In the spirit of Halloween, we thought we would address some of the ghosts in your spa or salon system. Like poltergeists, these invisible problems can’t be seen, but they can make big messes – and wreak havoc on your business performance.

Think you don’t have invisible problems? Think again. The thing about invisible things is you can’t see them, and the thing about what you can’t see is that you don’t always know it’s there.

If you’re keeping manual spreadsheets of inventory and revenue, tracking turn away and cancellations by taking notes, and only taking appointments by phone or walk in, we guarantee you’ve got at least some of these invisible issues – maybe even all of them.

Stagnant sales and disappearing popular retail items.

Without proper tracking, retail items can just sit on shelves, not moving for months on end, and you won’t notice. Conversely, if an item is flying off the shelves, a busy spa can easily run out before a client needs it, and not be able to offer any, creating both a disappointing guest experience and a missed revenue opportunity.

Tracking and managing your inventory with software that automates your process and lets you know exactly what’s going on with your products and sales will fix this problem.

Theft and breach vulnerability.

It’s not an attractive notion, the idea that someone you know and trust could be stealing from you, but breaches are almost always internal, regardless of the type. If someone is pilfering from you, there’s no way for you to know this unless you’re keeping sharp track of your inventory. Even worse, theft can extend beyond taking some nail polish or a bottle of body balm, and right into the terrifying realm of stealing guests’ personal or financial information. It’s incredibly difficult to recover from this sort of thing. Of course you trust your team, or they wouldn’t be your team. But some people are dishonest (and circumstance can turn honest people into dishonest ones), and they don’t walk around with a tattoo on their forehead telling you so.

Protected passwords and layers of access are the only ways to protect your business against data breaches. Your customer also needs peace of mind that their personal data is kept personal.

User error.

As we say, to err is human. Keeping manual spreadsheets and records leaves all sorts of space for mistakes. From appointment booking, to guest records, to payment information, to inventory, to giving the wrong change — everything is vulnerable to human error. Machines, on the other hand, keep much better track of things. A miscalculation or missed or erroneous entry can go unnoticed for months – maybe even forever.

Missed appointment opportunities.

If someone is trying to book a massage appointment by phone and nobody is around to take the call, did they even call? OK, maybe this attempt to play on the tree falling in the forest isn’t as effective as it sounded in our heads, but the point is that if you don’t answer that call, there’s a good chance you’ve missed that appointment for good. People are becoming increasingly less likely to make phone calls, and many won’t leave a voicemail. If you don’t answer, they’ll just make an appointment somewhere else.

You also lose appointment opportunities through lack of available resources such as space or service provider. And, while a regular customer will probably call back after a turn away, a new customer won’t. Your front desk staff is surely too busy to log every reason for turning away guests. Turn-away tracking removes the guesswork by automatically logging the reasons for every turn away, then creating an analytics report where managers can see exactly what’s happening.

Then you can fix the problem and recapture that revenue.

Don’t leave your business vulnerable to invisible problems. Be safe, not sorry.