National Receptionists’ Day is celebrated internationally on the second Wednesday of May every year. Its aim is to recognise and appreciate the contribution that receptionists make to the success of a business. Do you appreciate your salon or barbershop front-of-house team? And how can you help them make the most of their role and make a real difference to your bottom line?
This blog post covers:
- The importance of excellent reception skills
- Setting the scene
- Tips for successful reception design
- The ‘less is more’ rule
- Member case study
- Ensuring a warm welcome
- Those all-important touches
- Selling at your salon reception
- Organising appointments to reduce wasted time
- Saying goodbye
- Dealing with complaints
- Rewarding your receptionist
Reception skills can make or break the customer experience, says Trade Member Angela Bartlett, managing director of Hidden Beauty Ltd.
“Whatever the size of your salon or barbershop, possibly the most important area of your business is the reception, both in terms of its physical appearance and the welcome it offers to clients.
“Front of house staff must be trained to ensure that the first point of contact with a client is nothing short of excellent,” says Angela.
Your reception sets the scene for the client experience and should be the transitional area from the hustle and bustle of the outside world into the comfort of your salon where your client is happy to spend time.
“However, in many salons the reception is often very near the front door which can be draughty and an uncomfortable place to sit, especially in winter,” says Angela. “To address this, see if you can re-think your reception space to give it a comfortable and inviting ambience.”
Your reception is the first point of contact for your clients so it’s important to get the design right. You will need to consider the following:
• The type of lighting that will work best for the ‘mood’ you want to create.
• The shape and size of your reception desk.
• How much storage space you’ll need to reduce clutter in your reception area.
• The style of seating for your waiting area.
• Any special design touches you may wish to add to your reception area.
Unless you have a very large or extremely busy business the ‘less is more’ rule will apply when it comes to reception staff.
“It can be very disconcerting for clients and potential clients to be faced by too many staff at reception,” says Angela. “This can be intimidating and off-putting for clients, especially if it is their first time in the salon.”
“Staff demeanour at reception is critical and nothing makes a client feel more welcome than a warm and friendly smile,” says Angela Bartlett of Hidden Beauty Ltd.
“Make sure your front-of-house staff make immediate eye contact with clients as soon as they enter your salon or barbershop. This is the beginning of the client journey and the first impression will often be the one they take away with them.”
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Attention to detail can make a big difference in your reception area:
• Have fresh flowers and a bowl of sweets on your reception desk.
• Offer good quality snacks and drinks.
• Make sure you have a wide range of up-to-date magazines and newspapers that are suitable for both female and male clients.
• Have colouring-in sheets and a range of suitable books and magazines if children visit your salon or barbershop. This will keep them entertained while waiting.
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Ensure your receptionist understands the range of products your salon or barbershop sells and the benefits they offer. If they know which products were used during an appointment they will also be in a good position to encourage your clients to buy them for use at home between appointments.
Keep a basket of irresistible impulse buys topped up at reception. These can be smaller items such as travel products or handbag essentials. Make sure they’re clearly priced so clients can buy with confidence. You can also gift wrap a few to provide easy last-minute present ideas for busy clients.
Your receptionist can also help to sell gift cards to clients and promote your ‘recommend a friend’ scheme to encourage new clients into your salon or barbershop.
Make sure your receptionist understands the importance of using as much appointment time as possible. Lots of 15 or 30-minute gaps between appointments will add up to a significant amount of lost income over a year.
Your receptionist should be as skilled at saying goodbye as they are at welcoming your clients into the salon.
Make sure your clients are not rushed out of the door at the end of their appointments. Your receptionist should ask if your client is happy with everything before asking for payment. They should also encourage your client to make their next appointment before leaving (no harm in mentioning that slots are already getting booked up), and make sure your clients know about any special offers or discounts they may be entitled to.
Your receptionist can also encourage your clients to leave positive online reviews, recommend a friend, and follow your social media accounts.
Make sure your receptionist is familiar with your complaints policy and knows how to react if one of your clients complains at the end of their appointment.
Make sure you appreciate the contribution your receptionist makes to the success of your business. You could set up a bonus scheme to reward them for meeting certain targets, for example, reducing wasted appointment time, securing repeat appointments, and retail sales.
• Your front-of-house staff can make a huge difference to your bottom line.
• Make sure you train your receptionist properly and they know what’s expected of them.
• Create an attractive and welcoming reception area.
• ‘Less is more’ – don’t have too many staff at reception.
• Ensure a warm welcome with a smile and good eye contact.
• Pay attention to detail with small touches that make a big difference.
• Recognise and reward your receptionist’s contribution to boosting your bottom line, for example, increasing retail sales and efficient use of appointment slots.
• Make sure they know how to react to complaints.
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