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Gain Insights from the Timely Salon & Spa Software X INSTYLE Industry Round Table

Sharing, discussing and implementing change to better our industry- sponsored by Timely Salon & Spa Software, we gathered a panel of top industry leaders to gain insight on their growing salons and brands and to discuss challenges they face and how technology can eradicate these and take our industry to the next level.

The round table was attended by Adam Alamine, Co-founder, Royals Hair, Dawn Allmark, Founder, Madam Frou Frou, Clive Allwright, Founder, Piloroo/Artistic Director Muk/Our Place Salon, Ryan Baker , Co-founder/CEO, Timely Salon & Spa Software, Dario Cotroneo, Founder, Dario Salon/DCI Education, Julie Jefferies, Founder, Pierrot’s Hair, Gary Latham, Co-founder, Wild Life Salons, Rocco Petrucci Founder, Zucci Hairdressing, Glenn Ruddle, CEO, ANTI and Francesco Ruggerino, Founder, Prema.

The aim of this round table session was to focus on the client experience before, during and after their salon visit and how technology has impacted this process. The topics discussed aimed to gain us insight into where the industry sees technology going and how global trends in tech are changing interactions between client/stylists and salons/staff. During this discussion the team at Timely Salon & Spa Software were getting insight into features and solutions for future developments of their software to streamline concerns of the industry into developments.

With an open format and relaxed agenda, ten business superstars had the opportunity to express their ideas, strategies and opinions relating to the discussion areas, with the questions presented enabling them to share their wealth of experiences and business acumen. The discussion took place over a three course meal lunch at Ludlow Bar & Dining Room Southbank in Melbourne where participants networked in a relaxed setting over Queen’s Birthday Hair Expo weekend.

Here were some major, inspiring and relevant takeaways, gleaned below.

Change in How We Communicate

“Our salon has completely moved away from the front desk and instead uses Timely software on iPads to to check in, check out, pay and rebook. As soon as you move the client off the chair to make payment, the service becomes less personal and more transactional. Relationships are the core of the salon industry and you could argue that companies like Uber and Airbnb took industries similar to ours and disrupted how transactions were made for the better.” Dario Cotroneo

“What is the best way to communicate with people? Maybe through Facebook messenger. We can link client profiles to their Facebook page. The younger generation is texting more than they call, we should adapt reception to communicate their way.” Clive Allwright

“Traditional industry people don’t like change. We need to push everything we currently do and ensure it is streamlined across the industry.” Rocco Petrucci

“We need to find a combination between finding what is right and easy for clients as well as needed for hairdressers. By making things the norm for industry leaders, the clients and late adopters will follow suite.” Gary Latham

“Technology continues to change the way we communicate and we want to be leaders in finding the best way to use this to our advantage. We want to understand the obscurities: to create better products and better attitudes through progress.” Ryan Baker

Tech and the Client Experience

“Often when there are so many people interacting with the client, the client feels it is not personal anymore and they end up going to smaller salons. If you could get the same hairdresser that did their hair to check them out that could solve this.” Dawn Allmark

“The work force is becoming flexible and we need to create spaces for our clients to get their hair done and work from at the same time. Co-working salon spaces could be the future.” Julie Jefferies

“Our salon gets a lot of online bookings through our app. We use push notifications to let clients know if any appointments are free and have a loyalty program through it. We have decals on all mirrors informing clients that they get a free product if they download the app and could get $50 off through our loyalty program. It has worked great for us.” Clive Allwright

“The challenge is that client’s wants choice. They don’t want to have to be forced to book their hair in a certain way. Some give you a call, some do it online and some walk in. It is a personal preference which is hard to force everyone to mould and do it the same way.” Gary Latham

“Education and communication for clients is key. If you teach them what they will need to book in for and have the right software, this can solve all the problems and make it easy for them to book online or through an app without us doing it for them.” Glenn Ruddle

Tech and an Empowered Hairdresser

“Taking deposits should be a norm, we need to change the language to ‘stored payments’ and make it a standard across the industry so we don’t lose money on last minute cancellations. This is no different to how zipPay has rebranded credit. It all about changing the language of how we communicate this and standardising it across the industry.” Adam Alamine

“Staff should have the ability to look at their book and see their schedule. If you give staff- the trustworthy ones – independence, they will become empowered and promote gaps in their day through their social media. It is a win-win for everyone.” Rocco Petrucci

“If we had a really strong consultation form that could give a detailed history of the client we could nail our services from the start.” Dario Cotroneo

“Having a salon booking app that can give us the benchmarks of how other salons in the industry are doing would benefit all of us.” Adam Alamine

Recruitment and Its Changes

“The traditional way of doing recruitment is archaic. These days an Instagram account could tell you a lot more than a resume and cover letter. You obviously need to check their skills and qualifications which can be done through references and trials but why are we still using such an outdated system to hire?” Adam Alamine

“The key to making a change is having a business with a good structure that can recognize and implement change quickly when needed to make that happen.” Gary Latham

“We need to look at what the younger generations, our predecessors, are doing in recruitment and embrace it.” Francesco Ruggerino

“These days most hairdressers and clients are friends on social media outside of the salon and can keep in touch if the staff leaves the salon regardless, we need to get over the fear of losing clients because if they want to follow the hairdresser they will find a way. It evens out in the end, you lose clients when employees leave and you gain clients when new ones come.” Rocco Petrucci

The Apprentice Debacle

“We need to separate the assistant and cleaner roles and give the domestic role to someone who needs work experience. This allows the apprentices to be nurtured and to focus on doing hair rather than feel like they are a cleaner for three years. Currently the drop-out rate of apprentices is 50%. Piloroo does day training programs with struggling kids and gives them work experience. Doing this will nurture future hairdressers, the community and our industry.” Clive Allwright

“Why are kids working at a fast food chain as their first job and not being an apprentice hairdressers? Hairdressers are their own worst enemy because we tend not to upsell our job when in reality being a hairdresser is better than working at entry level jobs for youth. We need to go to underprivileged communities and recruit kids that need work and that are hungry for it.” Rocco Petrucci

“When we first started out we were so tough and inflexible with staff. Once we became more flexible we started keeping staff longer and everyone was happier. People want to work flexibly these days and we need to accommodate that and not fight it.” Adam Alamine

Final Thoughts

“We’d love to do more round table sessions and to have had more people here but ultimately it’s about showing the industry we can break down the barriers of business communication and teach each other.  Whether you have a salon in the same city or the same street but we can come together and forget about the numerous challenges and promote one and the same thing. Creating a platform that is visible to the wider industry is what INSTYLE represents. For us it’s about passing on information and this is a responsibility every one of us in the industry has.” Cameron Pine, INSTYLE Editor

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