We know tech changes quickly, so there is no way I’m claiming I know what’s going to be happening by the latter part of next year, but there are some tech trends coming through I think we’ll see more of in the first six months of 2017, maybe longer. The increasingly sophisticated nature of data capture will be driving many of these, but we must also look to the increasingly tech-savvy individuals within the industry to explain why some of the trends are taking off so much.
- Gamification is a buzzword first coined more than a decade ago but which is gaining credibility more recently. The concept centers on using elements of game playing – specific challenges, point-scoring and competition etc – to engage with our workforce and the consumer, and thereby drive business. It’s a topic worthy of its own blog, because we are definitely going to hear more about it in 2017.
- Improved data collection and sharing are having a direct impact on the way we do things. They ensure we have better data and greater access to what we need. We have more understanding of the power of data so successful companies are already focusing on daily bite-sized updates rather than that occasional probe into specific reports. Those deep studies are still essential but there are key apps which identify specific data pertinent to each company, allowing for instant updates throughout the day or every morning over coffee. Point-of-sale companies that refuse to allow third-party integrations will find themselves marginalised as access to data allows for better benchmarking, and sharing of best practices across the industry will be extremely valuable to the salon. Apple proved this model when it opened the iPhone to app developers. Why a POS company would insist on sticking in the stone age is beyond me, but there still exists a group of small-thinking POS CEOs.
- Tech will put salons in the driving seat but it won’t be driving. Tech won’t make decisions for us, but it will be used to inform every business decision, putting an end to blind guesswork or going on a hunch. There is still value to intuition, but the best business minds will scour their data to back up their idea before acting on a ‘feeling’.
- Personalized engagement is going to be big in 2017 as the industry gets to grip with exactly how powerful a tool technology and data can be. Segmentation and automated marking will lead to personalized engagement, not just between salon and client/potential client but also, and I can’t emphasis this enough, between owner or senior manager and the service provider on the salon floor. The occasional text saying ‘attaboy’ to key people at the right time, referencing a specific achievement, will have a huge, positive impact on attitude and engagement. Those woolly ‘well done’s sent without reference will be shouted out as shallow.
- The death knell has been tolling for the annual performance review for a few years, but in 2017 it could become a distant memory. Instant access to relevant data means managers can react quickly to their team’s performance – not just on a monthly basis but daily. The ability to recognize a pattern of decline or improvement means management can act quickly to root out the problem and resolve it or identify and replicate it.
- Constant connectivity is going to be more than a concept in 2017. We will all be connected 24/7, leading to a work/life hum that will make running a business smoother and less all-consuming. Remote quick access to bite-sized reports will help managers keep an eye on all aspects of the business, but we will need to address the issue of when it is okay to reach out to the team. Texting out of hours could open a manager or owner to legal challenge. Watch out for the battle brewing about employees accessing their data ‘off hours’ and whether even checking your text messages at night from your boss will warrant being paid for working.