The importance of a great receptionist

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The receptionist is usually the first person clients come into contact with, whether that is in the salon or on the phone, therefore they play a key role in creating that vital first impression.

gs4rE9mVTqILbmnNFd9petWSpcuegc2P941vb_lMDWUSteven Gunnip, Director of Salon Evolution, discusses why a great receptionist is a key investment for any salon.

Any salon business looking to make its mark needs to ensure it has an exemplary customer care policy in place from the start. Every client journey begins from the first point of contact, which is why a great receptionist or front of house is vital. Many salon owners believe that having a receptionist is an expense to the business they simply can’t afford; after all it’s hard to quantify how much revenue this role can bring.

I’m firmly of the belief, however, that no salon should operate without a front of house member of staff, and that every salon neglecting to employ someone in this role is missing a trick in terms of structure and success. One of the key factors in any successful salon business is maximising every second of time available in the best and most productive way possible. To enable this to happen, there needs to be structure in place across all departments and for every member of staff, particularly stylists and therapists, to have a clear idea of the activity scheduled for the day or week ahead, so they can move seamlessly from one client to the next.

A great receptionist ensures that everybody understands the role that they play in the working day and what is needed to ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the business, which in turn benefits staff and ensures maximum client satisfaction. Receptionists can keep no-shows to a minimum by calling every client before their visit and confirming or rearranging their appointment; ensuring that columns and time slots are filled, leaving no time of day unaccounted for every stylist or therapist; and be proactive in making sure that clients re-book their next appointment before they leave. All of these details bring money into the business that cannot be underestimated. A good front of house should be enthusiastic and resourceful, acting as a sales person, organiser, motivator and problem solver all rolled into one; a concierge for the salon staff and valued clientele.

A client’s personal taste and preference should be their forte; they should know every existing client by name as well as their likes and dislikes. A great receptionist will look at client notes before each person arrives to give an individual touch to the client experience. Noting down information the client mentioned when they last visited, things they liked and how they had their hair or treatment done, for example, can provide great points of conversation with each client upon their return, starting the visit with the client feeling appreciated and attended to. It is these little touches that all create a great client experience, setting a business apart from its competitors, and increasing the chances of repeat custom and client loyalty.

Staff running late or running over between appointments can often be an unavoidable part of salon life. When clients arrive for their appointment, it is important that they are made to feel at home right away and any time spent waiting is as enjoyable as can be. A good receptionist’s first port of call is always to be a friendly face with a positive greeting for every client who walks through the door. If a stylist or therapist is running behind, the front of house staff should ensure they feel welcome, are kept entertained and feel that their custom and time is valued, meaning that, from the word go, the client journey is a positive experience. At the end of the appointment, receptionists can build a further rapport with the client, asking them about the products used on their hair during their treatment and if they would like to take any away with them, leading to potential additional retail spend. This is also when clients can be asked if they would like to re-book another appointment – posing the question greatly heightens the chance of the client booking in for another time.

The receptionist can also recommend additional products or treatments that may suit the client’s needs and, as the receptionist will be the person that calls with a reminder about their appointment, this continuity builds up a relationship between the client and the salon as whole. The lack of a receptionist in a salon can leave the team feeling disorganised, not knowing which client is booked in when or with whom, leading to a feeling of frustration and a lack of confidence in procedures and processes. If a hairdresser or a beauty therapist is doing a great job, providing excellent treatments to a loyal client base, but they are  being let down through disorganisation, or their clients cannot book in with them at a convenient time because of poor time management, this can be disheartening, leaving them feeling that the great work is not being maximised.

A great receptionist is therefore an essential part of the effective running of a salon, both for management and staff in equal measure, and a great asset in retaining a happy and loyal customer base. Having a receptionist that acts as the eyes and ears of the business will not only pay for itself, but will actually go the extra mile in increasing business income as a whole, while having the added bonus of building a positive brand perception to both new and existing clients. “A good front of house should be enthusiastic and resourceful, acting as a sales person, organiser, motivator and problem solver all rolled into one”