Repeat clients are the bread and butter of your business. And guess which employee has the power to retain them, essentially feeding your salon’s growth? Not your stylist, not your estheticians and not even you: it’s your receptionist.
A client survey conducted by Crystal Focus, a Redken-affiliated salon education company, found that only 15 per cent of clients consider the actual service (whether it be a haircut or manicure) to be the main reason why they return. The other 85 per cent of customers stated that their reasons for returning to a salon are related to things such as professionalism, friendliness, cleanliness and engaging communication—all fundamental qualities of a front desk staffer. Salon coordinators, as they are now called, are expected to sell retail and service packages, stretch services, draw in new clients and maintain existing ones.
“The front desk is a vital source of revenue because much of the business is generated there,” says Bryan Durocher, author of Front Line Service Mastery and a salon and business coach. “They are the first people who clients see when they come in and the last people they see when they leave, so how clients feel about your business is very dependent on the front desk staff.
If sales have been down lately, consider the following reasons why having a well-trained salon coordinator (or team, depending on the size of your business) is critically important to your bottom line.
1.They retain clientele.
According to Rada Ferzanovich-Constantinou, the operations manager for the Natural Solutions/L’attitudes chain of salons across Ontario, “Many owners feel that because salon coordinators do not physically perform the services in the salon, they are not generating revenue, but this is totally backward. They are actually the ones who grow and retain the clientele. To be a bustling salon these days, you can’t rely on walk-in services. Your core business is repeat clients and referrals.”
TRAINING TIP: Pre-book the next appointment at check- in. Make confirmation calls the day before. “Thank you” calls made a week after a service can encourage returns, too.
2. They build “salon” clients.
Never underestimate the power of a receptionist referral.
“When a busy stylist leaves your salon, he or she often takes his or her clients with them, causing a huge headache for you. But if you spend time encouraging your desk staff to build professional relationships with regular clients, it builds trust, and the client will feel comfortable with the front desk’s recommendation for an alternative stylist,” says Ferzanovich-Constantinou.
TRAINING TIP: Make it a golden rule that the salon coordinator is the only one allowed to take down clients’ phone numbers.
3. They keep you booked.
Scheduling appointments properly is as much a skill and talent as cutting hair. A salon coordinator who knows your staff well can maximize your income potential by booking services closely together. “Seventy-five per cent of the time,a caller will take the timeslot we offer them, so do not leave gaps between appointment times. Four 15-minute gaps between appointments in a day is an hour lost,” says Durocher.
TRAINING TIP: Offer the least busy days and times first to callers.
4. They make you money.
The front desk can be a hub of productivity during downtime, as long as there is a system in place. Kristi Valenzuela of Crystal Focus Salon Coaching, suggests that owners enforce a mandatory to-do list that is designed to generate income, first and foremost. “Start with tasks that can make money in the present: offer additional services to clients who are already there (tell them about promotions), give salon tours to clients and make confirmation calls for the following day. Next, do things that will make money in the future: learn about a new product or service, stock retail shelves and make thank you calls.”