Hairdressers Reveal Their Favourite Salon Software and Technology

by charlottegw / last updated September 27, 2018

salon software phone and scissors

We spoke to a range of people in the hairdressing industry to find out what salon software and technology they rate. Are iPhones the phone of choice for stylists? What salon software makes their life easier and boosts profits? And what apps do they use everyday? Find out in our mini interviews below…

ken PictonKen Picton, owner of Ken Picton Salon

What salon software makes your life easier?
The Ken Picton salon was one of the first salons in the UK to do live online appointments with Salon IQ. We digitalised our computer and online appointments in 1990 and it’s been an integral part of how we operate ever since. It’s a cloud-based system, which means I can login to see real-time information for my business from anywhere. The brand has also structured its software so the most important information is just one click away.

What apps do you use every day?
Where do I start?! My banking app is extremely important, not just from a business point of view, but also from a personal point of view. It’s one of the first things I look at when I wake up. WhatsApp has become the new platform for our team meetings as you can instantly give out dates, messages, times and see if the team have read it, which is crucial. At Ken Picton, we have an official group and an unofficial one, which I don’t belong to. I was invited, but it’s important for the team to have something separate. And finally, my newest app is my bitcoin app Coinbase, which helps me to keep track of my cryptocurrency.

What phone do you use?
I use an iPhone X. I’ve been an Apple fan ever since the Macintosh days and used to get frustrated when all of the salon software was written for PCs. I’ve evolved with the iPhones, iPads and MacBook Pros and because they all sync together it means I am always up to speed with my salon and my family.

What tech has revolutionised your life outside of the salon?
It has to be my Away suitcase. It has a built-in compartment for a USB charger. I travel a huge amount and it’s great to be able to charge my devices while I’m walking through airports and queuing for taxis.

roy Gillan brooks and brooksThe Digital Detoxer
Roy Gillan, head receptionist Brooks & Brooks

What apps do you use every day?
The main app we use in the salon is Gappt. It is an online booking system that clients can use to find late availability and send a request. Personally, I use Apple Music everyday – life without it would be a very quiet one. I also use a daily meditation app named Breathe that keeps my mind calm, especially when I have a hectic day.

What salon software makes your life easier?
We use Shortcuts in the salon. It’s great because it gives us access to everything we need to ensure the client visit runs as smoothly as possible, including client records, past history and reports. The list is endless.

philip bellThe Social Media Spark
Phillip Bell, co-founder of Ishoka Hair & Beauty

What salon software makes your life easier?
iSalon Software helps the client experience to run smoothly. It keeps client appointments and any notes for specific clients neat and quick to access. It also allows us to send automated pre-appointment text reminders to reduce client ‘no-shows’ as well.

What social media sites do you use to promote your business?
We use Facebook and Instagram to promote our business and share news with our clients and followers. Facebook is a great way to engage with existing and potential clients. We find people tend to tag their friends in posts which allows us to get a larger reach. We use Instagram to share beautiful hair images that we’ve created in the salon, salon news and new product information. Social media is so important for salons today and if you don’t make your presence known on these platforms, it is easy for clients to forget about you and get enticed by other salons that are more digitally active.

What phone do you use?
I have the iPhone X as I love to stay up to date with the latest technology. The camera is brilliant and allows me to capture high quality images of my work.

jo robertsonThe Digital Embracer
Jo Robertson, global head of education at ghd

How has technology revolutionised the salon industry?
The expectations from clients is huge today compared to what it was previously. Imagine being able to make bookings when the salon was closed 10 years ago? Now people get frustrated if there is no wifi, or if they have to sign in or, even worse, if it’s too slow. I also hear from salon owners that some clients will actively ‘Google’ products you’ve recommended in the salon to find the best price. Technology is moving us all and it’s crucial we find ways to embrace and adapt for the future.

Who designed your website?
Through careful research of blogs I liked, I switched to WordPress and I am now using a company called pipdig. It was such an easy transition. It took three days and they did everything. Remember, if you like the look of a website, most sites have the design company details at the bottom of the page.

Do you ever switch off?
I guess it’s still a digital device, but I’ve recently bought a Kindle. I was spending all day in front of a laptop and during my commute I’d be on my phone so reading helps me to switch off. I do think my husband would like me to have a total digital detox. On a recent skiing holiday, I was almost too happy when I found some lifts had wifi – I’m clearly #socialobsessed.

dan and Paul from George FranksThe New Business
Dan Thomas and Paul Hampson, owners of George Frank Hair & Beauty

What salon software makes your life easier?
We use Salon by Premier Software. When we were setting up the business we were looking for options that were affordable and functional. The salon is accessible 24 hours a day through the online booking system, which benefits us and our clients. The system allows us to communicate effectively with that marketing tools provided by the software. The system also allows us to manage our stock levels and product orders without the need for us to manually count everything.

What phone do you use?
We use BT for our business phone as it was the cheapest option that included broadband. We both use iPhones to manage our social media presence. We’ve had iPhones for years and find them user-friendly and they meet our needs for both work and social purposes.

How do you feel about the term ‘digital detox’?
As clients’ needs have changed over the years it’s difficult to step away from social media. We feel we need to be there to answer any questions our clients may have. We also think it’s beneficial to post as much as possible to keep our clients engaged and up to date with salon life.

steven diamondThe Digital Native
Steven Diamond, owner of Color Hairdressing

What social media sites do you use to promote your business?
Our main two sites are Instagram and Facebook. Almost 80% of our clientele comes from Facebook. It’s a great tool to target specific groups and local people to us. With Instagram being taken over by Facebook it has the same features, which has been very helpful.

What salon software makes your life easier?
We use Versum. It’s a cloud-based system, which allows us to access it anywhere and monitor everything in the salon. The integrated marketing suite is excellent, and the online booking feature is really useful. I like the stock taking abilities of the system which are easy to use and save lots of time.

What do you use in the salon?
Online booking for our salon has had a great impact on our business. We’ve had about 300 new clients added to our mailing system in the past three weeks which has allowed us to target new clientele. I was recently on my honeymoon and was able to access the inventory and make sure our staff were still selling products when we weren’t in the salon.

shaun thorn burghThe DIY Digitiser
Shaun Thornburgh, owner of The Hair Boutique

What salon software makes your life easier?The main app we use in the salon is Timely. It helps us to run many aspects of our business efficiently. I also use Slack to communicate with the team as I often work remotely.

Who designed your website?
I designed and built the website myself. We get so many enquiries through our website, so we have put a lot of effort into enhancing the user experience and making sure people can find the information they want quickly and easily.

How has technology revolutionised the salon industry?
I’ve noticed many people prefer to book via a messaging channel such as Facebook Messenger rather than over the phone. This has shaped the way we do things in our salon to make our clients feel comfortable.

sian HaynesThe Efficiency Queen
Sian Haynes, owner of Inspire Beauty

What salon software makes your life easier?
Phorest software is a brilliant salon scheduling and management tool. The most recent function is the digital consultation forms. This has allowed us to cut down 90% of the paper used in the salon as well as providing a more efficient way to look up client information as it can be entered onto the system without wasting precious manpower. We also have a salon app, which means clients can book online, check their booking history, check their loyalty points, view staff member profiles and look up salon information.

Who designed your website?
My website was designed by Salon Guru. Initially I created the website myself but it became very difficult to manage. It made sense to outsource this to professionals as it is such an important part of our business. Salon Guru means I can update small things if I need to and the company will show me how to do anything that I am unfamiliar with.

Do you ever have a digital detox?
Even when I go on holiday, I am constantly checking up on emails and the salon app. I recently went away to Southport and had no reception on my phone so had to use a family member’s phone. That’s probably the closest I have been to being digital-free for years!

This feature was first published in the August issue of Hairdressers Journal.  

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