Who Are You Kidding? It’s All Online!

July 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Does your salon’s website have online booking?

I switched salons about a year ago, and love how easy it is to make an appointment at my new place. I log-in with my email address, select the hair stylist of my choice, and his (or her) entire schedule for the day or week or month will pop up and allow me to select a time slot I want. I get an email confirmation once I have made the appointment and a reminder the day before.

I bring this up because I am currently reading The World Is Flat 3.0 by Thomas Friedman, which is a surprisingly entertaining read considering it’s on the topic of emerging technology trends. From reading, Friedman has trained my brain to ask; what processes can we make automated which currently aren’t? One of the examples in the book was the McDonald’s drive through window. Today, if you are ordering some fries at a window in Colorado, your order is actually being received and entered into a computer system by a person in India. The order then shows up in the kitchen of that McDonald’s and the food gets made. All of this in a matter of seconds and the person ordering never knows! Statistically, the number of errors in drive through ordering has decreased through this new process, and money has been saved in outsourcing this task rather than maintaining a traditional part-time employee. The book went on to explain how many of the Indian employees have had training to mask their accents and pick-up mid-western inflections because statistics show that American consumers are more comfortable spending money when the voice on the other line sounds familiar.

Does this make you nervous? It does me! I’ll look to the future, I’ll embrace change, and I’ll even do the self checkout at the grocery store but there is something unsettling about the idea that everything we do could potentially be automated, or outsourced- or both!

Like I said, I like the online booking feature at my salon. It saves me the time of having the salon receptionist read me my hair stylists schedule, while we try to work out a day and time available for both of us. And I appreciate the email reminder. But where does it stop? Where should it stop?

I guess I can take comfort in knowing, no matter how many processes become automated, some services can never be outsourced- like a hair cut!

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