Streamline Your Business with Studio Management Software
BY LISA WILGUS, OPERATIONS MANAGER, GRANITE BEAR DEVELOPMENT
You're still hand-writing customer files and orders . . .
having difficulty tracking what's at the lab . . . trying to find
time to implement those great marketing ideas you heard about at
last month's seminar. If you haven't already checked out some of
the studio management software products on the market, you might
want to do so now.
Consider some of the ways software can help you keep track of your business while you're on asignment:
- Streamline Customer/Prospect Lists
Minimize time and labor costs considerably by keeping all your prospects and customers in one detailed mailing list. The more sophisticated software products let you describe all customers and prospects with a business category-why are they coming into the studio; portraits, wedding, copy and restoration-and business type-children, bridal, family, seniors-enabling you to store valuable information you can use in a number of marketing projects.
Want the lowest cost marketing available today? Collect email addresses for all your customers and prospects. It's virtually free marketing!
- Which Ads Are Working?
We all want to know how certain advertising is working, which mailing was effective, is the Yellow Pages really bringing in customers, is that radio spot paying off? Software reports can simplify this process for you.
And how about getting that referral program off the ground? Build your referral list but don't bother using cards, clipboards, charts, or notepads to track it. Enter it in the Customer profile screen of your software program and forget it until you're ready to reward your customers for their referrals. It works great for senior rep programs!
- Meet Order Due Dates
On to another topic. How often do we hear the refrain: "Where is my order?" When I supervised production in my family's studio, the Due Date Report was run every Monday, listing orders due that week in order of the due date. Our staff would locate those orders and make sure each and every one was out in time or the customer was called. Now that's proactive customer service! We stayed three steps ahead of the competition!
- Control Your Cash Flow
Do you cash out your studio everyday and have total control over all the money that exchanges hands in the studio? The best reason to run cash reports is to balance out your receipts. How are you doing that now?
I've heard all the horror stories: "I don't run these reports because we keep a paper log of all transactions" . . . "We're a small studio and don't need this type of report" . . . "I never run reports, so I have no idea how much money I have."
What if you accidentally put a check into a customer's file and it gets filed away? Good-bye money! Or if a new employee says, "Hmmm, the owner is not keeping track of all the cash electronically so I can just pocket some. She will never know." And what about mistakes on payments? How will you ever know? Take control over your cash. You'll be glad you did.
- Remembering Big Days
Sometimes marketing can be as easy as remembering your client's birthday. We can take a lesson from one long-time user of Photo One Studio Management Software, by Granite Bear Development. Charlie and Barb Livingston, of East Providence, Rhode Island, ask for the birthday and wedding anniversary of every customer. Then each month, they send cards to clients quickly and easily. Their diligence has paid off tremendously.
- Recording and Confirming Appointments
Worried about putting your studio schedule on the computer? Are you attached to your paper appointment book? An electronic calendar can save you time and energy, and make everyday procedures easier. Customize your calendar in advance by designating appointment days, closed days, holidays, special days, then make changes easily on the fly.
On some software packages, the calendar is interactive with the
customer/prospect file. When the phone rings, just look up the
customer/prospect, confirm address and phone numbers, go to
calendar, choose a day, time, and appointment type then paste them
in with a mouse click!
Are you confirming your appointments? If not, you're giving away your time and money. If a one-hour appointment doesn't show up, and your average sale from that sitting would have been $500, you've just lost $500! An electronic calendar makes it easy. Just print out a Confirmation Report every day to make your calls, please your clients, and prevent lost revenue.
call (888) 428-2824, ext. 103.