The reception that staff give to clients when they enter the salon sets the scene for the client experience and so needs to be monitored carefully for effectiveness and excellence.
One of the key points that I can make regarding reception staff, is that unless your business is very large or extremely busy, when staffing your reception the ‘less is more’ rule generally applies. It’s very disconcerting for even the most seasoned salon attendee to be faced with a plethora of staff at reception. Too many people at a reception desk can be very intimidating and off- putting for clients.
An industry colleague once told me she thought that beauty therapists and hairdressers must have a large magnet implanted in them in the diaphragm area during their training and corresponding magnets were engineered into the reception desks, which neatly explained the reason why non-working staff are inextricably drawn to the reception desk and congregate there to the detriment of the business! Consider how staff can be best managed between client visits to keep them away from lingering at the reception desk.
Last year I was asked to give expert guidance on a Channel 4 programme called Britain’s Secret Shoppers and my lasting impression of the struggling salon I visited in London was of a bored hairdresser slouched on a stool at reception at the front window of the hair and beauty salon in full view of the general public. What did this say about the salon? Did it say ‘dynamic, busy, thriving salon’ or ‘unpopular, unsuccessful salon’? Staff demeanour at reception is critical!
It’s been said many times before, but I will say it again because we don’t see it enough of it when I and my employees do mystery shopping visits - staff need to smile when someone enters the salon. And smile with feeling. How would you smile at a person who was bringing you a lottery cheque? That’s the way you should smile at a client entering the salon, they will probably not be bringing you the lottery cheque but they are bringing you your pay cheque!
Reception staff also need to make immediate eye contact with the client as soon as they enter the salon. No other job that an employee is doing is more important than greeting a client. Even if they are dealing with an existing client it takes very little effort to politely mouth ‘hello’ and ask them to take a seat.
Remember that reception is the beginning of the client journey, but the first impression will often be the one that they take away with them, no matter how great the technical service they receive.