Collaboration and Planning with Real Firepower

October 14, 2011

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Somewhere it is noted that the number one killer in any business, big or small is poor communication.    We agree with that.  These days, with the operation of  more than one location, we recognize now more than ever how important it is to keep the lines of communication open and always maintain a steady flow of information.   “It’s difficult in our work environment to communicate in real-time without having meetings because our team members are tied up most of the day taking care of clients.”, says Lilla Flitcraft, Human Resource Manager.    The problem with having meetings is that they are very expensive.    When you look at pulling team members “off the floor”, you’re talking about a lot of money that’s not being made.    We’re an innovative company.  We are always looking for smarter and more intelligent ways of doing things.   Efficiency and speed are important.   It allows us to sprint past the competition.

Maximum FX has recently deployed a web-based collaboration software created by 37signals, a software company based out of Chicago, Illinois.   The suite of software products recently installed contains four applications designed for different purposes.   We are using three of the four software applications to streamline operations, facilitate project collaboration across salon locations, centralize file sharing amongst team members, coordinate calendar events, and resolve customer challenges.

Here you can see where we have uploaded commonly requested Human Resource forms for team members to access online. This allows easy access to forms needed on a regular basis.

One of the most powerful new applications we are utilizing is Basecamp, one of four applications within the suite of products offered by 37Signals.    Basecamp is a project planning software that you wished you had on that last project.   Before, we managed projects with email and used Microsoft Excel to manage to-do lists.   We’ve said goodbye to both!   Today we use Basecamp for all things project related.  We collaborate amongst team members across salon locations on fundraising events, salon fashion shows, marketing projects, consumer clinics, meeting agendas, business strategies, and the list goes on.

Here you can see the Basecamp Dashboard which highlights all of your active projects and the recent activity on each project. It also combines all events across all projects and places them on the Dashboard calendar.

Today we have clarity and clear communication with everything we’re doing.   Accountability measures are now in place such as to-do lists with assignments and due dates.   This ensures that we are productive and getting things done.   No more talking, now we’re doing!

Here’s an example of how we set up to-do lists and assign tasks for one another. We can even assign due dates which keeps us on schedule for getting things done.

Highrise was developed by 37signals as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application.   CRM is  is a widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects.   At Maximum FX, we use Highrise Contacts to help us handle any client complaints and challenges.   Highrise Contacts allows us to deliver on our promise of “Making People’s Day”.  We are able communicate challenges throughout the entire organization, keeping the team informed of any developments and how challenges were resolved.   Feedback from clients are documented in Highrise Contacts and the information is used as part of our ongoing training on a daily basis.   Everything is contained in one place, with easy access from virtually anywhere there’s an internet connection.

Here you can see how the leadership team is managing a negative review on Yelp, documenting our actions every step of the way.

And as if all of the above wasn’t cool enough (and you’ve made it this far down on the blog), here’s an added bonus.   We’re even using Backpack to create and share haircutting and hair coloring portfolios to be used in consultations with our guests.   Stylists and colorists in different locations are now able to share their knowledge and work using this incredible web-based technology.  All of this information is transmitted over the internet right into the chair side consultation via iPads.  The uses are virtually limitless.  We’re still finding ways to streamline our operations and develop better processes.   It’s part of a relentless pursuit to enhance our guests’ experiences in our salons and spas.

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Located in Austin, Texas.

Chris Murphy