Technology Case Study: Software Solutions

By Victoria Wurdinger | 07/19/2010 12:11:00 PM


Driving the numbers when salon management software is used to its fullest potential, salon owners discover they are better managers and their salons are more profitable.

SALON SOFTWARE DOES EVERYTHING from manage inventory to track repeat visits. What are its best uses when you want to drive profits?

John Kanski, a Paul Mitchell the School owner who co-owns Jenni’s Salon and Spa in Bloomington/Normal, Illinois, and is also a Lunatic Fringe Salon franchise co-founder, advises focusing on growth indicators, such as sales totals, average ticket, frequency of visits and the percent of new guests stylists are retaining.

“We meet one-on-one with stylists once a week, and follow a four-week rotation of discussing benchmarks, goal setting, techniques and career,” says Kanski. “Using software data to discuss goals, I stress that frequency of visits drives profits, and rebooking rates drive up frequency of visits.”

Focusing on the three Rs—rebook, retail and refer—Kanski creates rewards programs and promotions that will increase those numbers. For instance, stylists have frequency-of-visit goals. To get a seventimes- a-year client to visit eight times, he might offer an extra hair cut appointment for free, knowing that freebies always get clients to spend more once they’re in the chair. He also mines specific client data, such as who spends the most or who does not get the salon’s nail services.

“In Bloomington, our top 400 guests represent 80 percent of our revenues,” notes Kanski. “Incentives are best for loyal guests. Identify these clients and send them an offer; the payoff is huge. Sometimes, we send a text message to our top 400, offering double rewards points for a visit that day, as a way to drive immediate business.”

Tracking results is also important. When Kanski sent everyone whose birthday fell during a certain month a coupon for a freebie, he compared the cost of what he gave away to how much the offer generated in sales by simply having his software system track the ROI on that offer.

At Yoga for Everybody in Fairfield, Connecticut, General Manager Jennifer Jennings also focuses on retention rates and revenue. Her guests begin with a one month, unlimited-use offer and at the end of the month, she tracks who bought a new package, from 5 classes to a year-long membership.

“We also track individual instructor’s retention rates,” says Jennings. “If any guest has not been in for a while, we call them personally when possible, because it works better than an e-mail.” Justin Lehman, vice president of Jean Madeline, which also owns Adolf Biecker Salons and Spas and Jean Madeline Aveda Institutes in Philadelphia, says if you want usable numbers, you must define them when you set up the software. He categorized and defined each service, so that now, by simply checking off a few boxes, he can see who gets hair color but does not book spa services. How does he then cross-promote?

“Once I run a query, I send an e-blast for a dual-service booking,” says Lehman. “My vendor’s e-blast package sells separately but ties right into the software. I can upload any art and add links. Clients can share an offer on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and I can track it all.”

Lehman also looks at client history. He sends anyone who has not been in for 90 days a discount offer, e-mails special offers to clients whose stylist is returning from a long maternity leave and maximizes software use with staff coaching. Like Kanaski, he tracks retention, pre-booking rates, service and retail tickets, and new client averages by week and month. Stylists must meet eight of their 10 goals to get a price increase and the software tracks each one. Which matters most in his salon? “We’re pretty aggressive with pre-booking,” says Lehman. “It’s what keeps clients in the salon, so the goal is 75%.”

For a comprehensive look at all the software program’s available, check out the more extensive 2010 Software Guide.

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