Over the past few weeks we’ve brought you stories from our larger sellers who’ve expanded their operations with Square. Whether it was Vosges Haut-Chocolate using data to their planning advantage or Philz coffee maintaining brand affinity — businesses with multiple locations require unique tools for their complex needs.
That’s why we were thrilled to sit down with Scott Heckman, COO of LaserAway, the country’s premier laser hair removal service. Learn how he (impressively) grew his business to 30 locations over the last decade.
Square: LaserAway is clearly a successful business with 30 locations and celebrity endorsements. What do you attribute your early success to?
Heckman: Back in 2006 when lasers were getting super advanced, the results delivered by the right equipment became far superior to anything that had come before. Our customers loved that we spent the time and money to deploy the best technology, and they helped us grow our business through word of mouth. From there, we simply followed the demand, which in 10 years has resulted in seven board-certified dermatologists, and 30 locations — six currently under construction.
As you’ve grown to so many locations, how do you weigh expansion against maintaining the personal, boutique experience you started out with?
I don’t think the two are in opposition to each other. We can expand to two dozen locations while preserving the personal attention our customers expect from us. We did this by investing the last eight years in an electronic medical records system that compiles treatment information, visit history, and even distributes surveys that judge quality of experience. This way, as a customer walks in the door, we know the specific laser settings used from their last visit, and how they felt about it — without them having to say a word. That’s a powerful tool for us.
But how do you streamline that experience across all of your locations? Our company is aligned in providing the best customer experience from service to checkout. But I needed to give our teams the right tools to meet their goals. We had service covered — with the best lasers and our EMR site. We were progressive in lots of ways, offering great benefits packages for our team members. When it came time to make the sale though, our point-of-sale system created a blind spot for our staff.
So how did you resolve the “blind spot”?
We knew we wanted to leave our outdated point-of-sale system that made us feel like our information was trapped in a box, so we began searching for a new provider. My hairstylist used Square, so I was familiar with the brand, but I didn’t know if there was a way to combine Square’s point of sale software with our existing customer database that contained preferences of our 135,000 customers.
We approached Square and once you developed your APIs, things started to click. You invited us to test your API tool and it worked great. Now we have a solution that fits our growing business. We can add what our customers purchased and paid for alongside information about their laser settings and treatment satisfaction. Once you have all that information in one place, you can build a formula for creating happy patients and a strong referral database. We grew our business through referrals, and now with Square we can take it to the next level by maintaining a consistently high-quality experience for our customers.
Are there things you can do now that you couldn’t before?
Yes, three things. One, the look and feel of Square with your white, high-tech iPad point of sale, with readers you can dip cards into and tap with phones, subliminally shows customers that we’re on the cutting edge.
Two, with your dashboard I can see in real time how our new New York City location is selling even though I’m in our Beverly Hills headquarters. When you’re ramping a multi-location business, you need data to be accessible like this. The less mystery the better, especially as we scale even more. With Square, I can get a 360-degree view anytime I want.
And three, it’s amazingly easy to train employees on Square with the user-friendly interface. What’s cool too is Square listens to its sellers — when I’ve suggested changes to your programmers you’ve actually implemented them.
What’s next for you?
Well, we just opened in Dallas and New York City. I’ll say this: we doubled in size in the last two years and plan on doubling again in the next two.