If you happened to be watching Channel 4’s rather enjoyable ‘The Hotel’ over the Christmas break, you’d have seen a situation occur that you might have come across before.
The hotel owner proudly boasted that the hotel bookings were all made manually in a well-worn book, using “lots of coloured pens and lots of tippex”. Why was he so proud of his archaic system? Because, in his own words “we never have to say ‘sorry, we can’t book your room because the system is down’ or ‘please wait while we update our system'”.
The reason why he was defending the practice of a scribbled on paper pad?
Because he’d just overbooked one of the guest rooms for a wedding party, much to the anguish of the bride-to-be, and had no clue how to rectify the situation.
If the hotel had a computerised booking system, they wouldn’t have needed to worry about situations such as overbooked appointments, as their system would have alerted them to their mistake.
We’ve heard a lot of common concerns when computerising your business, and in most instances they’re generally unfounded.
The Main Myths – Busted!
The computer will crash and we’ll lose all of our information!
How easy would it be to take a copy of a thick, heavy paper appointment book? Or worse still, the reams and reams of client files that you have stored away?
There’s a number of simple, quick ways of making a copy of your data these days, whether that be backing up over the internet or onto one of the inexpensive portable USB drives available almost everywhere these days. It’s a great relief for most people to know that, should the worst happen and the computer be stolen or damaged, all the information can be brought back almost instantly – unlike a hefty, manually written appointment book.
We’ll make mistakes on a computerised system
I’ve seen manual systems before, where receipts are stapled to client cards to prove purchases, and numbers of courses are scribbled on in pencil or changed under layer after layer of tippex.
No matter how good your staff are at keeping records, it’s easy to be sidetracked from updating information correctly by a ringing phone or a client who needs attention, and this inevitably leads to mistakes which are then hard to find.
Most computerised systems verify information as you enter it (Can I book appointment a with staff member b in room c? Is the equipment needed available at that time? Does the client have a course of this treatment?), and even in the instance of a mistake being made it’s much easier to spot within a dedicated software package.
Our manual system is quicker / easier to use
Computers are everywhere these days, from the usual desktop machines to laptops, netbooks, tablets (like the iPad) and even mobile phones, and because of this nearly everybody is at least comfortable using a mouse and a keyboard.
Now, when making a booking, you don’t have to worry about availability of staff, rooms or equipment. You don’t have to manually count up receipts at the end of the day to see what’s gone through the till, or pore over sheets and sheets of a book to try and add up how many hours your staff have worked. Stock is automatically deducted, ordered and tracked in the system.
In short, rather than trying to consolidate shreds of paper and ten different styles of handwriting, you can get on with running your business.