It doesn’t matter how fabulous your haircuts and treatments are, your customers receive their first impression of your salon from how well you run your reception desk. That means your salon reception should always look as professional and welcoming as possible, and that you shouldn’t overlook its potential as an extra selling point for your business. How do you do that? It’s simple! Here are our five top tips for giving your customers the perfect front-of-house experience…
Choose the Right Receptionist
Here are some recent statistics describing why customers decide to leave their hair salon:
53% - because they don’t feel appreciated
42% - because the staff were rude or unhelpful
29% - because they’re uncomfortable with the staff’s lack of knowledge
…and that’s why it’s crucial to recruit the right receptionist.
Your receptionist should have first-class people skills, excellent organisational abilities (don’t forget that they’re not just meeting-and-greeting, they’re keeping your front-of-house systems working as well) and the willingness to go the extra mile whenever it’s required. When your receptionist realises how important they are to the success of the salon, they’ll rise to the challenge – especially if you take time to develop their skills and show them this is a viable career path, not just an easy stop-gap before they move on to something else. Once your reception team sees you believe in them and value their abilities, the positive way they feel will be communicated to every customer they deal with. It’s a win-win situation.
Clients can sometimes feel intimidated when they walk into a salon, and you’ve no idea about the kind of day they’ve had before they arrive. That’s why it’s so important that the first person they meet – your salon receptionist – is friendly, polite and welcoming and does whatever they can to put the client at their ease – taking their coat, showing them where to sit and offering them refreshment. They should also double-check the client’s appointment just in case there have been any mix-ups, and if the stylist is running late with their current customer, they should let the client know roughly how long they’ll have to wait.
Most appointments will be made over the telephone, so your reception staff should have an excellent telephone manner. It doesn’t matter how busy or frustrating their day has been, putting on a smile as they answer the call will always lift their voice and make them sound more welcoming. They should also be knowledgeable about all the cuts and services your salon has to offer so that they can answer any questions without passing the phone over to another colleague. If your receptionist can’t answer questions about your salon treatments, that won’t fill your prospective customer full of confidence.
Finally, after your receptionist has taken the booking, they should always repeat the details of the treatment, time and date back to the client to double-check everything is correct. They should also take a contact number in case you need to get hold of the client before they come in.
Don’t Be Afraid to Sell
It’s easy to think that all a receptionist does is answer the phone and keep the newly-arrived clients happy. But a skilled receptionist is a valuable front-line salesperson who can make a hugely positive impact on your business by hooking new clients and encouraging clients to rebook their next appointment before they leave your salon, as well as up-selling products, gift cards and in-house promotional offers the stylist might not have had time to mention. They can also encourage customers to leave online reviews and recommend your salon to their friends.
For all these reasons, it’s essential that your front-of-house team is equipped with the soft sales skills and product knowledge to up-sell your business, improve your retail profits and charm your happy clients into passing on the good word.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of a Dedicated Receptionist
Some smaller salon owners might argue they can’t afford a dedicated receptionist, but that’s an attitude which could be costing them a lot of money. Just think about it – if your stylists are running backwards and forwards from their workstations to the reception desk to answer the phone, what message is that really sending to anybody? The client in their chair will feel upset and ignored and probably won’t come back again, and the prospective client on the phone will either ring off before the stylist can answer or have a distinct impression, when they hear the stylist’s voice, that they’ve been caught in the middle of doing something else. Neither of those scenarios is good for your business.
Not only that, but it’s possible for a skilled receptionist to generate their own revenue for your business by a) using your salon’s text and social media to drum up appointments with existing clients during periods when you anticipate business is going to be quiet, and b) operating a standby bookings system from the front desk, to help plug the gaps whenever last-minute cancellations arise. Those kinds of cancellations can cost your business a lot of money over the course of a year, so if your receptionist can cover even a small percentage of them, they’ll have more than earned their keep.
The bottom line is, when your reception works perfectly your existing clients will keep returning, new clients will keep coming in, and you could even make plenty of additional sales before any of them have walked back out the door. That’s why giving your clients the perfect reception is so important and, hopefully, the advice we’ve shared will go a long way towards making that happen!