Not so long ago, tapping into technology required a stationary computer and even a server, but that’s no longer the case—now everything can be accessed through a tablet, such as an iPad, or a phone.
With the advent of Cloud Computing, salons can use tablets or even smartphones to access electronic files, shaping the client experience. “A key element that continues to evolve is personalized real-time mobility. Everyone is working harder these days, with less available time, and social media has helped people become continually connected to technology and real-time information,” says Emil Magro, Korvue national account manager. “We now look for these conveniences everywhere, including in our salons. Clients not only want to be able to schedule appointments from their phone or the web, they also want to tag their favorite service providers, treatments, products and visits. They want to be able to take pictures of themselves and relate to these images with comments to their visit.
“It’s one thing to be able to book an appointment online, but having the ability to choose your favorite cut and color photo from your phone and have the system automatically search out available times for those services with the same providers is an entirely different story,” says Magro.
When it comes to business, the latest in mobility is Cloud Computing, or the practice of using a network or remote services hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server or personal computer. “It means you are truly mobile, you’re not just going on the internet,” says Catherine Renaud, president of Software Creations. “There’s no place you can’t go and no browser you can’t use.”
This is changing the way salons do business by making them truly client centric. Take a look at the possibilities:
Your client Susan breezes in for her appointment. A receptionist floating through the waiting area sees Susan walk in, quickly consults her tablet, looking over the photos of the clients expected that morning. She greets Susan by name, checks her in with a tap, then noting Susan’s personal preferences in her file, asks Susan if she could bring her a Diet Coke. Susan agrees, and as she sips her drink she mentions how happy she is to be in today since her hair has been feeling so dry. The receptionist jots a quick note in Susan’s file and highlights it for Susan’s stylist. In the chair, Susan’s stylist talks to her about the benefits of a deep conditioning treatment. Susan happily agrees to the add-on service, and while she is processing, her stylist takes out her smartphone, adds the service to Susan’s ticket and recommends the take-home version of the conditioner to maintain the results. Simultaneously, the floating receptionist stops by Susan’s chair with her tablet, and they book Susan’s next appointment.
“The important thing is that the client feels ‘known,’ and while you can’t know hundreds of clients, they can think you do,” says Renaud. “It’s all about what we can do to serve her today, and that equates to a higher ticket.”
Not only is mobility adding to a higher ticket, it’s lessoning the workload on the staff by distributing the process. Alternatively, a salon can even post a tablet on the wall in the reception area, inviting guests to check themselves in, add products to their ticket or book their next appointment, eliminating lines and unanswered calls at the front desk.
“It also eliminates those paper product prescriptions,” says Renaud. “I believe we’re getting it all wrong in terms of trying to force technicians to sell—it’s not in their DNA. But give them a mobile device or put some iPads on the wall in the cutting area, and they can key in product recommendations the front desk can follow through with at checkout. You’ll see your retail numbers go up.”
At Salon Ziba in New York, the front desk and floor managers have been using an iPad for the past two months to help check in guests and add products and services to a client’s ticket. “We’ve also found it really useful to help us gather information on a client,” says Olivier Pezeron, salon manager. “We simply hand the iPad to the guest and ask them to enter in their own information so they can receive our e-mail newsletter and appointment confirmations. They enjoy the iPad as a tool and feel more secure about where their information is going.”