After years forced to prep for weeks with reports, compiling data and handwritten notes into their business plan, Tangerine Salon made the switch to Aura.
What does switching to Aura look like for a salon? As many salon owners know, reporting and organizing profits, analyzing sales, payroll and everything else needed to run a business across multiple locations can be exhausting. Tangerine Salon, known for their award-winning service in five locations across Texas as well as being the trusted salon of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, tried multiple programs such as STX and Zenoti to cultivate annual reports and streamline loyalty systems. While all systems provide value in their own way, co-founder and owner Brandon Hensley, and his general manager, Lauren Radoncic, seemed to be always forcing their software to fit their specific needs or worse, gathering the information by hand. Dreaming of a better way to make their business run smoother, they began searching for an alternative by switching to Aura.
After switching to Aura, they noticed multiple improvements that they shared with us.
After testing other salon software, switching to Aura provided something that the others didn’t: simplicity.
In the past 2 years they made two major switches; first from STX which they had been with for around 15 years to Zenoti and finally to Aura. “When we were with Zenoti, I never opened it. It’s just that I didn’t need to, because it didn’t help me as an owner.” Not seeing the benefits of the software and getting overwhelmed with bells and whistles, Hensley waited for his general manager, Radoncic, to compile everything together as they had done previously.
Since switching to Aura, things have gotten simpler at Tangerine Salon. Hensley now has all the information needed for any of their locations in just one click on Aura. He no longer needs to wait for their yearly meetings to see how his business is running. “I can pull up a providers name and see their average service ticket versus their average retail ticket. I can see all of this information right at my fingertips that we’ve never experienced before. When we were STX, we never had anything like that.”
“I can’t say enough about the dashboard, I think it’s amazing. I think how they’re organized is great. You can [view comprehensive large records] across all locations, or small [limiting] to one service provider,” Radoncic excitedly shares.
Saving time is one of the biggest differences with Aura. “Something I think that’s been amazing is the payroll function,” Radoncic explains. “Being able to pull all the locations into one payroll report is revolutionary. We used to go by location. It took forever, but now I just peek at it.”
“You don’t need to be thinking about your software. You need to be thinking about your business and your people.”
2. Data Migration with Ease
Switching software is difficult, and relearning a new software is even more difficult. Because of this, Aura makes switching software and data migration an easy and simple process.
Originally Tangerine Salon left STX after roughly 15 years to try Zenoti and found the experience of transferring their data less than ideal. “STX doesn’t export their PDFs, [so we’re] copying and pasting. So that was a very messy experience that took three months to complete and then weeks of training. Even when we were onboarded [with Zenoti], I’m not sure anybody truly understood the entire software just because you’re just so overwhelmed with how massive it was,” Radoncic shares. “It is complicated. I think that’s great for really big companies with lots and lots of locations. But with us, we needed something much simpler.”
Aura helps get your information over quickly. “I would say that switching to Aura from Zenoti was night and day,” Radoncic continues. “I want to say it took three days to download our information and upload it into the [Aura] software. It was all correct. Appointments moved over, contact information moved over. There’s just no comparison there. It was seamless.”
3. Training is simple
Training on a new platform can be frustrating, which is why Tangerine Salon was so glad to have a little extra help when learning Aura.
In that first week, Radoncic explains they were clicking on the life raft support feature just about once an hour to be sure they were doing everything correctly. They got the hang of it quickly.
“We don’t really even need a training manual the way we used to, because we can just [click] that life raft and go over a certain page. There’s also training videos, so that’s taken away a lot of backend stuff that we were going to have to create when switching to Aura, because it’s already made for us. So that feature is also amazing,” gushes Radoncic. “…we got really great feedback from the providers, too, from the transition just because of how many more tools they had at their disposal versus just being able to see kind of a snapshot of the day.”
4. Loyalty Programs that Customers and Owners Love
Aura knows that customers love loyalty programs, so Aura made one that both customers and owners love.
“The loyalty program was huge for us with switching to Aura, because we had a third-party loyalty point service we used with STX. And when we moved into Zenoti, we integrated into their program and it was emotional for guests. They felt like they were losing something, or something was changing for them. They had maybe been working towards a goal that wasn’t available anymore,” Radoncic explains. “We did not want to do that again because we had experienced the negatives of that before.”
Aura streamlined their loyalty program and built a similar system to what Tangerine Salon already had in place to make that transition easier for their existing clientele. Plus, their existing points moved over to the new system, so they didn’t lose out on what they already acquired by being loyal customers. Since switching to Aura, “we haven’t had any conversations about loyalty points, which is kind of amazing.”
“Really, it’s game changing for our referral system. We had one in Zenoti and it worked all right. But I mean, this is next level.”
“The biggest difference is working with a company that listens to our needs.”
5. Assistance Every Step of the Way
Relationships are important in a business setting, That is why with Aura, assistance is available whenever, wherever.
“Relationships are a big deal,” explains Hensley. “And I never had that with a software company before. Everybody that I’ve talked to, Sarah Cooper, Jean, Olivia, we’ve built a relationship. And I really appreciate that part of it. I never had that before.” Hensley explains, while sharing the benefits of meeting face-to-face and even enjoying a meal with the Aura team.
“Zenoti is great, but they’re a really big company. After four-week onboarding was finished they wanted to start charging us for the phone calls or the training sessions.” explains Radoncic.
“Zenoti and STX didn’t want our feedback. But what I’ve seen from Aura is the desire to take our experience. In some instances we’d suggest something and it’s built that day, the next week, or it’s coming,” shares Hensley. “I think we’re on week six or seven with Aura. I have a conversation with Olivia or Jean on a weekly basis. They answer and they text back and that’s really been helpful. Y’know, even if it’s not perfect, they’re sitting there helping us work through the best solution and that’s very different. That’s been probably the most impressive thing to me is [Aura’s] ability and willingness to want to learn from us in order to make the software that works.”
“I mean, literally every day Aura’s becoming more perfect for us. So, I do think that the end of the day that we’re going to finally have everything we need because [Aura is] willing to do that.”
“The change is scary, but the end is great”
Tangerine Salon’s Final Thoughts on Switching to Aura
Radoncic acknowledges that change is necessary whenever you’re switching systems. Most business owners worry about losing something they had with their old system, focusing on a specific report found in one spot or a system in place to check out a ticket.
“They made those policies because that’s what their current software did. I just tell them it’s scary to do anything different. So it is scary to leave the only software you’ve ever used. We did it, and it was a tough time. You know, there is a time where you’re refreshed by it or you change your policies. You find that maybe your old procedures were costing you money in some ways.
“So, a lot of the times when I’m talking to these salon owners, they want to know: ‘OK, well, I pulled this report. What report does Aura have?’ I’m like, ‘just forget about that report. That’s not a report you’re going to need going forward because you’re going to have all of this instead.’ I am reminding everybody that even though it’s different doesn’t make it bad. And the change is scary. But in the end it’s great!”