Fleur Murphy | Fleur Murphy: The New Wave of Barbering
Fleur Murphy takes a look into one of the most defining trends the hair industry has seen in years.
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The new wave of barbering

From the comb-over to the quiff, five o’clock stubble to a bushranger beard, there’s no denying male grooming is one of the most defining trends the hair industry has seen in years. No longer just a niche market, Aussie blokes are turning to barbers in their thousands to transform their look and redefine their personal style.

Barbershops have successfully bridged the gap between the ten dollar men’s cut and the high-end women’s salon, providing a distinctively masculine environment where men can relax and unwind. Although the vibe varies – from to urban to ultra-modern and everything in between – they all have one thing in common: they are a shrine to the new wave of barbering.

The new breed of barber has a knack for achieving that elusive air of laid-back sophistication, and an inherent understanding of male-ness and what makes men tick. They take a highly individualised approach and are enormously proud of what they do. They understand that their success relies on true mastery of their artform.

If this rings a few bells and sounds a lot like the way you operate, you probably think you’ve got things pretty much sorted. Before you start getting too confident and thinking your future success is laid out for you, take some time out to think about what might be missing from the experience you provide.

Yes, your clients love you because you’re great at what you do and because you help bring out their uniqueness and individual style, but let’s not forget they come armed with the lofty expectations of a savvy, digital age consumer. They’re used to instant gratification – and if you can’t provide it, your business will almost certainly suffer.

With the price of a men’s cut now comparable to the price of a woman’s, it’s essential to get the balance between craftsmanship and convenience just right – your clients are just too valuable to lose over something as easily managed as your wait time or booking process.

Thankfully, there are some new technologies out there designed specifically to streamline the way you work. They will ensure your business model works in your favour, give you the competitive edge, and will make your interactions with your clients just that little bit smoother.

For the time-poor metro male, picking up the phone to book an appointment is often the last thing on their to-do list. Giving them a way to book online saves them from having to stop whatever it is they’re in the middle of, to call you. It gives them exactly what they want, when they want it – which is essential to keeping today’s clients happy.

If you don’t take bookings, offering your clients the ability to check themselves in will mean they don’t have to line up just to put their name down, and will save you time at the front desk. Clients can secure their spot on their mobile phone, or on a computer or tablet in your waiting area.

Once they have arrived, nothing is guaranteed to frustrate your clients more than having to wait around for their cut. You can keep them informed – and relaxed – with a digital display board that is updated in real time, so they can see how long until it’s their turn.

If they want to go grab a coffee or check out their favourite shops while they’re waiting, you can send them a reminder text message a few minutes before they reach to the top of the waitlist. This prevents no-shows and make sure they don’t get bored and decide to get their hair cut another day.

Once they’ve visited and they’re hooked on their new style, you can entice them back using a range of digital marketing techniques. Email marketing is the perfect way to keep clients wanting more by providing special offers that are too good to refuse. Short and sweet SMSs are also great for last-minute deals and appointment reminders.

Equipped with these leading-edge tools, it’ll be easy to lift your game and provide your clients with the convenience they crave. Then, we might forgive you if you start feeling a bit smug about your success!

This article first appeared in The Cutthroat Journal, Winter 2014.