By George L. Koroneos Deciding what makes one technology more innovative than another is never an easy process. You have to look beyond the bells, whistles, and wow factor to determine if a solution is truly groundbreaking and will change the way VARs do business.
This year, VSR and the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) along with judges from Hospitality Technology magazine and RIS News pored over close to a hundred nominations in seven categories to find an elite few solutions worthy of our 4th Annual Innovative Solution Awards. Those that made a cut are revolutionizing the Channel with cutting edge technology while also making their clients’ businesses stronger and more efficient. VSR and RSPA present the innovation solutions of the year and the solution providers that made them possible.
IN-STORE CUSTOMER TOUCH POINT
Food for thought — Ninety-one percent of beauty salons are still independently owner operated, and every one of them needs a POS solution to handle the backend. Enter MIKAL, a solution provider that focuses on the niche salon and day spa market. The company making a name for itself with CyberPreceptionist, a software program designed to let clients and employees easily book appointments and manage customers using a tablet device.
Van Michaels Salons, located in Buckhead, Georgia, was one of the first clients to run CyberPreceptionist in a cloud environment.
“They had acquired iPads and wanted to figure out how to run MIKAL’s traditional SaaS program on the tablets,” MIKAL, CEO Fred Dengler says. “We went back to basics with them and asked them how to interact with their customers in order to determine what must be included as part of a tablet app.”
With that info in hand, MIKAL created a tablet app that allows the front desk receptionist in a salon or day spa to become mobile, handling client check-in, check-out, updates to client tech and personal information, and checking on real-time activity in the front of the salon, like number of clients waiting, bookings to date or cancellations. It increases client service exponentially. CyberPreceptionist was conceived to reduce bottlenecks, eliminate wait times, personalize service, and upsell.
The tablet acts like a control center, allowing the employee to shoot silent pages to stylists to let them know that new clients have arrived, send a message to the front desk to let the cashier know when a customer is ready to pay and leave, and book future appointments.