Thoughts from Zenoti's CEO on what it takes to scale...
Some businesses like Amazon, Uber and Fed-Ex scale successfully, but most never do. The path to rapid, successful scale looks very different today than it did just a decade ago. What is it that successful brands do to achieve success? And, how can others replicate that success?
My company, Zenoti, is a software company that serves the wellness industry, specifically large spa and salon chains that are focused on expansion. Within this industry, I consistently see that the most successful companies are the ones that have made the move to a solution that enables a single point of truth. Even dominant players today who fail to adopt such an infrastructure are setting themselves up for being displaced by smaller rapidly growing organizations.
What is the single point of truth?
In the Spa Salon industry, for example, more often than not, businesses use multiple software systems cobbled together. Not only does this create a cumbersome and expensive ecosystem to manage, but data is duplicated and error-prone. As a result, the business ends up with challenges such as:
- Having duplicate customer records at different locations and therefore having no complete view of a consumer, therefore, being unable to deliver truly personalized experiences.
- Reports delivering different results to different individuals depending on where and how the report is being executed.
- Inability to run reports across the organization at any point in time and compare performance across locations and employees dynamically.
- Being unable to deliver a consistent consumer experience at every location, therefore, diminishing the value of the brand.
- Causing consumers not to be able to use their memberships, packages or gift cards purchased online or at one location across the network of all locations.
An enterprise software, on the other hand, is architected to support end-to-end workflows, reduce 3rd party technology integrations and capture data in a single repository. This single repository is what represents a Single Point of Truth and the data is both accurate and complete. Business leaders are empowered to fully understand the nuances of their business across many facets of their business.
As an enterprise level software, Zenoti functions from a single point of truth; this enables our clients with hundreds of outlets to:
- Store customer profiles centrally for a multi-location chain. This enables business to implement an omnichannel, customer engagement model
- Create single, integrated service menu that is consistent across the brand, while supporting variations in price and offerings at individual locations
- Handle and store all financial transactions across the network of spa and salons
- Drive and store results of all marketing initiatives and activities across the network
- Support a company-wide loyalty rewards program
- Leverage customer reviews and feedback across the entire network
- Provide omnichannel customer experiences and capture behavior into centralized system
- Run highly personalized marketing programs at scale
Single Point of Truth = Powerful Analytics
Armed with a single point of truth and an integrated IT infrastructure, the business has access to rich and meaningful data from every corner of the business, including employee performance, financial performance, customer behavior and much more. Businesses are able to answer the questions:
- Which outlets in a region are performing adequate revenue/sqft vs the average within that region
- Which regions need significant uplift to bring the average performance in that region on par with the rest of the network
- Recognizing and rewarding employees who have amazing execution in how they engage with customers
- Monitor customer experience/feedback across the network to see if there are regional trends
- Identify which services have poor feedback from consumers so that they can adapt rapidly to what the data tells them
- Based on data analysis, make intelligent decision on what specific step/improvement would increase margins
Personalization at scale
Companies like Uber, Netflix and Amazon have redefined what today’s customer expects from any business. Think about the Amazon experience that consistently delivers convenience and personalization. It’s a completely effortless experience for us as the customer.
That level of effortless experiences is quickly becoming the baseline expectation for customers in all their interactions, including those with bricks and mortar companies. One only has to look to the Starbucks experience to see just how bricks and mortar businesses are embracing the digital to enhance the customer experience.
Every business, across industries, will be expected to step up. In the wellness industry this means that customers will expect to effortlessly:
- Find a spa or salon location that is close by and available on demand or at their desired time
- Book appointments that meet their preferences, whether it is with a specific service provider or a provider with a certain expertise
- Pay for services from their phone, whether that is ahead of the visit, or without delay after the visit, and regardless of the payment vehicle (e.g. credit card, Apple Pay, loyalty points, etc…)
- Sign up and benefit from special programs, whether a membership or special package. The expectation is also that they can redeem the benefits at any location in the business’ network
- Check-in for their visit, or even be greeted as they walk in
- Change or add to their visit with services
The same applies to how technology should support staff. For example, employees should be able to:
- Be alerted when their guest walks in; the alert could be fully automated through technology like geo-fencing
- Provide seamless experiences for the guest, whether that includes making changes to their visit chairside via a mobile device or providing clean transitions from provider to provider
- Capture and retrieve guest preferences in order to provide a highly personal experience
A Single Point of Truth is the baseline requirement to enable such personalization. Most companies in the beauty and wellness industry simply don’t deliver on such a seamless experience for customers today. The risk, however, is that an opportunity is open for a new player to disrupt the current leaders.
Understanding Consumer Behavior
Improving the guest experience starts with being able to understand customer behavior. With a single point of truth, businesses are able to profile their customers and analyze their behavior. For spas and salons, this means that managers can:
- Monitor and set up alerts for their most loyal customers. When behavior changes, managers are alerted and know to ensure the customer is retained.
- Segment customers using a variety of criteria, like average spend or visit history to target marketing promotions with meaningful and relevant messages and promotions.
- Increase retail spend based on a customer’s spend patterns, visit goals, and even employee performance
- Fill the appointment book during off-peak hours by targeting customers based on things like their past visit times, motivation to loyalty program promotions, or sensitivity to price
Now that you have your Single Point of Truth, what’s next?
The biggest companies today all have heavy digital footprints. For the industry I serve, I see the next wave of successful wellness brands to be those that appreciate the changes in consumer expectations and invest in technology to meet the new demands.
I founded Zenoti with a desire to deliver a single integrated platform. This wasn’t merely to displace a variety of tools that I needed when running my own spa and salon chain. But rather, I saw an opportunity to create an enterprise system that met the demands of a growing business.
Zenoti is the software solution that I envisioned. With a single point of truth at the center, we’re able to help large-scale spa and salon chains deliver amazing guest experiences, drive growth and more easily run their business.