Keeping a record of your clients' details is an essential part of running a successful salon business. Apart from contact details, information about hair colours, products used in beauty treatments and any known allergies ensure you offer a personal and safe service. There are a number of specialised salon software packages available for record keeping, but you can use the spreadsheet or database applications on Microsoft Office, which come as standard on most PCs.
Study Access and Excel before creating records. There are numerous book guides to these software packages, but if you have never used spreadsheet or database software before, enrolling in a course, or hiring a private tutor, could save you a lot of frustration. Excel is more suited to financial and inventory record keeping, while Access is suited to recording client names and contact details.
Decide what client information you want to store. Suggested categories are:
- Client name and address - Land line and mobile phone numbers - Email address for notification of special offers - Treatment history - dates and products used - Payment record
Jane Hiscock and Frances Lovett in the "Level 2 Beauty Therapy" book suggest keeping personal notes picked up during conversation with the client, such as birthday, or sensitive issues such as a recent bereavement. Checking these before a client arrives ensures you provide a more personalised service that encourages clients to return.
Set up columns for each information category you want to store. Start with separate columns for the names, addresses and other contact details. Putting them in separate columns means that for example you can use the email address data on its own for example. In Access you can merge the names and home address columns if you want to mail your clients.
Set up columns for other categories. For example, if you have a column for each of the services you offer, you can quickly discover which clients had facials in the last month. A payment record column enables you to understand your clients spending patterns.
Once you have mastered the system, its time to train your employees to use it. If the salon has a receptionist, it is logical to make information input her job. However, the beauty therapists need to learn how to access the client records prior to treatments. Include every staff member in training. Large salons may benefit from creating a written guide to the client record system: this is both a useful reminder for trained staff and a handy introduction for new employees.
Regularly back up your client record database. Microsoft recommends backing up data every time you add new information. Decide which security measures you need to take to protect your client information. Security measures include passwords, user permissions and read-only access. Consult an IT professional if you're unsure what is required.