15 tips for salon receptionists: a powerful checklist

I can’t resist popping into salons and spas when I’m passing – I like to do a bit of mystery shopping.

Just imagine it was your hair or beauty business I dropped into this morning.

Would I have been bowled over by your friendly, helpful and organised reception team? Or are you inwardly cringing at the thought of a surprise visit to your front desk and the monosyllabic receptionist who (failed) to greet me?

Receptionists can be seen as an expensive luxury; to me they are one of your most valuable salon marketing tools.

Investing in your reception team will:

  • help attract new clients
  • improve client loyalty
  • increase average spend
  • boost retail sales

Here are my top 15 practical tips and ideas for receptionists – just remember, as with all salon marketing, consistency is key.

 

Meet and greet essentials for salon receptionists

Remember…

“It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it!”

 

1. Smile and greet salon clients

Don’t turn or walk away, pick up the phone or start chatting to a colleague as a client walks up to the front desk. It looks off hand and your job as salon receptionist is to make a fabulous first impression.

Instead, stop what you’re doing, give them a genuine smile and greet them.

 

2. Don’t abandon a client standing at the front desk

You are talking to a client in reception and the phone rings. Don’t suddenly abandon the client and grab the phone – tempting as it is if only to stop the incessant ring.

Just remember the client standing in front of you takes priority over someone who calls on the phone. Let the phone go to voice mail then ring the caller straight back as soon as the client leaves the salon.

 

3. The power of ‘YES’

Always tell your client what you CAN do for them. It’s too easy to slip into negatives. Try:

“Sue is free on Tuesday 18th at 3.30pm or Thursday 20th at 10.15am; are either of these good for you as she doesn’t work on Wednesdays.”

It sounds so much more obliging than “Sue doesn’t work Wednesdays.” End of conversation.

Appreciate the power of ‘Yes’ and always look for ways to help your clients.

 

4. Don’t ignore clients just because reception is busy

Talking with a client when someone walks in?

Acknowledge every client immediately as they walk in through the door. A smile, nod and “I’ll be with you shortly, please take a seat” works best. Ignoring an ever growing queue of people just makes them silently fume and they start their hair or beauty treatment feeling irritated.

 

5. Never discuss salon clients in front of others

Oh so tempting as it can be to rant to a colleague or share some gossip, keep it for later when you’re off the salon floor. Not only is it unprofessional but those clients who overhear will wonder what you say behind their back.

 

6. Positive body language at the front desk

Make regular eye contact to show you’re interested and sincere. Keeps arms open. Your head up. And smile.

You’ll find more body language tips and ideas for your salon team here and here’s a useful short video on using your hands to communicate cooperation, sincerity and reliability. Both make an ideal base for a reception team training session.

 

7. Are you using the right tone of voice?

Ensure your non-verbal communication (body language) is in tune with your tone of voice.

Always sound cheerful, enthusiastic and helpful even if the client is grumpy and pushy. A sarcastic or aggressive tone from you will only make matters worse.

 

8. Use their name for a lasting impression

Use your client’s name, particularly at the start and close of the meet and greet. We love the sound of our name and react well to it. But don’t overdo it as it soon becomes cheesy and insincere.

 

9. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ go a long way on reception

Gratitude is powerful as it changes how people perceive you – for the better. And it’s so easy. These little words make a big difference to how people react to you and this alone can make a receptionist’s job less stressful.

 

10. Help clients understand your salon systems

Many receptionists act as the salon coordinator and manage the team’s work flow and the client’s journey from booking to paying. It is essential you understand all the business systems so you can explain ‘what, why and where’ to often sceptical clients.

Allergy skin testing is a perfect example. Many clients see it as an unnecessary visit. A complete chore. A well-trained receptionist understands why a test is necessary for the client’s well-being (and your salon insurance) and can explain the benefits while making it as easy as possible for the client to pop in.

 

11. Efficient booking: Receptionists sell time

Avoid random 15 minute gaps between appointments and ensure they butt up against each other. If a client asks for 11.30am and the previous appointment finishes at 11.15am then gently but firmly manoeuvre the client into taking the 11.15am start.

In this blog I explain how your salon coordinator or receptionist can lose £12,480 salon turnover per year – all for some 15 minute gaps.

 

12. Your salon team are your customers too

It’s an easy one to overlook, but your salon team are your internal customers. As receptionist/salon coordinator it’s your job to help them:

  • fill their columns
  • manage their time
  • create a WOW client experience

Treat them as you would all other clients – show appreciation, be polite and respect their time.

 

Wave goodbye

The way a client feels as they leave the salon is very important to keeping them loyal. YOU are their final point of contact and their last impression of the salon or spa so think about…

 

13. Offer a sincere compliment

We all love a genuine compliment. Even if their new ‘do or nail colour is not to your liking try to find something that you like – their handbag, coat, lippy… it’s not hard.

Sincerity is everything when it comes to giving compliments and this is where your body language awareness comes in. If your lips are saying one thing just check your posture, facial expression and arms aren’t delivering a different silent message.

 

14. Smile as you are saying goodbye

In a busy spa it’s too easy to take their payment then move swiftly on to the next person in the queue.

Don’t.

Show you appreciate their business with a smile and a thank you. It’s the best final impression you can make.

 

Hanging on the telephone

15. Phone etiquette for hair & beauty receptionists

Answer calls quickly, ideally by the 3rd ring, and keep a note pad handy for phone numbers, names and email addresses for those occasions when you can’t access your salon software.

Your client on the phone is the priority. Need to leave the caller to check something for them? Never put them on hold without asking; simply say, “Would you mind holding a moment?” and always thank the caller for holding when you return.

And finally people can hear you smile. So no matter how much your feet ache or the last client irritated remember to 🙂

 

Your secret salon marketing tool

Your receptionist is responsible for the first and last impression a client has of your salon. As such your front desk is one of your most important marketing tools, although many owners see it as a cost centre rather than a marketing tool.

Just remember, as with all salon marketing, consistency is key, so why not take your top 10 tips from this blog, create a checklist of reception tips and pin it (discreetly) inside your front desk to help your team up their game.

 

Nail that booking…

If you want to #GrowYourSalon, be successful and more profitable you have to build a re-booking culture in hair or beauty business. And this starts with your reception team.

I share my salon marketing tips and ideas on re-booking in full here where I look at:

  • Why rebooking is essential to growing your hair or beauty business profitably.
  • What rebooking percentage to aim for.
  • How to educate, mentor and motivate your team to rebook.