"Clients constantly ask me, 'Is this that ionic dryer I've heard about? Is this ceramic? I hear it's good for your hair."Ã¢â¬âsalon owner Anita Gutierrez, Clairol Professional Design Team head colorist
From software that tracks stylist productivity to new product formulas and tool features, your salon tech experience may take you where you've never gone before.
You're getting more tech-savvy, but guess what? So are your clients. You have to make sure you can tell them what you're using, because they may know the difference. "It's very important to keep up with product and tool technology, because clients hear about this all the time," says Anita Gutierrez, Design Team lead color master at Clairol Professional and head colorist at Shear Magic, based in Cerritos, California. "So you have to know about all of the new technology."
Not only do you have to know about it; you also have to invest in the new technology, since staying current can make a huge difference in your career.
on the record
If your salon has a computerized system to keep track of clients' cuts, colors and preferences, don't look at maintaining it as a choreÃ¢â¬âthis is something you can really take advantage of! "You can keep all of your records in a data file without that ever becoming apparent to the client," advises Adam Broderick, industry consultant for Clairol Professional in business development and owner of Adam Broderick Salon in Ridgefield, Connecticut. "Many stylists won't bother to check the file. When you do, it not only improves the client experience; it also improves your bottom line."
Tracking is equally important when it comes to your own work performance. It's common for managers and stylists to sit down together on a weekly or monthly basis to look over "your numbers." Software-generated reports typically break down your sales with retail-to-service ratios, calculate what you earn per working hour, identify the services you sell strongly and those you're weak on and provide other insights into your achievements. It all helps you to set goals, improve and get rewarded for your talent.
The fast pace of technology ensures that there will always be something new tomorrowÃ¢â¬âa styling aid that protects color longer, an implement that speeds the perm wrapping process, software configured for an innovative application. The salon where you work may require you to wear a pager, select the music on a state-of-the-art player or run DVDs for clients waiting for their color to process. A client may ask you to show her how to use the salon's website to book online or how to use a curling iron she just bought. Stay open to learning, and you'll be ready for all of it.
ask for help
And if you can't remember every technical term and system operation right away, don't worry. Salon software and other technology companies frequently provide a user's guide or other "cheat sheet" to help you. In addition, speak up if you have questions! Your manager should be there to help you learn and grow, and your co-workers can also be great resources for you.
"When you ask the client how that shampoo you recommended worked for her, the client may think you remembered or may realize you checked your computer file. The truth is that clients don't really care how you know. They appreciate the fact that you're engaged with their beauty and wellness routine. The technology doesn't override the stylist's personal touch; it enhances it.Ã¢â¬âsalon owner Adam Broderick, industry consultant for Clairol Professional in business development