rebecca hitchon 600

Dream Nails CEO on the salon brand’s AI customer service chatbot 

By Rebecca Hitchon | 24 January 2024 | Feature, Technology

Thanh Vu Header

Scratch chats to Thanh Vu, CEO of Essex and East London salon franchise, Dream Nails, about its artificial intelligence (AI) nail expert…

Thanh Vu Dream Nails Ceo 1

Tell us about the role of the AI assistant.

Dream Nails‘ AI assistant is available 24/7 via a web and WhatsApp interface, and can answer questions about treatments, pricing and more. Staff of all seniority levels have helped to train the AI tool to answer over 1,000 common customer questions related to nails and Dream Nails.

We have tried to catch it out with trick questions and each time it has faltered, we have tailored the algorithm accordingly. If the AI assistant is unsure, we always direct the customer to phone or email us. Ongoing monitoring is important to avoid spurious responses and ensure the tool operates in the ethos of the business, so we regularly track sample conversations.

What inspired the creation of the AI tool?

AI is the next big thing to advance the way we do business, interact and allocate time. It takes time to tailor an AI tool to a business, however I expect the return on this in later years to be substantial.

I think now is the time for the nail industry to lead others, and this got me thinking how we can best make use of AI in a high-touch service sector. At Dream Nails, we believe that the heart of a great nail treatment lies in the personal connection between the technician and client. With AI taking care of routine tasks, our team can devote their full attention to delivering personalised, high-quality nailcare.

20a0d0e4 9eb7 4168 88cf 2b95c13df194

Some people are fearful of the concept of AI. Why are you not?

New technology brings uncertainty and unknowns, which can rock the boat. However, rocking the boat can result in a better experience for clients. Think back to the fear of the unknown when the world wide web launched. Can you imagine doing business without the internet now? One should only be fearful if not willing to adapt.

How have Dream Nails clients and techs responded to the AI assistant?

Initial reactions have been extremely positive. Our clients like having a nail expert available 24/7, and our techs enjoy having more time to focus on what they do best: nails.

An example of a conversation between the Dream Nails AI assistant and a client.

An example of a conversation between the Dream Nails AI assistant and a client.

What are your future plans for the AI tool?

The next plan for our AI assistant is to introduce an appointment booking and management platform. Clients won’t need to login or fill in a form; they’ll just need to send a quick message to book an appointment. We will then look to develop an AI picture generation and recognition tool, where nail designs can be artificially generated and imagery can be quoted for our different salons.

Where do you predict that AI will feature in the salon experience in future?

The future of AI has no bounds. One day, we may find AI being used to carry out nail treatments, however I do not advocate for this. After all, clients also go to a nail salon to interact with a technician.

I envision AI eradicating the need for a large number of administrative staff, with a senior staff member overseeing the technology. I also believe AI will take an active role in pricing models, where costs will fluctuate depending on demand and supply – like Uber’s pricing, and in last-minute appointment filling, via automated messaging of suitable clients with targeted discounts.