This was originally posted on Spa Executive, the online magazine for leaders in the business of wellness. Subscribe for news, exclusive interviews, and trends happening in the spa and wellness industry.
It’s difficult to run a spa or wellness business these days, particularly a large operation, without the help of a comprehensive spa management software. But how do you choose one from all the available options out there?
You can start by knowing what you need.
There are certain things your system absolutely must have in order to help your spa business thrive. Running a business takes time and work, and your software system should alleviate much of that workload. It should take care of many of the day-to-day tasks and minutiae to allow you to focus on other important things, like your customer experience.
Here are eight things that your spa management software should do for you:
Online booking and mobile booking are must haves. In 2016, one quarter of all salon, hotel spa, and day spa bookings were made online, and this number has surely grown since. Millennials, meanwhile, want to use their phones for anything other than making phone calls. Research conducted in 2016 by OpenMarket found that, given the choice, 75% of millennials would rather lose the ability to talk than text, and 76% said they prefer texts over calls from companies. Fifty-three percent said they prefer to text vs call in general, and 19% never check voicemail. Millennials make up more than one quarter of the global population and about one third of the retail sales market. Customers also want the option to book appointments outside of business hours. Online booking makes your business more efficient and reduces time spent rectifying errors or dealing with lengthy phone calls. It also allows you to consolidate bookings in a central location. If you don’t offer online booking, you are leaving money on the table.
Your software should be taking care of your staff scheduling and shift management, and eliminating conflicts. It should offer automatic tracking of commissions and spiffs, as well as tracking of up-selling and cross-selling. A good software will manage your payroll and also allow you to track KPIs and performance, and offer performance-driven rewards.
Do you really have time to be going through your stock and marking everything down manually? Your software should take care of auditing and adjustments in real time and, where needed, across multiple locations. It should track your purchasing and receiving and product sales, and it should alert you when you are running low on something or automatically restock it. Manual processing of inventory can too easily result in a shortage of a product you need and an abundance of one you don’t.
Your loyalty program, promotions, memberships, and gift card sales should be managed by your software. Not only are these things a lot of work, doing them manually also means you miss opportunities to improve the guest experience, such as the opportunity to personalize your memberships and reward programs. A good software should also handle your turn away tracking and yield management. Getting a handle on why you’re turning away customers and how you can avoid this by better managing your staff and facilities will help guard against losing revenue. As will maximizing your peak periods and driving traffic during less busy times. Your software should also be handling all your customer satisfaction surveys, so you can learn how to make your happy customers even happier.
Your software should have a built-in Point of Sale (POS) and the ability to process multiple payment options, including cash, credit cards and gift cards. It should improve the guest experience with express check-out and emailed receipts, take care of processing your membership dues, and allow for central tracking and redemption of loyalty points, automatically updating balances on your customers’ accounts. Your spa software should also seamlessly integrate with your hotel Property Management System, where necessary, and allow the option to transfer all spa revenue to your hotel system.
One of the most important aspects of a successful spa business is comprehensive reporting. Keeping track of all your KPIs, revenue, retail sales, and more can be incredibly time consuming. Not to mention, manually tracking all this stuff leaves a lot of room for error. Your software should do this for you, offering real-time dashboards and central reporting on operational efficiency and sales performance. It should track customer buying trends and demographics for all of your locations, tell you how your team is performing and which technicians are most productive, and offer end-of-day reports and financial summaries.
Your guests want to know that their health, personal, and payment information are secure. This shouldn’t be something you have to wonder about, even for a second. Your software provider should be able to guarantee GDPR and HIPAA compliance, and that your customer data is safe.
Finally, your software should come with great and responsive customer service. Many spa management software companies out there have terrible customer service. There’s no number to call when there’s a problem with the system, or when you do call, you leave a message and it takes a day, or several days, to call you back. Meanwhile, your system isn’t working, which affects everything about your customer experience and your business. This is unacceptable. The software company should also offer implementation and onsite training. You shouldn’t be expected to figure things out for yourself. Find a software company that takes customer service seriously.
Check out reviews and case studies when shopping for a spa management software. And be sure to ask about all of these things when speaking to a sales representative. Don’t be afraid to really grill them. After you’ve purchased the system is too late to discover that you’re missing a key element.