The sign of a successful salon is something like a hum, or a buzz.  It’s a flurry of well-orchestrated activity,fun and exciting, with stylists hustling to attend to their clients, a front desk team assisting new arrivals and upcoming appointments, and assistants describing how a particular product can benefit a client’s home care routine. All of this is happening in various areas of your business, independently of each other, but working together to create a more successful (and profitable) salon or spa business.

The caveat, however, is that in this new competitive landscape, offering a highly customized yet efficient service to your clients relies on having constant access to their information online. Imagine the stylist, front desk coordinator and the assistant attempting to access the computer at the same time. All of a sudden your salon becomes much less organized. So unless you have a huge front desk, or computers mounted all over your salon, an iPad or tablet may be your best bet for enabling and empowering your stylists so they can offer a highly customized service to your clients.

Think about it: if your stylists had access to their schedules, their clients’ history and their current tickets while at their station, they could draw the clients through the salon more effectively without bogging down the front desk – a genius business move and a huge bonus for your clients. 

This personalized service starts with stylists preparing for the day’s clients by reviewing their personal schedule, identifying upselling opportunitiesand evenlooking for opportunities to fill gaps in their schedule. They can also prepare for each service and reference their color formula history and retail purchases right from the chair. 

As your stylist begins the service and starts a conversation, a tablet arms them with not only a client’s past service history, but also a digital lookbookto explore what the client wants to accomplish that day. Shoulder length can mean something different from person to person. Understanding which ‘Katie Holmes’ hairstyle the client is after is critical to getting it right.  In those sorts of situations, there is nothing quite like the power of Google to search for a specific image and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Your stylists can also prepare their own lookbooks by saving pictures of styles they’ve done themselves or those of interesting celebrities to show to clients as they discuss options. They can always use Pinterest or other social media channels to ‘pin’ new hairstyles to boards or albums to demonstrate various styles and colors. 

As the service progresses and the stylist has new, updated notes for the client’s profile, they can add them to the client card at their work station, perhaps while the client is processing or between appointments. Stylists can keep their notes up-to-date on every client without clogging up the front desk.  Imagine your stylists also wrapping up the service by recommending products to the client at the chair,adding them to the point of sale remotely so the front desk can gather them on the client’s behalf and wrap them up, giving a faster checkout and fewer excuses.

Empowering stylists with information and tools that enable them to look like the professionals they are goes beyond helping them remember their schedule. It means providing them with a confidence-boosting system for delivering a consultation and service their clients will talk about. 

Paul Tate is CEO North America at Shortcuts Software, which has provided top-level software to salons and spas across the world, offering software solutions in nine languages to more than 12,000 clients in 46 countries. Shortcuts clients range from multi-site chains and franchises to single-site businesses.  Designed specifically for the salon and spa industry, Shortcuts is continually updating its core products with the largest R&D team in the industry and business experts across all the major markets.

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