Switching To New Salon Management Software [Complete Guide] | STX Software

Switching to New Salon Management Software [A Guide for Salon Managers]

Switching To New Salon Management Software

Choosing the right software is essential if you want to build a thriving, successful salon business. The right software will improve your business operations, increase productivity, and boost your revenue. If your current software isn’t up to the task, it’s time to find a better fit.

Key Takeaways

  1. The process of transitioning to a new software involves researching available options, planning and preparation, implementation, staff training, and utilizing ongoing support.
  2. Some of the benefits of choosing an all-in-one software include a better experience for all users, task automation, and access to built-in tools that drive business strategy and growth.
  3. While there may be some challenges during the transition phase, implementing a better software can ultimately fill more chairs and make your business easier to manage.

How to Switch to New Salon Management Software

You can easily switch to a new salon system by taking time to plan your transition. With planning and preparation, the transition will go smoothly for you, your employees, and your customers—and with minimal business disruption.

Consider Your Requirements

Before you start looking for a better salon or spa software, consider your needs and identify the key features that will provide the best solutions. For example, do you need built-in marketing tools and business reporting that will help you grow your business?

Perhaps you need a better, integrated payment processor with lower fees; a more sophisticated employee app; or client management features.

If you feel like your software is lacking features that truly support salon management, it likely wasn’t created by people who are industry professionals themselves and informed by feedback from current salon owners. Note the limitations of your current software and where you’d like to see improvements.

Finally, set your budget and determine your timeline for switching to better salon software.

Research Your Salon Software Options

When you want to make a switch, it’s important that the salon software you select is the best fit for your business’s unique needs. If you plan to invest time and money into finding a new software system, you want to be certain that it will solve the challenges you’re currently facing. Use this checklist of things to consider when you’re researching salon software:

  • Does the software have the features you need?
    • Seamless online booking, appointment reminders, automated marketing campaigns, and payroll processing are essential tools for increasing productivity and efficiency at your salon.
  • Is there an integration with payment processing?
    • Integrated payment processing will make client billing effortless and provide digital records of all revenue.
  • Can you transfer your data?
    • Manual entry could lead to the loss of valuable business or client data. It will save you a lot of time if you can transfer all of your current data into your new system.
  • What kind of supports will you receive?
    • Customer support is crucial when you’re onboarding to a new system. Inspire by STX offers fast, direct customer support by phone, live web chat, and email.
  • Are there onboarding and training materials?
    • Inspire will assist you with onboarding and has an extensive library of on-demand tutorials and webinars.
  • How much does the software cost?
    • STX software offers a variety of monthly subscription plans to fit the needs of any size business, including a multi-location enterprise.

Get Buy-In From Your Employees

Make sure and involve your team in the decision-making process. They’ll be using and relying on the software as well: processing payments for client services or retail sales, managing client cards, monitoring appointment scheduling, etc.

Explain to your staff the benefits of switching to a new system and how it can simplify and improve their work tasks (automation, higher productivity, better efficiency). They may bring up concerns. If that happens, address the concerns and note any questions to ask the software company if you don’t have the answers at hand.

When you make the switch, provide employee training and support to help them adapt to the new software and gain confidence. Let them know how to access customer support channels.

Plan the Transition

Planning the transition before you switch software will ensure a smooth process. Decide who will be involved in making the transition. If you’re a multi-location business, consider selecting a single project manager who will oversee location-specific point people. This will reduce communication confusion.

Pick your planned go-live date. Avoid switching your salon software during the busy season when things are already hectic. Multi-location businesses, or complex integrations, will want to build in some additional buffer time in case the transition takes longer than expected.

Have additional support lined up to help staff keep things running smoothly at your beauty salon. Also have them available to help customers who might try to make an appointment while the new booking system is being installed.

Migrate Your Data

Protect your valuable business data before you switch your salon or spa software system. Export your existing customer data, appointment schedules, vendor and inventory information to backup storage.

Ensure that your data is formatted correctly to be imported into the new software. If you are unsure about the correct format, contact customer support to verify before you begin the process.

Always build in some extra time for data cleanup or adjustments. It’s better to plan ahead to have this extra time to wrap things up. Then you can launch the system with confidence knowing that all users will have an excellent experience.

Set Up Your New Software

When it’s time to set up your salon software system, start by importing your data. When your data migration is complete, test its functionality. Review client data, gift card balances, retail inventory and products, booked appointments, and salon memberships.

Take advantage of the onboarding services offered by your software provider. Set up all available features and test the software integrations. Perform some sample tasks to ensure your software operates as expected.

Once you’re up and running in the system, update your salon branding. Customize your new online store with your brand’s unique colors and logos. Tailor your appointment reminders, email lists, and other marketing tools.

Train Your Staff and Tell Your Customers

After you’ve tested the system yourself and confirmed that everything is running smoothly, it’s time to unveil it to your staff and customers. This is an exciting stage, but some new users might be nervous about the change. Be patient and ready to answer questions.

Have a training day with your staff where you walk them through the software. Don’t try to train them on the fly while business is open. Conduct practice runs during the training until everyone is comfortable using the system.

Let your customers know that the change is coming, but wait until the staff is trained to open the system up to clients. Use signage, social media, and your email lists to spread the word.

Encourage them to download the new app, explain changes to payments or appointment scheduling, and welcome questions.

Go Live!

If you use this guide to plan ahead for a smooth transition, you’ll minimize disruptions to your business operations. Your employees will be less stressed and your customers will be impressed by the seamless transition. Your salon’s revenue and profitability will be stable during the changeover period, reducing your stress as well.

Even so, it’s a good idea to have a two to three months overlap between your previous software and the new one. In the event that there are unforeseen circumstances and the software doesn’t install correctly or there are issues with your data migration, you can rely on your previous system to keep your business running while you work out the kinks with the help of customer support.

Stay On Top of Ongoing Support and Maintenance

Your software subscription will come with support resources and training materials. Use these to gain as much knowledge as you can about your chosen software. Take advantage of all of the tools it offers you. All-in-one, cloud-based software offers powerful business advantages but only if it’s fully utilized.

Keep your software up-to-date to maintain optimal performance. Delaying updates can cause system slowdowns, security issues, or other negative impacts on your business. If updates cause any issues or concerns, contact your customer support team for assistance.

When to Switch to a New Salon Management Tool

Salon owners typically consider switching to a new salon management software when their current system is impeding business progress. There are some key things to look at if you’re thinking it might be time to make a switch.

To run your salon business effectively, your software solution needs these key features: automated marketing, employee goal setting, a convenient mobile app, online booking, fast checkout, gift card processing, client management tools, and inventory support.

If any of these features are missing, your salon is at a disadvantage.

If your software is not user-friendly, does not come with multiple channels for customer support, or is too expensive for what it offers, it’s high time to switch.

Salon software that is not clearly developed for salon owners and managers often doesn’t meet the needs of today’s busy salons. You can identify these platforms by their generic features that require workarounds to perform critical salon operations.

If the software you’re using is outdated and has no new features, it’s time to move to something new.

Further, older software is more at risk of security issues. Security should be a high priority when evaluating your software, since you are responsible for client data in your system.

Benefits of Switching to Software That Fits Your Business

Switching to a salon management software that truly fits your business will benefit you, your staff, and your customers.

Choosing an all-in-one small business solution will make it easier for you to manage your business, and it will give you back more time in your day. It will also help you grow your salon business with integrated marketing tools.

There are robust features that will help you and your stylists fill more chairs and goal setting features to help employees boost sales. You’ll be able to easily keep track of every aspect of your business when it’s all contained in one program. And you can save significant money with reduced payment processing fees.

Your salon staff and customers will enjoy a better overall experience when you choose an all-in-one software solution.

Employees will appreciate task automation that saves them time that could be spent providing services or building customer relationships. Your clients will love the convenience of keeping a card on file for fast checkout, online booking, and helpful appointment reminders.

Common Challenges When Switching Salon Software

Transitioning to new salon software can feel overwhelming. It’s a big task, with a big impact on your business, so you want to feel confident in your decision and in your choice of software.

During the transition itself, your business will have some downtime while you train employees—and you’ll have some extra work on your plate. The best way to counter this effectively is to plan your transition well and prepare in advance for each step of the process. This will ensure things go as smoothly as possible and keep downtime to a minimum.

You may encounter some reluctance among your employees to learn an entirely new system. Let them know that while there is a little bit of upfront work to learn the system, in the end it will benefit them greatly by making many of their tasks easier—or even automating them.

The cost of switching may be daunting, but it’s an investment in your business. And with a trusted, industry-specific software that has marketing tools and advanced business reporting, you should be able to increase sales and business to recoup the cost.

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