August 2011

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


Technology Will Never Replace Human Touch

In the past few years, there has been considerable focus on the high tech capabilities we have at our disposal.

The advent of the internet with its endless variety of applications for supporting virtually every aspect of the beauty profession has changed our landscape forever.

The online social and business networks have made it possible for us to reach out to millions, when we could only reach a few before. While these are indeed the new tools of our trade, they can never replace the time-honored traditions of our profession that have guaranteed continued loyalty from our clients.

With all this potential for success with the high tech tools we now have at our fingertips, it is still the high touch aspects of our profession that ultimately bond us with our clients, peers and future partners in the industry.

Human touch is still what makes our craft unique and special. You cannot "outsource" a handshake with eye contact and a warm smile. You cannot "downsize" the grateful thank you that you not only hear, but feel as well.

Our quest is to make the world more beautiful, one head, hand or face at a time. Yet, ultimately, it is those we make feel beautiful that are our most treasured assets.

Our senses play a powerful role in how we recognize our clients' sensory needs. From first impressions to goodbyes, and everything in between, all influence our success or lack thereof.

Take the sense of sight as an example. Before we hear, we usually see. The average person decides in the first 10 seconds whether they like what they see and want to know more, or want to leave the scene as soon as possible.

The sad truth is that you never get a second chance for a successful first impression. Experts say it takes at least three successful encounters after a bad first encounter to reverse the negative impact. We rarely if ever get this second or third chance. The good news is that we have complete control over the visual impression we make.

We can create a positive first impression through the visual appeal of our individual or business brand. It is believed that all communication is 60-70% non-verbal. So the saying "seeing is believing" is never more true than in this regard.

The key focus in utilizing our senses to reach prospective guests and please our current clients, is achieving balance between the impact of one sense and the other. If we are visually appealing, but the auditory environment is full of angst and discord, we are sending a mixed message.

If we serve Dom Perignon to our guests in a Dixie cup, that is a mixed message. Mixed messages create confusion and inhibit clear communication.

Our ability to touch our clients on all levels is what makes us unique. If we remain aware of the impact of human touch, we can also pursue the high tech options that are available to us to assure our continued growth.

Jerry Tyler's column Blue Highways is his "Road Less Traveled" perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. Jerry Tyler has been a stylist since 1975 serving as the former artistic director for Vidal Sassoon Academy and currently as Director of Industry Relations for Carlton Hair salons. He is also a licensed cosmetology instructor and has served as President of the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.