Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 16. Co-hosted by Killian Vigna and Zoé Bélisle-Springer, this show is a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars you can join. Phorest FM is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off.

Phorest FM Episode 16

In order for our clients to get the most out of Phorest Salon Software, taking part in our training sessions is hugely important. Declan Kehoe, a senior trainer here in the company, discusses the different types of training available to salon owners and staff members, as well as ways to access the trainings and what you can gain from these. The episode also recaps the most popular blog topics from the month of February, including “When It’s Okay to Fire a Bad Salon Customer” and “Great Hair Removal Marketing Campaign Ideas”, and Phorest Salon Software CEO Ronan Perceval discusses his experience spending a day in the shoes of a salon receptionist.



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Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 16. I’m your host Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer, your co host.

Killian Vigna: This week’s episode of Phorest FM is the monthly round-up of public favourites. We’ll recap the most popular Phorest blogs posted in February, we’re going to bring our CEO to talk about the day he walked in your shoes. We’ll meet one of our in-house trainers Declan, to shed some light on what the team do here, and how the clients sign up for Phorest salon software training.

This podcast is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off. Now let’s get into the show.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Morning Ronan.

Ronan Perceval: Morning guys, yeah how are things?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good good.

Killian Vigna: Not only did this blog just go up last week, it was also one of the most popular blogs of February as well, wasn’t it?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah it got loads of attention on social media.

Killian Vigna: Oh too right as well. This was actually an internal presentation I think was just a week before the blog went up as well. Not many of us actually knew what was going on, so I suppose without further ado Ronan, what is the blog about?

Ronan Perceval: Well basically, myself and the head of product here, Paddy Monaghan, we decided to go out to work reception in a salon for the day. And actually be the receptionists so the receptionist who was in the salon she got to basically have a quiet day while we met clients. Did everything that … You know, pay out people, book appointments, everything that … We wanted to act as if we really were the receptionists.

We didn’t want any preferential treatment because we were from Phorest or anything like that, we wanted to be thrown in the deep end and see what it was like, A., to be in the salon, and also what it’s like to use our product.

Killian Vigna: To show off your skills?

Ronan Perceval: Yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: In a real life situation yeah.

Ronan Perceval: That didn’t really turn out as expected.

Killian Vigna: That’s what I was waiting to hear.

Ronan Perceval: We thought yeah … We were kind of a bit cocky about that we thought we would be way better at doing it, I’ve been personally using that product for 12 years and I actually worked in reception originally in a salon, years ago, right at the beginning. Which is kind of where Phorest came from, but I’ve definitely got a bit rusty.

Killian Vigna: So for the listeners here, you have to bear in mind that this is the CEO of Phorest and the head of product, the guys who know the product inside out. But when they were thrown into the real life situation, things don’t always go smooth do they?

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, really slow.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: What was the biggest challenge for you on the day?

Ronan Perceval: Multitasking. I mean basically the phone would ring, there’d be nothing happening for 10 minutes and then suddenly the phone would ring, the doorbell would buzz, somebody would come out of a treatment room. All at the same time. And you just, you’re having to use … book the appointment on the phone and then just sort of tell them, “Can you hold on a second?” In a nice polite way that doesn’t feel like flustered, and ask the person to wait there for a second.

And then ask somebody to run out and let someone in through the front door, and all this kind of stuff. So it was… Yeah you just panic as the phone rang.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So you were both in a salon, was that in Dublin?

Ronan Perceval: Yeah so we chose a client of ours, Caroline Armstrong from Beauty 96 which is in Blanchardstown, which is on the outskirts of Dublin. And we’ve known her for a long time, she’s actually been a client for nearly 10 years, so we kind of knew her personally. We wanted a soft entry into this-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Introduction.

Ronan Perceval: But we are gonna do this, like I’ve booked myself out now every six months to do this in different salons.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Amazing.

Ronan Perceval: And Paddy is the same.

Killian Vigna: So what exactly is the goal of this, as apposed to just you going working in a reception? There’s a reason behind you going out and getting this experience.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, so the main thing is basically, as Phorest has got bigger and more successful, you lose touch with what’s actually happening at the coal face let’s say. I do try and work in support a little bit from time to time. But it gets harder and harder to do that, because you’re kind of jumping in there and you don’t really have the skills anymore. But from the customer’s point of view, I used to be out going door to door selling Phorest. So I used to be in salons at least seven or eight times a week.

And you don’t realize it at the time, but you’re actually picking up information and seeing things all the time. And when you’re not doing that it just fades quite quickly and you don’t see the changes that are happening in salons or anything like that, you’ve no idea, you’re relying on other people to tell you and so they might not tell you because they might not know that you want to hear or whatever. So it’s good to stay current in what’s happening you know.

Killian Vigna: Did you find anything kind of surprising or anything that blew you away, how this salon in particular actually used the software?

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, they do something that I actually had seen before but you forget is that they had loads of little tricks to use it really quickly. The receptionist is amazing on the system and she’s able to kind of flick through things really, really fast. And we could do more around that, we don’t really build it for that, we kind of build to get the function done.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Do you mean in terms of short cuts and stuff?

Ronan Perceval: Yeah like we could do more around short cuts. And also there was short cuts that she wasn’t aware of, because they’re hidden, but how would she know where to look for them, you know? So we could definitely do a lot more around that. So we showed them how to do some things faster and that was great, that was cool thing. So it was a mixture of making more short cuts but also being able… That the salons can see the short cuts that are there.

Killian Vigna: And like you said this salon was a client of ours for 10 years so you’d expect them to be somewhat at a decent level but then they’ve kind of managed to come up with their own ways of using Phorest.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah in most ways she’s way ahead of us. It was just things that are not… There’s no button for things, but there’s a short cut there … She’s not gonna know that you can flick through this way because it hasn’t been shown to her. You know what I mean? So she’s just figuring out how to do things faster. So that was something that… Was one big thing. And the other really big thing we saw was we have this thing called “Do it for them” and it’s like a guiding principle in Phorest, that the more we can do for the salon, so that they can free up their time.

We’d been talking about that and that came from us spending time in salons. It was really brought home again that they are so busy trying to get through all the stuff, the day to day. That they don’t have time to really focus on for example, it was just before Valentine’s Day, and so Caroline came in and said she’d really love us to send out an email for Valentine’s Day. I know you both probably put together the beautiful template for that.

But we were able to tell her, look there is a new template and she didn’t know. Even though there had been an email out, she was too busy to have seen that there was a new email for Valentine’s Day, so we showed her that email template but it was more than that, it was actually, the template is brilliant it goes from zero to nine out of 10. But to go from nine to 10 we almost need to be able to send the email for her. So we were able to take 20 minutes out and customize that email and put in all her info into it and then just send it for her.

I think that was… And she was so grateful for that, and she’d never actually sent an email before, even though she’s been using Phorest for 10 years. So it was… Now I don’t know how well it’s actually worked out for her, but that was the big thing, the “Do it for them” piece really is so important.

Killian Vigna: It’s actually, sorry go on.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I was gonna say, you mentioned earlier that you wanted to do this every six months. The industry in the UK and Ireland are quite similar and in the US, I’m guessing it’s kinda different. Is that something you want to go and-

Ronan Perceval: I do yeah, I mean there’s no point me just staying in Dublin it’s the easy thing to do. So I would like to… Well the UK can be different too, and also hair and beauty can be different. This was a beauty salon, so like what I was saying, you had to let people in the door. It was in… Like it’s in a refurbished house, it’s real nice, beautiful, real laid-back beauty salon. And it’s really kind of cozy for clients to go to. So it’s that kind of environment. So you had to ring the doorbell to be allowed into it and stuff like that.

So a high street-

Killian Vigna: It’s almost like calling into a friends house.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah exactly, it was like that and it was a great atmosphere. But that’s a different atmosphere than to, say, your High Street, hip-hop pumping, hair salon. You know what I mean, so you kind of want… And they’re different experiences so you do want to mix them up and see both, and then in New York, what’s the difference there between somewhere in say a small town in Ireland and something. You know there’s gonna be a difference there too.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah I suppose the needs would be different as well, the needs in terms of software, from salons to salons would be different as well.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah they will be and the thing that I thought was interesting though, is they’re still gonna be mental busy trying to get through the day to day. Like whether you’re in… I used to work in a busy hair salon in the center of Dublin years ago, which is where I picked this up, or where a lot of the ideas for Phorest came from originally. And the thing was it brought me back, it was the same, you’d be mad trying to get through sell, sell, sell that product. Or Johnny the hairdresser there just wanted… You know, can you update those notes. I have to do that for that stylist and then you’re trying to welcome the client in and not make them feel rushed, you know what I’m saying.

Killian Vigna: And that point there, like it’s all well and good for us to sit here in the office and go, “Oh well we could do this great new feature on the product”, or this or that.  We understand our clients, but every salon runs differently so some salon owners might find a new feature more useful than other products. But like that, until we actually go and sit down and spend a day on the reception and see how they actually use the product, we don’t know what you want, we don’t know where you want to go next.

Ronan Perceval: And that was the big one. Paddy got a huge thing out of that because he did the Client Reconnect, which is the feature from last year about helping identify clients that are at risk of not coming back, and then being able to take action over it. He pulled that up because he… That was one of the first big features he did here at Phorest, and he pulled that up and they kinda knew it was there but they hadn’t actually gone to use it. Because they just needed a bit of time, and maybe a bit of confidence that it was gonna work.

And then they looked at it and immediately they clicked on one of the treatment categories, I think it was facials and they’re like, “Oh yeah, I haven’t seen her for a while” It was exactly that kind of moment. And Paddy was like, “Look lets click send and get them back in”. So that was great to actually show, and they’re like “Oh that makes my life a lot easier ‘cause we were gonna do something about that.”

Killian Vigna: Yeah myself and Zoe had something similar there on Friday evening. Basically just before finishing work, but a query come through asking, so it was outstanding hair colour. But they wanted to get their clients … Oh no, it was for nails, that was it. They wanted to get their clients to come back in, they were asking us what sort of filters and stuff like that would we recommend. And before we even went through the SMS and email filters, we quickly went into Client Reconnect and told them straight away, “Well you’ve actually 200 outstanding clients.”

So rather than sit there and try and come up with a campaign or filters, exactly what they wanted was there at the tap of a button. Client Reconnect, overdue nail clients, send. And it was done. So it’ll be interesting to see how that campaign got on for them.

Ronan Perceval: We need to do more clearly, to actually show… Obviously, we send out emails and we do splash screens at the front, and we do things to alert a lot of people. But we’re not getting everyone alerted. And sometimes it’s a lot of the people that are the busiest that … You know with stuff going on in their life, that need probably that feature more. How do we get it, like the podcast is another angle obviously, but how do you get to everybody?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Actually an idea of the top of my head right now, but you know the videos, the online reputation video that we just put up, the walkthroughs and stuff? I mean, it could be something that we could put up on the software just being like “This is a new feature” and when you first go into it, it pops up and so everybody’s aware of it because it’s there.

Ronan Perceval: I think so, I think that would give people-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That could be interesting I think.

Ronan Perceval: And people can skip-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah you can skip if you don’t want to watch it yeah.

Ronan Perceval: That would have helped… The more we do around that because everybody who uses Phorest will benefit from these features. Online rep or think, but we’re only getting… And I know actually, our email open rate is apparently really high, it’s like 35% or something like that.

Killian Vigna: Yeah exactly, well it’s above the industry yeah.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah it’s above the industry, but it’s still only 35% of our clients. How do we get to 100%? I mean, everyone has this challenge and it’s not for this podcast.

Killian Vigna: And we do have in-house training, we’ve online training, we’ve webinars, everything like that. So the training resources are there and we always encourage clients to come back. Maybe take about three months of just getting used to the system, but then every six months and try one of our online training sessions. Because you could know it maybe, but there’s just always a couple of things that slip your mind.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And you probably have new staff coming in as well so-

Killian Vigna: Exactly and it’s always encouraged to get your staff on board because at the end of the day, it’s not just you using the software, your staff are gonna use it just as much as you.

Ronan Perceval: Well more in this case, and that’s the other thing actually. The people who work the front desk, use the software more than anyone else. But our client is the salon owner and it should be, obviously, it’s her business, and we’re trying to help her or him obviously. But it’s knowing that balance as well, if you make the receptionist’s life much easier, you’re also making the salon owner’s life easier as well.

Killian Vigna: Exactly.

Ronan Perceval: The receptionist isn’t paying the bills so sometimes we’re not maybe thinking about her or him as much as we should.

Killian Vigna: And we see it here, we have in-house training here for Irish clients when they get signed up. And a lot of them bring their staff, bring their full team and you can see how excited they all get at this new product because they all know it’s gonna make their lives easier.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And we get tagged often actually on Twitter, Facebook, even on Instagram, “So excited, we’re coming into Phorest, looking forward to training.”

Killian Vigna: And we want salon owners to have that excitement every year, we don’t want them kind of “Oh I forgot how to do this, how’s this…” And then they feel like they have to keep submitting support tickets and things like those. And like you said, we do the online training we do it through Facebook, we do emails. We try to reach you as much as we can, but get in contact and let us know what the best way to contact you is and how can we make these training sessions more available to you.

Ronan Perceval: And any other ways that if you don’t hear about stuff but you happen to be listening to this podcast, is there other channels that we can get you that maybe we haven’t thought about.

Killian Vigna: Well the whole purpose of this podcast is to contact you, to contact us, without hammering your email inboxes.

But yeah Ronan, all in all, a good experience?

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, I know I jumped ahead earlier, yeah fantastic experience, I’m gonna make sure I do this at least every six months. Paddy’s gonna do the same, and I believe-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I’ve actually booked in for a day in the UK with Fiona Vickett, one of our clients as well.

Ronan Perceval: Yep, they’re down in Dorset or somewhere are they? South coast somewhere?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Close to Exeter.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah yeah. It’s beautiful down there, it’s great. Nice little holiday there for you, yep.

Killian Vigna: Our whole marketing team, there’s six of us, have all been challenged with trying to find a salon to do a day or two helping out at the reception. I say helping out because there’s no way we can take over all day. But yeah we can help out your reception for a day or two. Any salons, clients in Ireland or the UK that want to give us the task.

Ronan Perceval: You should honestly just try though. Because the whole thing is the panic of what to do, but as long as you know how to make an appointment, you should be able to actually take it over.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: We have a training set up with Declan before we actually go out. So no worries.

Killian Vigna: We only found out about this task last week, and we’re already dying for it. It’s not until April, but we-

Ronan Perceval: Is there anyone that hasn’t found a salon yet?

Killian Vigna: Zoe’s the only one that has found someone.

Ronan Perceval: All right great, so anybody out there-

Killian Vigna: This is my shout out. Someone hire me.

Ronan Perceval: Killian would look brilliant behind your reception desk. You’ll probably sell more products.

Killian Vigna: I sit and smile, it’d be great. All about that upselling.

Ronan, thanks million and hope you had fun with it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Thanks a bunch.

Killian Vigna: So that was Ronan, CEO of Phorest talking about the day himself and Paddy Monaghan, our head of product, walk in the shoes. So their whole salon work experience, it’s like being back in school for them again. And they proper looked like students. But our other two blog favourites this month were The Great Hair Removal campaign. Oh, I remember that one actually.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah we chatted about that one in another episode, I think it was the one we had Chris Brennan on the show.

Killian Vigna: We did yep, because he was talking about a new feature launch.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah exactly, and then we had another public favourite was the ‘Enough is Enough, When It’s Okay To Fire A Bad Salon Customer’. And I remember you coming in the next day and being like “What was that blog?”

Killian Vigna: That was a great one, because I went home that night and we all have our emails clued into the phone. I got an alert, pulled up my phone, dropped it down, the first thing I saw was “Killian, it’s okay to fire a bad salon customer.” I was like “what is this, what is going on?” And came in the next morning going “Erm, what’s this about?” Turns out it’s a blog, so obviously I wasn’t in tune with that one at the time.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: But that was really interesting actually because, it’s kind of like, what can you do when you start to see people that are just too much? Too much to handle, they are rude, they can be possibly bullying. They can be way too-

Killian Vigna: Liars, stealers, abusive, time consumers.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah liars, stealers, exactly. What can you do with these people? And how can you politely tell them you can’t service them anymore?

Killian Vigna: And that’s kind of similar to… We had Michelle Bulger, ESA consultants, and she was talking about online defamation, wasn’t it? So it was kind of how to identify someone who has given you bad rating online but for a reason, and then I suppose someone else who is just out to get you really.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah exactly, there’s a really slight difference between a bad salon customer and a challenging one. And you don’t want to rule out all the challenging ones as a bad salon customer, because they’re actually not. They’re giving you the feedback that you need to improve your services.

Killian Vigna: Good feedback, bad feedback. We could do with it all. Where did you go wrong, where did you go right?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah and what happened? And why was the experience not as great as they were expecting?

Killian Vigna: So we’re not saying they’re bad customers.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly, they’re just possibly challenging ones, because they’re challenging you to be better. And that’s important to make the difference because you don’t necessarily want to rule them out and just say “Listen I can’t serve you anymore” and that’s it. But if you are being abused in whatever you’re doing, then that’s the line to draw at that point. But you should always try and at least try to help out that customer that’s giving you a hard time, if it’s a bad review online, just respond promptly. And try and contact them privately, asking what’s wrong.

Killian Vigna: Get it offline, get it offline as soon as… Leave your nice note saying “Hi such and such, sorry you felt that way, I’ve dropped a DM” or-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And take it seriously.

Killian Vigna: Exactly because we want people to give us reviews don’t we? Like we said, good or bad. How can we learn? Because we don’t all know it, we need our clients to give us feedback and the fact these clients have gone out of their way to give you the feedback. Now again, are they being overly rude or not, but most of the time they’re not, they’re just, it was kind of a bad day or something like that.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And the thing is, for every one person, and these are real stats from survey and research. For every one person that gives you a negative comment or some sort of review that’s not, five-star, great job kind of vibe, there’s actually 25 more thinking the same. And if you can help that one customer that’s told you about the problem, you’re solving 25 more customer’s problems at the same time.

Killian Vigna: Exactly, and that complaint will be up online, so if it is resolved, your solution is there.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah exactly, yeah.

Killian Vigna: So people are going to overlook the negativity of it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Absolutely worth it in the end. So yeah until you’ve absolutely done all that you can do to help that customer, then you can try and see, okay is this person being abusive and rude to your staff? Or shouting? Or just hanging up on you all the time? And being overly demanding with things that you just can’t provide, then yeah okay, then maybe it’s time to think about telling that person politely, “We can’t help you out anymore”

But there’s a few things that you can do, obviously, they’re not a 100% foolproof. Like every situation’s different, but remain positive and professional at all times. Because they’re rude, you don’t have to be. And stand your ground, in the end, if you decide enough is enough, then enough is enough.

Killian Vigna: Then you can take Michelle’s advice there and you can take out a loan of what, eight grand and bring them to court. But that was the online defamation explained, but again, it was more along the lines of, we don’t want to take the client to court for online defamation. Again, it’s all the same kind of-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And it’s not only defamation, in the end, it can be anything. If that client… If I came into your salon, if you were a salon owner and I shouted at every staff that you had, it’s not defamation but you don’t want that in your business. That person… I’d be disturbing not only your staff, but all your other clients as well. So, you kind of have to deal with that, if you like it or not.

Killian Vigna: And it all comes down to, what is the complaint? Is the complaint almost an attacking one? Are they naming and shaming a member of staff? But not just are they naming and shaming them, is the complaint blatantly fake? That’s when you know there’s the line. You have to assess the comment and go, “Well hang on now, this just is not true.”

But again sit back, think about it, really think about it. Think about the event, the build-up and the afters and go, all right, is the client right or am I right? And don’t worry… I know people always say, the client is right, but in some situations, you do need to sit back and think to yourself “Well hang on now, are they actually -”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And if you’re not sure you can always contact different services like Michelle’s ESA consultants or even Valerie Delforg, she deals with a lot of customer and staff issues and stuff like that. So you know you can get advice from these people. They’ll be able to direct you in the right-

Killian Vigna: You’re not on your own in these situations. Reach out to someone and get a bit of advice.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly. So that was the second most popular favourite one of the month I’d say. And then we had the Tool Kits that we produce every month.

Killian Vigna: So these are the ones for March?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly.

Killian Vigna: Two big events in March.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, Mother’s Day and St Patrick’s.

Killian Vigna: Exactly. Do not forget Mother’s Day.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Some mothers won’t be happy there.

Killian Vigna: So what was included in that was-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Ah there’s loads and loads of content to download there, there’s… Okay, so when you go onto the blog itself you have many, many ideas whether it’s online, whether it’s in the salon, whether it’s promotional SMS, email and that stuff. So you’ve got that for different… for those two events.  But you’ve also got team building and activities and ideas to help you sell retail for the month as well.

That’s really interesting, but you can download a tool kit as per every month. And in that tool kit, you’ll have voucher designs for Mother’s Day so you can print those off if you wanted to add your business contacts you can do that as well. But the design itself, you’ve got five or something like that.

Killian Vigna: Yep.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: You got some SMS templates in there, you’ve got some Mother’s Day graphics for online, any kind of social media platform that you’re on. And you know you’ve got different things like that just to help you out with your campaigns basically. So they’re always quite popular because you don’t necessarily always have the time to build them on your own.

Killian Vigna: I took a look at the content myself the other day, everything’s there. Your images, SMS templates, the lot. It’s a case of just get that folder and just start working on your campaigns now because what do we always say? Four to six weeks, start planning. Two to four weeks, start implementing. So you’ve got St. Patrick’s day the 17th worldwide here, worldwide everywhere. And then in Ireland and the UK only, isn’t it? You have Mother’s Day on the 26th.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, because in North America Mother’s Day is in April.

Killian Vigna: Yep yep. So Zoe’s mother gets two Mother’s Days.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes at the moment she does. Very lucky mum.

Killian Vigna: So that’s our monthly round up, the public favourites. With great hair removal campaigns, enough is enough, firing your client or customer, the March salon marketing ideas and again, I can’t emphasize, go online and grab that bundle deal, everything’s taken care of. All your campaigns are already sorted, you just need to, again, just push them through your email/SMS and social media. And then we have the online defamation explained.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Which we spoke about with Michelle herself on the last episode. So we will be chatting to Declan throughout this episode which is basically … He’s our senior trainer here at Phorest HQ. But before we actually get into this, we have a new feature announcement and if you haven’t seen the blog yet or the videos, basically it’s the online reputation feature. We’ve been talking about it for a little while now, but now it’s officially out, you can request a call back now, it’s official.

So there’s different ways to sign up, you can either go through the blog, if you subscribe to the blog you’ll probably have an email in your inbox about that from last week so you can check through there and you can request a call back from there as well. And then there is also a link on our Facebook page, to request a call back from there.

So basically what it does is that when you request a callback, our team from the online rep is gonna help you out, chat about your options and such. Pricing for the packages, depending what package you’re on with Phorest, and if you decide to go on with it, they’ll help you out. Create your Google business entries and list all your information, make sure that you’re all set up so that when you actually get that feature on to your system everything’s good to go and you actually don’t have to lift a finger.

Killian Vigna: And for anyone that still may not be aware of the new feature. What is it? Well, it’s essentially a new feature for anyone that is worried about their online ratings and reviews.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Or even people who just want more reviews.

Killian Vigna: Or want more reviews yeah. So if you’ve got a negative review lately. You could actually email… So at the touch of a button by using the Phorest system you can email or SMS all your most loyal clients and ask them to throw a new review onto Facebook or onto Google or on to Yelp and by putting those new reviews on, it’s actually gonna drop the level of your negative review.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah or at least it’s gonna push them down. So when you… so if I was, for instance, going to Google your business and-

Killian Vigna: Which is the section on the right of the Google page.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I wouldn’t actually see … If your one-star review was pushed down the line, obviously it’s gonna be … You’re gonna have your overall rating there, but unless I click in and scroll down ages, I won’t actually see that one-star review because you’ll have pumped it up.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, and just, in general, trying to monitor your online reviews, ‘cause like we said, they come from all different platforms. Your Facebook, Google, Yelp, it just brings it all into one screen, so it cuts out so much time of having to constantly Google your salon name.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly. And also just to respond, you don’t even have to log on. Once you’ve logged in through your system on your different platforms, so Google, Yelp, Facebook, you don’t have to log in onto the internet and go on to Google and say “Okay, I’ll respond”. You can just respond straight away on the system and it’s done. It takes five seconds and you’re set.

Killian Vigna: And that eventually automates itself then, so you can set up filters like, if a client gives me one review online I can request them to paste… So it actually copies and pastes the review and then all they have to do is just push a button to publish it through a different channel.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah it’s very very easy and like I said, if you want more information about that, Niamh Greaney on the online rep team here at Phorest will be more than happy to chat with you about all the things that you can do with that feature. Yeah so if you want to sign up, check out our Facebook page, the blog announcing the feature, it’s pretty much the first one on the blog page at the moment and yeah, that’s pretty much it, realistically.

Killian Vigna: If anything, just give Niamh a shout, find out a little bit of information, how it can work for you. Because she does a lot, she helps you get Google business page up and running as well, if you don’t have that. If you don’t even know what the Google business page is, then definitely give Niamh a shout.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah exactly.

Killian Vigna: Now we’re bringing in another guest, and this is from our internal training team.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So it’s our senior trainer here at Phorest HQ.

Killian Vigna: Some of you may have met him if you’ve ever had to get in-house training in Ireland.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly yeah. So Declan is here with us on the show today.

Killian Vigna: So Declan, you’ve been with Phorest a couple of years yourself, you do a lot of the in-house training and stuff like that for Irish clients that come up to the head office. But you’ve actually got a big enough background in the industry yourself, don’t you?

Declan Kehoe: I worked as a hairdresser for 15 years before I came to Phorest, I also ran a training academy for about two and a half years before joining Phorest. I was lucky enough to work with Phorest in two of the previous salons, although we didn’t utilize it fully. Which is probably good, now that I’m in the training department and I can understand that we only used probably about 10% of it in both of those salons.

Killian Vigna: That’s kind of funny because I didn’t even know you’d used Phorest before coming to Phorest at all anyway.

Declan Kehoe: Yeah I thought I knew it all, but I didn’t.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So how does it feel to be on the training team now, as a senior trainer?

Killian Vigna: Has training improved, has it?

Declan Kehoe: Oh, big time. Yeah no, it’s great to be on the training team, I suppose that’s something to really point out, that you are using the system in the salon day to day and you probably don’t realize that there’s so many other aspects to it that are there. Or that you don’t utilize fully on a day to day basis as well.

Killian Vigna: And it’s not even that salon owners don’t understand about the rest of the system, it’s just I suppose in a busy day, a lot of salon owners they’re doing treatments themselves as well as actually using the software.

Declan Kehoe: Getting the time, it is very hard to get the time. Especially if you’re on the floor doing services or treatments yourself. You know the last thing you want at the end of the day is to sit down and spend another two or three hours doing a training. So it is hard to find the time, but most of the training slots that we offer, we offer online training slots that are 30 minutes, 45 minutes, the maximum one is an hour. So you can revisit those whenever you like, as many times as you like. Or if you’re in Ireland you can come up and have in-house training on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.

Killian Vigna: So we know a lot of clients are saying that they’re only just coming into the training now and we know you’ve said there is online training. What’s the typical… I suppose when a client gets on-boarded, what’s the typical stages they go through to get used to the system?

Declan Kehoe: So once they’ve been on-boarded, if they’re in Ireland, they’ll be sent to head office, where we do in-house training.

Killian Vigna: And that’s you, isn’t it?

Declan Kehoe: That would be with me, yep. In the UK, they’d have their onsite training, when they’d be installed as well. So for the engineers over there, they always direct them to our training department here. For me myself, when I’m in in-house here, I direct everyone else, obviously welcome them back whenever they’d like, or just make them aware that we have an online training facility as well.

Killian Vigna: So this is, I suppose, there’s no skipping this training, this-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So this is the one that would be called the Go Live?

Declan Kehoe: Yeah exactly, so from an online perspective, it’s called Go Live. For in house, we call it your introduction to Phorest, introduction to Phorest training.

Killian Vigna: And what could a client expect from that Go Live training? What sort of modules, if we’re talking English, what sort of modules would they go through?

Declan Kehoe: Go Live is like a must have. So if you’re new to a salon or if you’ve never worked with Phorest before, Go Live is absolutely the must-have training. It’s booking, editing, how to pay an appointment, your client card, being aware of the purchase screen, how to sell products, gift cards and then also things like end-of-day and cash-up. So it really is the kind of core fundamental areas of the system. So the day-to-days.

Killian Vigna: So you’ll be focusing on the business functions there as opposed to marketing and stuff like that?

Declan Kehoe: Exactly. So I would say Go Live first, then if products and inventory are your next natural step, so things like how to manage your professional products, how to look after all of your reporting orders, stock takes. And then if reporting is more your thing we kind of say, that would lead to your essential management training.

Which would look at commission, access and all of the reports on the system as well. Now because there’s 75, we don’t go through all 75 reports. We kind of pick out the key reports that you’d need for your day-to-day business

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And if like for instance, when you have people coming in for in-house trainings, you probably have a team, a full team coming in. If for example, I was hired two or three months later, that salon owner could still book a training for that new person with you, right?

Declan Kehoe: Absolutely, absolutely. So all training is free it can be done as many times as the salon owner would like, or salon staff members. So you’re more than welcome to revisit them as many times as you’d like. There’s absolutely no limit. We don’t say “alright that’s it, you’re done, we never want to see you again”.

Killian Vigna: So how many online training modules would you offer up to clients? So after you have your in-house and your Go Live which is your main one, which is kind of the must-have for the salon owner at least, and then you have extra ones on top of that for salon owner and staff as well, isn’t it?

Declan Kehoe: There’d probably be another additional five after that, we also do bespoke training slots. So a bespoke would be a one-to-one with a salon owner or a salon team member. And that would cover whatever you want to cover. So we tailor the training for you.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: To that person.

Declan Kehoe: Exactly. So that would be usually an hour and it’s always just with a trainer and an individual, so it’s never open up to multiple people. The other slots then would be products and inventory, which is obviously your stock and inventory side of the software. Essential management, Treat Card, online booking, and then also text and email marketing as well. So we’re covering all aspects-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Did you notice any of those that were probably the most popular, or the most booked out ones?

Killian Vigna: Most popular or the ones with the biggest trouble, because that would be the same, wouldn’t it?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I suppose!

Declan Kehoe: We do notice I suppose-

Killian Vigna: Put him on the spot now.

Declan Kehoe: Reports come up a lot. I think it’s because there’s so many reports on the software, and people they kind of think “Oh my god, I’m never gonna grasp this”. So it’s something we notice is kind of a common thread. We do a lot of Go Lives obviously, because people start in salons so they need to know how to use the system.

But we’d also encourage other staff members to revisit it, because if you’re using the system every day, but there might be aspects of it that you haven’t used in a while. So it’s always good to refresh your training, book yourself in for Go Live again and have a look at, “Oh I didn’t know the system actually does that, because I’m using it this way all the time.” So it’s really good to come back in and refresh yourself.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah because I mean, we were trained when we got into Phorest, the first few weeks-

Killian Vigna: We actually trained with Declan yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly, we were training with Declan. And we’re gonna have to get some more training before we go into the salons like we were telling you earlier.

Declan Kehoe: So it’ll be a test, how to book an appointment.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly, yeah.

Killian Vigna: There’s no exam at the end of this, is there? If there’s an exam I’m out, I’m gone. So those online trainings, it’s not like a client is just sitting there watching you go through a presentation. They’re actually engaging with these themselves, aren’t they?

Declan Kehoe: Yeah absolutely. We use a screen share. So before the training, we’d send out an email to our clients that contains a link. The link would just literally direct you to a trainer screen. It is interactive, so there’s mouse share, you can take control of our computer and start booking, editing. And then it’s just dialling into a conference call. Or if it’s bespoke we can call directly.

So it’s very much an interactive training, it’s not that you’re talking to a machine at the other end of the phone. It is live, it’s with an actual person and we have multiple slots throughout the day, so there’s loads of choice of what you can book in.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah and that’s all available off the website directly.

Declan Kehoe: So it’s a request form, you can book as many as you’d like. The training team will contact you to make sure that they’re booked in correctly. Also if you’d like, you can log a call through the system so on your contact support, just put for the attention of the training team and it will get to us as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah and for the US listeners, there is a calendar adapted for US hours.

Declan Kehoe: Absolutely yeah, so we have a US training calendar, and an EU calendar as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Don’t be afraid, you won’t have training at 2 AM in the morning.

Declan Kehoe: Exactly. Have some yawning Irish trainer down the phone.

Killian Vigna: So is there … I suppose before we finish up with the online training stuff like that, is there a sort of time scale that you would recommend? So, you have a salon owner and their staff come in. They’ve done their training, completed all their online. Would you then give them a time line, should they come back regularly and get extra training on top of that, or is it one self-train and you’re done?

Declan Kehoe: No, what I suppose I’d say is… One thing I’d really like to stress and point out is we’re here for continued support as well. And we’d really, really like people to come back and revisit training. I’m with the company nearly two years and there’s still aspects of Phorest that I’m learning about, and I’m a trainer. So you know when you’re out in the salon and you’re doing it every day, there’s gonna be aspects of it that you’re not gonna always have a chance to look at.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That and we also add features all the time. There’s always something new to learn.

Declan Kehoe: We’re always learning about it. And you know it’s good, just revisit, like I said they’re very short, 30 minutes, sit down. We record the trainings as well so, and we send them out to you afterwards. So you can always say, look at that again down the line in a day or two. Or if I wanted to ask that, and I forgot to, you could book a bespoke and then we can just tailor that training to you as well.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, like with Ronan, we had Ronan in just before you. When he did the day in the life, and the head of product. Just what you were saying about salon owners only using a percentage of it. What is the point of having this software, and paying for this software if you are only just going to use 10% of it? You’re not utilizing it, you’re not seeing the real value of it, so get onboard those training sessions like Declan said. They’re only 30 minutes, 40 minutes, but they’re recorded and shipped back out to you.

So even if you’re half asleep doing the online training I suppose, and Declan’s going mad on the other end I suppose. At least you still have that recording of him showing you how it’s done and walking through with you.

Declan Kehoe: Absolutely. I mean, it’s such a powerful tool, Phorest is an incredible tool for your business, and I say that coming from the industry. I love this industry and respect this industry and the people in it so much, and knowing what I know about Phorest now and the potential that it has for your business, I think it’s a shame to not know what there is to know about it and use it to its fullest capacity. So-

Killian Vigna: And that’s coming from someone who’s worked in the industry for 15, 16, 17 years?

Declan Kehoe: Yeah I’m not that old, 15 years. [crosstalk 00:41:38]

Killian Vigna: All of our trainers actually are from the industry too so-

Declan Kehoe: Yeah we all come from an industry background.

Killian Vigna: So it’s not like our trainers all came in as real technophiles or anything like that, they’ve had to learn from the start as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah and some of them, I think Barbara was it, that came from pen and paper. And is now a trainer on the team.

Declan Kehoe: So we’ve got a really eclectic mix, we’ve got retail sales background, we’ve got hair, beauty, makeup. So everyone has a real good understanding as well of what it’s like day-to-day, and it definitely helps in being in the shoes of a salon owner, or a salon staff member. You can absolutely put yourself back in that spot and remember what it was like at five o’clock on a Friday evening, and you haven’t gone to the toilet all day or you haven’t had anything to eat, so yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Except coffee perhaps.

Declan Kehoe: Except coffee.

Killian Vigna: Well Declan, that’s absolutely brilliant. And sorry, just to recap it. How can people get into contact for training again? So I suppose clients that have done training but want to come back for more training.

Declan Kehoe: Yeah, so we’ll always email a follow-up after training so you’ll have a direct link to either the trainer, or you can email training@phorest.com, you can do it through the website by clicking on the training area and schedule a training. And again, if you want, through your system on the “Contact Support”, you just say “For attention of training” and it will definitely get to us as well.

Killian Vigna: Cool.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Amazing. Well, thanks so much for being with us today.

Declan Kehoe: Thanks for having me.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So to top off the show, as usual, we first had Ronan come in and talk about his experience in the salon. And then we chatted about a few… Most popular blogs I’d say, that were published in February and we had Declan just on the show right now. So, as usual, the next upcoming webinars. If you want to take it away?

Killian Vigna: The next one, so we don’t actually have any this week, but the next one is Monday, March 6th and that’s the Salon Retailing masterclass. So we’re kind of going for March on here, we have one Monday, March 13th, Become a client retention expert. And then the same week-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Same week on Wednesday, then you have the Online Reputation webinar. Same times again, they’re always at the same times. So it’s 3 PM to 4 PM Irish UK. 10:00 to 11:00 in the US Eastern time at least.

Killian Vigna: And you can always check those events out on our Phorest Salon Software Facebook page, under events and just tick attend and what webinar you want to get into.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah attending but also click on the tickets link.

Killian Vigna: Oh yeah no, follow it through to … You’d be taken to GoTo Webinar and you’ll be asked to fill in the registration form, as always, you’ll get a unique link sent to you and that’s your login link.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly.

Killian Vigna: Cool. So as always, the show’s made for you, so if you have any feedback or you want to hear of any new topics on the show, just give us a shout or you can drop a feedback on iTunes.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes.

Killian Vigna: And don’t forget if anyone wants to sponsor a member of the marketing team to shadow your reception for a day or two in April…

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I know someone who’s looking for a spot here.

Killian Vigna: Give us a shout. I am looking for a spot yeah, so give me a shout. But there’s about five of us.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: All right. Well thanks for tuning in today and we’ll catch you next week.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Thanks for reading!


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