Best Practices to Reduce Stress During Busy Season
We all know what a lucrative time of year “busy season” can be, but with that can often come a certain level of stress. Reflecting on past busy seasons, use what you’ve learned along the way. This experience coupled with a little bit of preparation will surely help to ease some of the anxiety that you and your staff may feel at this time of year.
Create a Calendar
Although it might sound trivial, creating a calendar ahead of time will prove to be a valuable resource. You can schedule everything out from the promotions that you will offer, to the sales goals that you would like the salon to achieve within specific time periods, to the different marketing initiatives that you will run. A calendar that is readily visible, not just by you, but by your staff as well will help to keep everyone on task.
Speaking of your staff – do you plan to hire temporary employees? Regardless if they are veteran employees, or those hired specifically as seasonal employees, a key to your salon’s success at this time of year will be having a well-trained team. A quick to learn and easy to use software program that can automate tasks for your staff will undoubtedly turn out to be one of your biggest assets.
Preconfigure Promotions and Specials
Now is a perfect time to determine if you are able to preconfigure within your software the specials that you want to run during specific date ranges throughout the upcoming months. When completing this back office type configuration ahead of time, don’t forget to reference that calendar that you created! And for those product-related promotions such as a buy-one-get-one half off, make sure that you are able to setup re-order points and quantities for your inventory items so that you don’t risk running out of stock.
Electronic Forms for New Customers
You will likely have first-time clients that will walk into your salon during busy season, so make sure that you are able to electronically collect their demographic information, email address and cell phone number along with their preferred method of contact. Creating a positive experience in the salon during the first visit, and marketing to these customers to follow, will result in turning a large percentage of these clients into repeat customers.
Providing automation of tasks, and arming your staff with information throughout every transaction that they process will ensure efficiency at the time of year when it’s most needed. Does your salon management system give you the ability to display descriptions of products and equipment so that your employees have the details needed to upsell lotions or upgrades? Does it allow you to outline policies for each of your levels of EFT memberships, and automatically calculate first draw dates and prorated dues?
Educating customers about tanning smartly is imperative – are you able to setup high-intensity warning messages for equipment that has just been re-lamped? Can you setup regulations in terms of the minimum age to tan and the time that must elapse between tanning sessions? How about creating recommended exposure schedules for each of your equipment types? Anything that you can do to automate your employees’ tasks will be a win-win for everyone!
Aside from software, you will also want to make sure that you have the proper hardware in place prior to the start of busy season. Now is a good time to consider what kind of peripherals you can implement to ensure that sales are processed quickly and efficiently. If you don’t already have a barcode scanner connected to your POS system to scan inventory items rather than searching for products manually, you may want to invest in one. Perhaps you would like to minimize the time that it takes to print EFT membership contracts?
A great solution is to add a signature pad so that customers can sign the document electronically and then have a copy emailed to them through your software program. The best part is that you will save on ink and paper too! Do you want decrease the line size at your front counter? Adding a kiosk to your salon will allow you to do just that as new clients can enter their demographic information on their own, and existing clients can check themselves into tan using the active service on their account, saving time for everyone.
It’s also a good idea to take a peek at your reports from last year’s busy season. Were there particular equipment types that were used extensively that created wait lists? If so, you may want to look at adding another piece of equipment to your mix. Be sure to reference your current lamp usage within your software for all of your tanning beds as well, so that you know ahead of time if any of them will need to be re-lamped in order to gear up for busy season.
You knew it was coming, it happens every year around the same time, but for some reason it can catch you unprepared…. Don’t let this happen to you this busy season, especially if you have the tools in place to allow you to knock this season out of the park!
Pulling from this article, the most vital aspects from a software perspective are as follows:
- Preconfiguring (and testing ahead of time) promotions and specials that will be run during busy season specifically
- Analyzing data from previous year’s busy season to ensure that you have the right equipment mix, proper staffing, sufficient inventory on hand, etc.
- Automating tasks for efficiency and arming staff with information (i.e. sales descriptions, equipment info)
- Ability to electronically collect data (i.e. demographic info, marketing preferences) on new customers seen during season, and to market to them to create repeat customers
Melissa Damiani is the Sales Manager of SunLync Software, Inc., a Member of the JK-North America group of companies. With the company since 2002, Melissa has served in several different capacities within the organization, and has extensive knowledge of all aspects required to develop robust salon management software solutions that are designed to enable measurable growth within its users’ ever-evolving business models. Earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Science from St. Bonaventure University, Melissa is dedicated to the innovative progression of highly scalable product lines and vast service offerings, in conjunction with the delivery of superior customer service, to ensure continued prosperity within SunLync’s valued customers’ businesses.
For more information about software management solutions within your salon or business visit www.sunlync.com or call 1-866-SUN-LYNC