How To Get the Most out of your Spa Software

March 27, 2015 Lisa Starr

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Is your spa software supporting the success of your business?

In this day and age, most spas are using software applications to operate at least certain components of the business. But even intuitively useful programs can feel daunting to non-techie spa owners, managers and front desk staff to employ to their fullest capacity. Well-utilized software can save enormous amounts of time and money for the spa, but sometimes it feels like the bridge between knowing the bare minimum and getting the most of our your program is too wide to cross. Like any long journey, this one is best tackled in chunks, and it will feel less overwhelming with a plan.

One of the biggest complaints with software is that “it doesn’t do such and such,” and it’s often not true, it’s just that the spa doesn’t know HOW to make the task in question happen. Begin your mastery project by creating a spreadsheet or document that identifies your software’s main component sections, usually tabs on the main menu bar. These are typically categories such as “Appointments,” “Clients,” “Marketing,” and so on. Create a team, comprised of both management and front desk staff, who will be the driving force behind your effort.

Your Millennial staff members have grown up with computers and are the most fearless when it comes to technology, so make sure to include a few of them on your exploration team. You can assign a team member to each section of the program, or let the team focus on one topic per month. Just decide upon an approach that allows them to focus on a smaller subset of the software. However you arrange it, the group should meet at least once per month, if not every two weeks, to discuss their progress and share what they have learned with each other. Careful notes should be taken of these conversations, so what is learned is recorded and then included in Operations Manuals, Employee Handbooks, and any other documentation that is pertinent to business operations.

Once your staff has mastered the basics, you could move on to more advanced features. Knowing how to get the most out of your loyalty program can really help with your client retention. Enabling online booking makes it easy for regular clients to schedule with you, which makes them happy, and will allow your front desk staff to focus more on clients who area already in the spa, on tasks such as upsells and pre-booking.

Some basic rules of software exploration:

Don’t be afraid! You’re not going to break anything. Give yourself 20 minutes once or twice a week, pick a category, and start clicking. Go to some choices you have never made before, or just see where your curiosity takes you. If you find something of interest – write it down, as well as noting how you reached it.

Prioritize what your team needs to learn. What would be most impactful to the business from an operations standpoint? From a revenue or profit standpoint? Appointments are the lifeblood of the business, but using the Point-of-Sale correctly impacts financial reporting. With your team, decide what topics would be most appropriate for your specific needs.

Use the tools at your fingertips. Booker, for example, has a “Help Center” at the top right of the home screen; click on that and you will be taken to an abundance of postings on numerous topics, along with solutions that include graphics and how-to videos. Most software programs, especially cloud-based, have an option such as this.

Who’s the Boss? In some spas, especially those that may have introduced operating software in a gradual way, the front desk staff may unintentionally stymie efforts by management or owners to utilize more of the software. They’ll say something that sounds like “It’s faster if we do it the old way.” It may be faster now, but once they learn how to do it on the computer it will certainly be at least as fast that way, plus you’ll be creating data that leads to analytics that can guide your decision-making process in the future.

It’s quite common for spas to utilize only portions of their software, but not necessarily smart business. Creating data points gives the business owner so much more information than the old analog version – remember the enormous appointment book, complete with whiteout and illegible entries? The more you utilize your software system, the more you can measure, and therefore improve.

About the Author

Lisa Starr

Lisa Starr brings over 30 years of industry-specific experience as a consultant, educator and writer to Booker through GOtalk. Lisa also works for Wynne Business, a leading spa consulting and education company. Among other things, Lisa’s expertise lies in business operations and finances, sales and marketing, inventory management, human resource development, and business process improvement. She is a well-known speaker within the trade show circuit and is a frequent contributor to industry

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