October 2009

Tech Talk — Choosing the Right Salon Software System

By Tiffany Neumann

The thought of computerized technology, advanced hardware systems and state-of-the-art software may be overwhelming to some salon professionals.

There are some things they don’t teach you at cosmetology school. This could be the reason so few salozns are computerized today. The basic challenge may simply be the fear of the unknown.

No matter what the case, it is important to realize that without technology, our salon and spa businesses will not be able to effectively compete in today’s economy which means they will not grow.

Have no fear. It is time to introduce you into the specialized world of salon technology.

Some salons and day spa owners may wonder how computer software technology will help them become more successful. The fact is computer technology can save a tremendous amount of time, while running more efficient business operations.

Having a customized software system benefits everyone involved, from the owner to the receptionist – your entire team. Software features such as payroll, commission, hourly wages and tax deductions are designed to benefit you as owners and managers. The old days of manually punching numbers into a calculator is over. There is no need to redo or recheck inventory numbers or financial statements. These special features help owners with tax deductions while calculating the employee’s hourly wage and overtime payments. With salon software programs, the computer does all the calculations and will save time, plus have higher accuracy.

“Salon employees also have special features to help them become more efficient during their work day, by using one of the most effective computerized systems,” noted Mark Jackson, president of Salon Iris software systems. “For example, when the telephone rings with an appointment; then it rings to cancel an appointment and then it rings again to reschedule or check for availability, the telephone doesn’t stop ringing. That could be a good thing, but with online appointment booking, your clients have the ability to conveniently schedule or change appointments on their own time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which makes them happy.”

Jackson goes on to mention how much valuable time this saves for your front desk staff. With wait list features, once an opening becomes available in your appointment book, the salon owner will quickly be notified of the clients who can fill these open spots. Thus, there are fewer chances for empty appointment books when you receive cancellations. With the proper computerized marketing tools, you can easily promote new services, new staff and appointment openings via the internet.

Research and development for these computer programs vary by each software company. A key objective is to find a software company that focuses on the importance of supporting you with ongoing system updates, staff training and ongoing educational support.

“The best situation is to find a software company that bases their updates on salon users’ requests,” Chris Jackson, co-owner of CMJ Designs said. “We follow our salon owner’s suggestions with feedback and leads from their daily needs. Our team carefully reviews each special request that we receive and work together to gear the next versions of our software updates to fit these exact requests and special needs. We work to maintain a close relationship with our salon and spa owners as well as their staffs. Since all of our company employees are in-house, we are able to move quickly and efficiently.”

Start-up and ongoing education is very important with today’s state-of-the-art salon and spa software systems. Without an extensive education program that consists of telephone support with webinars, email blasts and on-site visits, the full benefits of their program may not be understood. Many salon and spa software systems offer a beginning training and education program, yet for your benefit, look for one that has a continuous educational and technical support system. As new updates and features arise, more help and education will be needed.

Many salon and spa software programs offer free trials. It is best to try a few different options. One salon computer system may work better for you than the other. Look for convenient introductory trial software that is available to you online or by a mailed CD. Also, a select few trials are the actual full version of the original product, only limiting the amount of clients that can be stored by you. Those trials are the most useful, because you will receive the full package.

Today there are many software systems to choose from. Watch the advertisements in your trade magazines, visit with these software companies at spa trade shows and ask your associates for their recommendations.

For more information, call 888-803-4747, email Sales@CMJDesigns.com or visit their website at www.SalonIris.com.

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