Taking contemporary male grooming and styling to the next level right from the heart of Liverpool, The Men's Room offers a range of hairstyles and pampering treatments for stylish City gents. With an emphasis on excellent customer service, The Men's Room aims to turn the concept of the traditional male barber shop completely on its head with extra services such as facials, wet shaves, modern haircuts and styling.
With a full overhaul twelve months ago and future extensions planned in the New Year, the salon's owner, Sam Rice, wanted to also ensure that the infrastructure was equally upgraded to befit such a modern environment. "For us, it wasn't just about revitalising and refurbishing the premises. We offer contemporary services and we want to extend this to the entire experience, including online bookings of appointments and effective transaction processing."
Not unlike many small businesses, Sam had been using a standalone cash register to manually capture each transaction. Fraught with reconciliation issues every day, the standalone critically failed to capture which transactions were entered for product and which were for services. This information was vital as it attracted differing levels of commission for staff members and therefore accurate reconciliation could only be achieved by manually going through the week's register rolls and marking each manually.
The results of this cumbersome weekly audit also facilitated the restocking of products. This reconciliation took an entire day of Sam's time and even then, mistakes could occur. It became a day of fine balancing each week, Sam explains "It's critical that our stylists are compensated fairly and appropriately. We maintain a reputation for great customer service and this can only be achieved if our Team receives the correct levels of pay and we have the right stocks in." Over and above the consuming till reconciliation, a further day of calculation was needed each week to maintain accurate manual bookkeeping, accounting and wage slip generation.
Having worked previously with EPoS (Electronic Point of Sale) solutions, Sam knew that more intelligent, flexible solutions existed on the market, but believed that these were the reserve of major salon chains such was the initial cost, complexity and time investment outlay required. It wasn't until Sam was made aware by CardSave, his Merchant Services provider, that they were able to offer an Integrated EPoS Terminal as a rental along with the Credit Card processing terminal, that he was prompted to dig a little further. Upon initial investigation, the VR-100 seemed to be an ideal solution. Tough and rugged, the large colour 10.4 inch LCD withstands the moisture and heat generated within the shop, and provides an 80mm receipt for customers and an audible opening cash drawer for increased security. Size wise, although the LCD viewing area is one of the largest available to facilitate speed of input, the unit itself fits snugly on the reception desk. Installation with an EPoS solution is normally intensive and consuming, however the Casio V-R100 KC can be installed straight out of the box. At The Men's Room, Cardsave's fulfilment partner - DCGS installed the unit within minutes; straightforward plug and play technology with styling items easily added and customising services buttons specific to The Men's Room. Training of the five stylists slotted in seamlessly in-between appointments, with all quickly grasping the enhanced usability and menu driven prompt screens that sit behind the V-R100 KC.
One month after installation and the Casio V-R100 KC has revolutionised the back office at the salon. Each product is now listed and reconciled and transaction linked. Each staff member has their own bookings appropriately tagged against their commission wage slip. Proof of how effective the unit is came with the first stock take in week one. Sam explains "We took a stocktake as a proof point for the new system. We were right to do so as it was 100% accurate. Suddenly the guesswork of what we need to re-order was alleviated. We now have a full and accurate consumption report that we can download at any point in time. Eventually, we will explore the use of the automatic ordering Apps provided by our wholesalers so that the entire procurement chain is automated."
As The Men's Room operates on an appointment basis, the salon can now deploy a real-time booking system for the staff, allocating 45 minute slots across the calendar online. As the Casio V-R100 KC is linked to the internet, it also allows customers to seamlessly book their own appointments back at base or from within The Men's Room.
Staff can check the appointments via the unit, make block bookings and use the internet for other applications, such as social networking sites. Indeed, so powerful is the EPoS solution, that it has all but replaced the dedicated company laptop. Sam laughs, "It says something about the inherent power and functionality within when EPoS till applications replace the programmes on our laptop. Indeed the laptop has been pretty much made redundant all bar the playing of ambient music."
Indeed, preserving ambience and atmosphere are important considerations within The Men's Room, as clients wish to relax while enjoying treatments. As such, the incredibly quiet operation of the V-R100 KC together with the very lower power consumption are both appreciated.
At The Men's Room, it is the back office side of the business that has benefitted most with two days saving in manpower achieved each week with the V-R100 KC now accurately reconciling transactions. Sam elaborates. "The benefits to an expanding business cannot be over-emphasized. I personally used to spend a full day tallying receipts and then my partner would spend the next day compiling accurate books to submit to the accountant. All of this is now achieved with a touch of a button with an automated report. The savings in our time alone in the first month far outset the cost of the initial purchase."
Extract the stress factor and add in the re-assurance of 100% correct accounting and the team can now fully focus on the expansion of the business, with plans to double the number of stations and services offered in 2013.
This growth will be helped by accessibility of such services on the V-R100 KC like social networking, review sites and updating of FaceBook with news and promotions. Indeed Sam is looking forward to getting to grips with the Casio Business Portal to expand his current client base. This will provide him with a host of marketing tools, including SMS texting; the ability to generate eshots and to fully expand the current customer loyalty scheme so that birthday and seasonal promotions can be added.
Sam concludes "We are just scratching the top of the surface and we are absolutely thrilled with what we have seen so far. I would be the first to 100% recommend the Casio V-R100 KC. It is a truly empowering solution that will grow with you and facilitate that growth."