How critical is good software to your salon? My answer: it depends. What does it depend on? It depends on how serious you are about growing your business. Because, like most things the wow factor in software systems is in the eye of the beholder.
Salon owners represent a model of extremes. At one end are those who ooze passion and find joy in serving people and solving their hair and beauty needs. I love those salon owners; we need more like them. Sadly, at the other end are those who are just going through the motions.
One factor I find sorts the go-getters from the plodders is willingness to invest in the right salon software. Selecting the best software package for your salon is a challenging process in itself and leaves many owners in limbo-land, unable to decide the way forward.
There are dozens of proprietary salon software systems on the market. Which one’s right for you? You need to do the research so you can understand what you’re getting, what features you really need and will use, and what the costs are.
If you’re planning to use your system as a glorified cash register and never bother to enter your clients’ details correctly, then I suggest you stick with the package you inherited when you bought your salon. If you’ve no intention of using the information a computer package can gather for you, why gather it?
But that’s not you, right? You understand that computers don’t think for themselves, they can’t make decisions; they just do as they’re told. The secret is identifying the software package that lets you tell it what you need. The more you can ask from your software package, the more benefits you reap from gathering the client data in the first place.
There are key things you should know as a salon owner. An on-point system will tell you:
- The number of clients you see.
- Your average dollar sale.
- Your salon’s lost clients (weekly) including their names.
You don’t want a retention report – you need the actual names so you can take specific action.
These three metrics are the core of any salon business and central to your success. If you don’t know this, we need to talk.
Sadly, 85% of salon owners don’t and can’t source all three metrics when I ask. That’s because most software packages can’t give you these detailed figures.
If you intend to grow your business and benefit from all the training you’re doing, you’ll want to measure and celebrate your wins with your team. If you do your homework and understand the industry benchmarks for your salon metrics, you’ll be even better positioned to make informed and effective decisions.
It’s amazing the information a great system can put at your fingertips: everything from what team member saw the client last time to how frequently she visits the salon, who she prefers to see and whether she’s bought retail, referred friends to your business or ever been a no-show. And that’s barely scratching the surface of what’s possible. Imagine having all that client info instantly available to you and your team.
My question to you is: how much would you pay a team member to gather that level of information for you each week? What would it be worth to you to have such a sound basis for decision-making around both clients and team members? The brilliant news is you can have all of this (and heaps more) for about $80 a week using the best software package available.
Why would you pay for a lesser package that’s tricky to use and offers little in the way of information gathering? From my experience, many salon owners end up settling for a system that simply looks good, even though they haven’t asked any relevant questions or done the research to discover what’s possible and what’s right for them.
Then they don’t use even a tenth of the capability of the package, often because after it’s been installed they’re left on their own with little or no support.
That’s a dangerous place to position yourself – investing in a product you don’t understand and leaving yourself with little hope of extracting any useful information from the system. It makes no sense.
Surely, when it comes to your software package, the wow factor is in what it does, not how good it looks. Here are three essential principles to guide you:
- It must be easy to use and a very well known brand, so that when a new member joins your team, chances are they have used it before in a previous salon.
- It must be accessible from anywhere (cloud based), so no matter where you are, you can check the appointment book, get on with your admin or even book in a client you just met in a café.
- It must be supported by a real person who’s available to help you. No emails to help desks in far-off lands. You need someone in your time zone who can walk you through what you need to know or use remote access to literally show you how.
Does your current salon system’s wow factor measure up? Maybe it’s time to look at making a change.
For more salon success tips, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit my website, find my video tips on YouTube or read my book The Naked Salon, an essential guide to time, team and money. www.zingcoach.com.au