11 tips for salon computerisation

  1. Buy your software. If you somehow obtain free software it does not have value to you and there is no pressure to ensure that you get return on your investment as you have invested nothing. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
  2. Software implementation is a journey its not a single event in time. Have clear objectives of what you would like to achieve through your salon software and set timeframes to implement these. Start with very basic goals, like balancing your cash up. Then move on to stock control, wages, SMS etc.
  3. If Software implementation is a journey then it is one that should not be taken alone and therefore requires a close business partnership between you and your software provider. Your software provider should be more than just the guys who fix your computers when you have a problem, rather they should be the people who help you implement your business strategies and therefore should be familiar with salon business processes.
  4. Appoint at least one key person who takes ultimate responsibility for the successful implementation and continued management of your salon software. This person should be responsible for all matters relating to the operation of your salon software and must be the contact person to go between you and your salon software provider. They should also be equipped to train new people in your business to use your salon software and this training should revolve around a set of your own adapted standard operating procedures.
  5. Educate your staff – don’t just train them. Take the time to ensure that they not only know how to operate their computer software but that they understand why. Otherwise it will just be another tedious admin task for them and if they are not monitored will just fall back into their old comfortable habits.
  6. Develop a set of standard operating procedures that relate to the use of your salon software. This would include policies and procedures like when and how daily cash ups are performed; how client returns are processed; allowing discounts on sales; when and how stock takes are performed; standard reporting requirements; booking policies and sending clients appointment reminders. Document these so that staff members are clear on what is required of them and how they are to go about maintaining these standards. This is an extension of your help file and training you receive from your software provider and will differ from salon to salon based on each salons unique approach to managing their business.
  7. “It takes time to save time”. Plan how you want your price list to be set up. This is a very simple process but is one that is often neglected and leads to much frustration down the line. This task is based on how you want to be able to look up items when you make bookings or insert sales. It is also determined by how you want to report on items that you sell, ie what categories items should fall into etc. Finally think about your stylist commission structures and how this should affect your set up. For example if stylists get different commission on different items then these should be categorized accordingly but needs to be planned in conjunction with how you want your reporting to appear.
  8. Again “It takes time to save time”, and one of the most common problems that occur over time is a messy client database with many duplicate client names or missing information. Part of the problem stems from staff not having a clear directive on what information they must obtain from each client that calls in. Create a story that helps clients surrender at least their name, surname and cell phone number. This will help to ensure that your database is as clean possible. This is good for reporting, marketing and in the event that you wish to sell your salon it will help push the price up as a healthy client database is one of the most valuable assets you possess. The more information you get from your clients the better. Fields like Gender and Birthday are excellent for reporting purposes and also very useful for targeted marketing. Again you need to provide motivation for your clients to give you these details. A loyalty scheme is often the best way to get clients personal information because they give it to you in exchange for the rewards they will receive.