A visit to Karen Allen Salon & Spa should be the best part of your day. That’s exactly how the Karen Allen team approaches the customer experience, providing a serene environment free of distractions and stress. “We sell good feelings,” says owner Khanh Nguyen, who operates locations in Riverside and Temecula, California. Nguyen’s business model begins with her clients, which her team refers to as “guests.” Appointments are “reservations.” And with every visit, guests enjoy a signature amenity of at least two complementary services, such as a hand massage or makeup touch-up.
“It's giving our guests more than they expect,“ she says, “and enhances the overall experience“. Whether catering to a loyal guest or a bridal party of 10, delivering a tranquil experience in an extremely active business is no small feat. To succeed, Nguyen relies on a capable team, and she also takes full advantage of superior technology.
At first glance, the soothing spa setting at Karen Allen may seem surprising for such a busy environment. But take a closer look and you’ll notice that no phones are ringing, and employees are moving about quietly and tending to guests in an almost-choreographed fashion. But it wasn’t always that way.
For years, the business used a traditional business phone system where incoming calls rang loudly and often, and the Guest Relations team was bound to their desk phones. Making things worse, the business’s two locations were on completely separate systems, making coordination difficult or impossible. But over a year ago, Nguyen met a communications consultant who introduced her to a better option: a cloud-based business phone system from Vonage Business.
“We’re a high-touch business that is very much supported by high tech. That’s why bringing in the right communications partner is so important, since in our business, the experience starts with the first phone call.”
In the salon and spa business, fantastic transformations happen every day. And since adopting the Vonage Business phone system, Nguyen’s business has transformed its day-to-day workflow and culture of service. “We’re a high-touch business that is very much supported by high tech,” Nguyen Nguyen continues. “That’s why bringing in the right communications partner is so important, since in our business, the experience starts with the first phone call.”
From the start, the Vonage team worked closely with Karen Allen staff to adapt to key needs and work around any pain points. Here’s the result:
Guest Relations pros stay “mobile” around the shop. The Guest Relations team is multi-faceted, with a prime responsibility of making guest reservations over the phone. But they also greet guests, conduct tours, manage the retail shop, serve tea, and support the stylists and aestheticians. To do this, they employ the MobileConnect Softphone feature—which they’ve configured to take calls on iPods—so the team can use headsets and move around the shop, and customers never hear a ringing phone. Nguyen refers to this fluid approach as “keeping the energy moving.”
Locations seamlessly connected, overflow calls roll over. With Vonage’s cloud-based solution, the two Karen Allen locations are tied together on the same phone system. So, they can see which extensions are active and can transfer calls with ease. They’ve even configured their Hunt Group feature automatically roll overflow calls to the other location, decreasing missed calls dramatically.
Personalized service extends to phone calls. The team also makes the most of the Caller ID feature, allowing them to address guests by name the moment they answer the phone.
Employees collaborate via IM and desktop sharing. Coordination between locations is important for both business needs and customer consultations. They use MobileConnect IM & Presence for back-and-forth instant messages. For sharing documents or even hairstyle photos from the other location, the desktop-sharing capability of MobileConnect Collaborate makes it easy.
Real-time video keeps guests and staff in the moment. Another way Karen Allen locations maintain synergy and efficiency is through video calls on the iPad, also courtesy of MobileConnect. Whether consulting a team member on a styling in Riverside, or to letting the boss check in with the bridal party in Temecula—video calls further foster teamwork and success … and keep the energy moving.
Allen’s use of cloud technology to enhance the customer experience has truly paid off for the business. She’s planning an expansion soon and knows her phone system will scale with her. She also plans to add Call Center functionality to her account to help further focus the reservation process. “Vonage has been a key ingredient in helping our operation run smoother,” she says, “so our team can provide guests the attention they deserve.”
"Vonage has been a key ingredient in helping our operation run smoother, so our team can provide guests the attention they deserve."