Are your front desk systems firing on all cylinders?

August 31, 2012 | By Eric Ducoff | 1 Comment

It’s a scenario most of us have lived out hundreds of times: Coffee in hand, we unlock the front door to the salon/spa and walk straight past the front desk as we settle in to begin our daily duties as owners, managers, leaders, etc.

But lets stop right there and back up a few steps — keep going until you get back to the front desk. Now, take a minute to think about your front desk. Not the physical desk, but the experience your clients have when they interact with your front desk/guest services staff. Are clients treated friendly? Are appointments being pre-booked? Are retail sales being rung up? Are clients’ concerns being addressed quickly and courteously? Is the interaction your clients are experiencing on par with how you envision?

Now, ask yourself one last question: Are you doing your part to prepare your front desk staff to deliver the experience that you — and your clients — expect from them?

Here are a five simple areas to focus on to get your front desk systems firing on all cylinders:

1. Efficient Booking: There aren’t too many services that only take 15 minutes. Yet, more often than not, your appointment book is probably riddled with random 15-minute gaps between appointments. Lets remember: You sell time. Four of those in a day equals one full sellable hour gone for good. If you’re open six days a week, that translates into 39 eight-hour days of lost sellable time over the course of one year. Ouch! Work with your front desk staff to teach them how to book more efficiently and to avoid all those gaps!

2. Customer Satisfaction: Is your front desk doing everything possible to ensure that your clients have a pleasurable experience? Whether it’s the tone of their voice, the freshness of the coffee or their choice to answer the phone instead of talk to the client standing in front of them, these details need to be defined, written down and learned by EVERYONE on staff.

3. Up-selling: If you’ve followed Strategies long enough, there’s one thing you’ll hear us preach time and again: the professional recomendation. Clients are in the salon/spa because they trust your expertise. That trust DOES extend into the buying process — but it can’t happen if the recommendation isn’t made. Whether it’s up-selling to a product or service, all it takes is a the proper system. Many software programs now feature functionality that will display an up-sell message automatically when another product/service is purchased. Which leads us to…

4. Scripting: There’s a right and wrong way to say everything. So why set your front desk staff up to say anything BUT the right thing? Whether it’s how to answer the phone, up-selling, how describe your pricing or directions to the nearest highway, take the time to define how you want your staff to answer it. Think of EVERYTHING — and then get it down in writing in your front desk employee manual.

5. Dealing with Difficult Clients: Once again, there’s a right and wrong way to handle every situation. Not only is it important for your staff to understand what to say during a difficult situation, but also for them to understand what actions they are expected to take. Is there a dollar amount that they are allotted to remedy difficult situations (up to $25 in free product/services)? Is there a point in which they should hand the situation over to a manager? Get it down in your employee manual now — both your clients and your staff will benefit in the end.

At Strategies, we often refer to the front desk/guest services staff as the “braincenter” of the salon/spa. Make sure you’re given them the systems, guidance and training they need to do their job right. Want help? Check out Strategies’ upcoming two-day Front Desk/Guest Services Seminar and/or On-Site Front Desk/Guest Services Training.


Categories: Customer Loyalty , Leadership , Productivity

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  1. Hi Neil,
    I was seated in the front row, your right side for the PBA conference on Monday 9/10/12. I have been in the industry over 50 years and am early subscriber to Cutters. I have brought my management team to Strategies a few years ago. We are Intercoiffure members since 1990.
    I would like to invite you and your front desk team to hold a Strategies event at my Healthpoint, Waltham location. We have parking for over 300 cars, it’s a conference center. Massachusetts has hundreds of salons, we have had Wella with the Vidal Sassoon team, The Doves, and Prosolutions software company do presentations at this convienent facility. It is located at exit 27B, right off I95/rt 128.
    I have called about this last year.
    Intercoiffur @ the Waldorf is on October 13th thru the 15th, therefore many of us can not attend the front desk training which I feel is extremely important to most salon owners. Please let me know if we can get together and have an event in Waltham.
    Management/landlord cost is $100.00 a day and we have a great cafe with good food inside our building.

    Thank you ,


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