Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Entry

Okay okay okay. I get it. I need to post my entry here so you can read it. Sheesh. Ya'all are a demanding bunch. And to think, I actually started writing here, you know, for me. Now my legions of adoring fans have become like Britney's paparazzi. All two of you.

Here's my entry. I blanked the name of the company who sponsored the competition because, well, because I wanted to. I can't give everything away, you know.

Why does your salon/spa deserve a technology makeover?
Our spa is the technological equivalent of the VCR that flashes 12:00. We’re outdated and can’t even set the clock.

We are an incredibly successful spa despite our technology, certainly not because of it. Imagine what we might accomplish with the power of ____. Every single department, every single person, could work better and more efficiently with ____. Jobs would be easier, clients would be happier, and our company would be profitable.

We have three locations, and our current software (I use “software” liberally), doesn’t allow us to integrate the three locations. They all stand alone (much like the cheese). When clients call one location and we can’t schedule them, we have to (gasp!) tell them to hang up and call one of our other locations. This, obviously, is not good customer service. Booking multiple appointments for multiple clients becomes an exercise in futility for all but the most experienced of spa coordinators. Looking up data for different locations involves a complicated scheme of logging in and out of various systems using a myriad of IDs and passwords. By the time you get in, you don’t remember why you went in the first place.

Remember the television show Get Smart? All those doors Maxwell Smart had to go through? Our data is behind those doors, and we don’t have keys, combinations, or crowbars to get to it. We have tons of great client data locked up in our system, and we can’t get to it. In fact, no one can. Not even the people who wrote the software. Ironic, eh? Reports are skewed and inaccurate, causing enormous amounts of time in manually checking each record, just to do a simple mailing. Same for product control. Inventory is crazy; our purchaser counts products and literally runs from the retail area to her computer, yelling, “Don’t sell anything! Don’t sell anything!” along the way. This, obviously, is not conducive to increasing sales. A small price adjustment involves detailed planning, sleepless nights and early mornings, multiplied times three.

One of our goals this year has been to really monitor the performance of our service providers. Currently, we can’t without a ton of manual work. Reports are bulky and inaccurate, and many common metrics are missing altogether. Twice a month, our General Managers spend valuable time manually calculating payroll instead of developing their staff and networking in the community. For a spa of our size (155 employees), we really need something that will help us work smarter, not harder.

Hardware is another issue entirely. Just as an example, I, as marketing director, spend a lot of time fixing things like frozen screens and jammed printers. In fact, after this I’m tempted to dig into my own broken CD drive.

I became familiar with ____ last year at TSA and have been salivating for it ever since. Heck, if we win this, I’ll personally wear one of those nifty ____ football jerseys from TSA last year and run through the spa yelling, “Go ____!”

Note: The fine folks who awarded me the prize yesterday said they're putting my jersey in the mail.


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