Better BusinessJanuary 1, 2008 By: American Salon Staff American Salon
When designing a Web site, Mansur says it's important to think about what the user wants and needs. "Brands need to spend time with their customers to understand what they would want from a Web site and why they would return often. I see a lot of product Web sites that are very 'pretty' but ultimately aren't functional, so the user leaves not knowing much more about the brand than when they first arrived."
When developing the direction of its Web site, Redken conducted surveys, focus groups and one-on-one interviews to better understand their primary customer, the salon professional. By continuing to explore the possibilities of serving their clients through their Web site, Redken maintains an image that is both inspired and cutting edge. —A.L.
Software that can help you give your customers top-notch treatment at the front desk
In this, our inaugural column devoted to salon management software, we'll tackle how software can help you improve the salon experience for your clients where it all starts: at the front desk.
New clients are perhaps the customers you most need to impress at your reception desk, since it will likely be their first face-to-face encounter with your salon. Floydware's browser-based software, Rosy, identifies these clients to your reception staff immediately with a pop-up notice that appears as soon as the appointment is opened, while Nichesoft's BeautyTrack and BeautyTrack Express make creating a new client's account as easy as swiping the magnetic strip of their driver's license. (Currently, 25 states support magnetic strip drivers' licenses.)
It's also the responsibility of the front desk staff to keep traffic flow manageable, whether clients are checking in, waiting for a stylist or checking out. Fortunately, several software programs offer assistance in this area. Harms' Millennium Professional and Platinum editions, for example, include an Appointment Monitoring Station, with color-coded displays for the current day indicating if clients are late, checked in or pending cancellation. The software also enables speedy checkouts. Staff can open multiple transactions at the same time or place transactions on hold while customers write checks or decide to buy retail. ProSolutions also assists in traffic-flow maintenance with its Reception Load feature, which analyzes the appointment book to produce a simple graph that illustrates how busy your front desk will be at any time, on any given day, enabling management to schedule staff and breaks accordingly. And to minimize clients' wait times after they've checked in, ProSolutions Internal Paging System can be used to send an alert directly to staff's cell phones.
Salons that have a large number of walk-in clients are particularly vulnerable to traffic flow problems, which is what Shortcuts' Walkin Manager feature is specifically designed to address. It provides detailed information on the number of clients waiting, returning and in-service, in addition to tracking staff efficiency and abandoned visits.
With so many software options available, we encourage you to contact the companies mentioned in our new column for more information, so that you can find the software that's best for you. —L.A.
Floydware: 630/469-1078; www.floydware.biz
Harms Software: 888/813-2141; www.harms-software.com
Nichesoft: 877/488-2901; www.nichesoft.com
ProSolutions Software: 800/710-3879; www.prosolutionssoftware.com
Shortcuts Salon & Spa Software: 866/678-7324; www.shortcuts.net