The Importance of the Front Desk Within a Hair Salon

The reception is the first thing that your clients and potential clients are going to see and the old saying of ‘first impressions count’ wasn’t said for nothing; it’s perfectly true!

In my first ever salon position as a young apprentice, the manager insisted on her rule that there should NEVER be more than two people at the reception desk at any one time. At the time we all thought it was silly and annoying but it turns out that she was and still is exactly right! She felt that it would be intimidating to potential clients if there was a group of people gathered around the desk for a chat.

We stuck to this rule and we always had lots of people walking in from the street to enquire, buy products and book appointments. I feel there were far more walk-ins than any other salon I’ve ever worked in. Yes the salon was very well positioned in the heart of the famous Brighton lanes but I’ve also worked in other very well positioned salons without this rule, who didn’t get even half of the ‘walk in’ trade that we did, with the rule in place.

I also feel, as a customer of any kind of establishment, that this is true. Not many people would feel comfortable walking into a group of people who are total strangers to ask for advice. We have to remember that there are so many lovely hair salons, often positioned rather closely together, that it must be a very difficult choice when a potential new client is looking for a new stylist.

I’m certain that if it were me, I would want to choose a welcoming salon and definitely not an intimidating one.

Some salons have a receptionist and others don’t. Usually, if that is the case, every member of staff will be expected to ‘muck in’ and cover the desk whenever they aren’t busy. It will depend upon how busy the salon is as to whether or not this way will work.

I have worked in a couple of salons without a receptionist that were quite busy and there is nothing more annoying than as a Stylist having to apologize to their client for temporarily abandoning them to either answer the phone or to go over to the desk to help another client.

Most importantly for the client who is having to be abandoned, they must feel that it is highly unprofessional for such a thing to happen. Even if the client is a regular who you’ve known for years, and even if they are the nicest, most understanding person they are at the end of the day your client. I always feel that when any person is sat in my chair, the spotlight should be on them for the whole experience. They are not there just to have their hair done but for a relaxing pampering bit of ‘me time away from the worries of the world. We as stylists should be giving them our full attention for the whole time they are with us.

As I mentioned earlier, there are so many other beautiful salons that are probably close by and one day they might just feel they might be a bit more pampered in a different one. Be careful, look after your clients; they pay your bills and feed your families!Just as importantly, the reception desk should always be kept in a neat and tidy manner and of course so should the person manning it! A receptionist should always be polite, helpful, knowledgeable, friendly and definitely approachable. Never eat whilst on full show at the front desk; this just looks so unprofessional and if the phone rings it’s never going to sound good either!

Any mistakes made at the front desk can impact very badly on how the salon runs. It is absolutely vital that this is kept to a minimum or you could again see your clients going in that other lovely salon up the road! Just one error when making an appointment can cause a Stylist’s whole day to be put out of sync and cause clients to become upset and angry.

Whenever I work on the reception desk, I always make sure that I write the appointments down for people and always repeat the appointment date and time as I hand the card over to them; this way you have covered yourself and if there were to be an error hopefully it will be the client’s fault (although never tell them it’s their fault; remember the customer is always right!)

I always apologize, blame myself (to them) and hope they do really realize that it was actually their mistake in the first place! I must point out that obviously sometimes it will have been your fault as mistakes do happen, especially on busy days. However, follow the same procedure - very politely apologize and if necessary offer them something to keep them happy.

I usually go with a free conditioning treatment that an Assistant can apply for you while you finish the previous client’s hair. This then helps you out too if you need to catch up and everyone’s happy! If there’s no time to do it on the day you could always offer a voucher for their next appointment for a treatment or maybe a discount for the inconvenience. This could also entice them into returning! It’s up to you (or maybe your salon manager,) but keeping the clients happy should always been our main priority.

Every single day we are at work, we do work in the service industry so we should be providing the best service we are able to offer.