Tucked on the second floor in the Bowery in Manhattan, Takamichi Hair is unassuming. Its walls are white and a few pieces of modern art decorate the salon. But that’s all by design—at Takamichi Hair, the customers are the star, not the salon.
Customer service is key to the longevity of the salon; founder Takamichi Saeki crafts each haircut to suit the lifestyle of his clients and trains his stylists to do the same.
“Some people like to style themselves or some people like less maintenance without any product. If they don’t like to use it, I design a haircut without product. It’s all really customised,” Takamichi explained. “We call that the Takamichi Hair philosophy.”
Maintaining the Customer Experience with Technology
Because Takamichi Hair puts so much of a focus on the customer experience, the stylists on the floor take pride in the relationships they build with their clients. Junior stylist and colourist Christie Karwell makes it a priority during and after appointments.
“Keeping a good relationship and checking in with your client is always a main priority, especially when it comes to retention,” Christie said.
At many salons, checking in after appointments is a manual process, often forgotten in the rush of the day. But at Takamichi, the stylists have help: Bowtie, an artificial intelligence-powered receptionist helps keep the stylists in touch with clients, deflect phone calls, and assist with bookings.
How AI Keeps a Busy Salon Running Smoothly
With the help of Bowtie, Takamichi Hair can focus on customers while they're in the salon instead of the phone.
“One of the things I love about it is that if you are trying to take care of a client at the desk and they’re checking out and having a great conversation with them, and the phone is ringing and ringing and ringing, you don’t have to worry about stopping what you’re doing,” Christie said.
Beyond deflecting calls, Bowtie also helps their customers book their appointments, no matter what time it is. In fact, when Takamichi Hair co-founder Marie Saeki first interacted with Bowtie, she knew it would be a game-changer for the salon.
“When we met Bowtie, we got very excited because we know the younger generation wants to text,” Marie said. “We were looking for a service for people to book with texting. The younger generation loves the virtual assistant. I think it’s more freedom for them.”
“Customers text me through Bowtie,” Takamichi said. “That’s how we communicate. Just through Bowtie.”
The ROI on AI
Allowing customers to book any time of day or night has helped Takamichi keep the salon’s appointment book full: almost 3 times as many customers book online instead of via a phone call. Then, when those new customers come to their appointments, Bowtie helps remind the stylists to contact their customers to check-in and book their next appointment.
“It automatically texts you when their services are over, and then you can reach out to them and stay in touch after the service to make sure everything was okay and that they enjoyed themselves,” Christie said. “Clients can reply and talk to you directly. Customers love it.”
And just in case someone does still prefer to call the salon instead of booking online, Bowtie helps keep the front desk focused on what matters, not answering calls that don’t need human help.
“Out of the last 928 messages that we got to the salon, only six of them needed human intervention,” Christie said. “I only needed to step in and help six people out of 928 messages. I think that if that’s not a time-saver, then what is?”