click image to zoomJohn Harms, president, Harms Software

“Technology is enhancing the salon’s ability to build more meaningful relationships with its clients. New technology and social media platforms mean that clients are always just one click away from finding out about new products, promotions, staff and events. Salons have access to clients’ birthdays, anniversaries and other significant events.  Technology provides the vital tools to sustaining a personal level of communication letting clients make decisions about the communication they receive outside of the salon.  Salons must keep up with technology if they want to keep up with clients and their expectations.” --John Harms, president, Harms Software


click image to zoomJeff Mason, vice president of sales & marketing, Salon Transcripts

The impact of technology on the salon/client relationship continues to evolve as small businesses scramble to keep up with change. Not enough businesses make the effort to take advantage of client connectedness, like offering online booking or using Facebook. Happy clients are apt to stay with you for the long haul, so the role of technology for salons is about two things: luring new clients and increasing revenues from existing clients. Most consumers go online to research a product or service before buying, so an online presence is important in attracting new clients. A sure way to increase revenue and encourage referrals is to market online to existing clients—they will buy more if you ask them and they will spread the word through e-mail and social media.” --Jeff Mason, vice president of sales & marketing, Salon Transcripts


click image to zoomNorma Jean Fusco, owner/president, Nufree Finipil

“Technology is shaping today’s salon client by keeping them better connected to their salon or spa. Salons can e-mail or text a client about specials or remind them of an upcoming appointment. Services can be conveniently booked online and daily or weekly Facebook or Twitter updates keep the salon or spa in front of existing clients and can attract new clients. Most clients will go online before choosing a salon so it is imperative to have a salon Website and treat it as an extension of your business. It only requires a minimum effort to collect client e-mail address and send out monthly e-blasts, but it can reap a significant pay off."--Norma Jean Fusco, owner/president, Nufree Finipil


 

“Thanks to advancements in technology, salons and stylists are able to provide an enhanced improved experience for clients and build customer loyalty. SureTint, for example, not only provides an exceptional, patented business tool that helps reduce color waste and shrinkage, but also allows for improved accuracy and exact duplication of client formulas. Clients are guaranteed the same hair color from visit to visit. SureTint supports business development, professionalism and client satisfaction on all levels.” --Joe Rygiel, president, SureTint Technologies


click image to zoom “Technology is improving the client experience by providing immediate and relevant information via mobile devices, social media and new capabilities like online booking. As a result of this technology, the client feels more connected to her service provider resulting in a better experience and greater client loyalty. Technology allows the salon to better understand the client’s needs through improved communication and information, providing a personalized experience geared to the client’s needs and wishes.” --Paul Pagliaro, president and CEO, Milano Computer Systems, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lauren Salapatek

Lauren Salapatek Lauren Salapatek, Web Editor for Modern Salon | Salon Today | First Chair.

(Previous positions: Associate Editor/E-Newsletter Content Production Manager)

Since January 2010, Lauren has worked for Modern Salon Media covering salon style, product and beauty trends, and business editorial for both print and online content. As of October 2013, Lauren’s role changed to Web Editor—now she manages all online editorial content for modernsalon.com, salontoday.com and firstchair.com. As part of her responsibilities, she creates, edits, organizes and curates content for all Modern Salon Media’s websites; manages the creation and production of all Salon e-newsletters; promotes Modern Salon Media’s digital content via several social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest); and maintains an editorial calendar to keep all Modern Salon Media’s websites timely and current.

You can find Lauren on Google+ or e-mail her at lsalapatek@modernsalon.com.

 


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