Meghan Touhy, uses her headset to schedule an appointment at New Reflections Spa Salon in Plymouth, Minnesota. How to get the best from your front desk.
The first face a client sees or voice she hears speaks volumes about your business. That’s why Frances DuBose, owner of London Hair in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, loves her desk coordinator.
DuBose is lucky her son-in-law is the one up front, and he’s super organized, remembering details that prevent snafus, such as taking an old appointment off the books if the client reschedules. He also calls clients if a stylist is running late, and is a polite liaison if anyone ever asks for a “redo.” For those owners who have to manage the relationship more, goal setting gets the desk and the staff in sync.
“Our stylists retail and rebook on their own, but if they forget, our desk help never does,” says DuBose. “It’s his to close. For instance, if a stylist recommended three products, he tells the client if she buys one more, she gets 20-percent off. He also reminds them they get $5 off the next visit for rebooking—men in particular love it!”
The Three Rs
At Sharmaines Salon and Day Spa, Clearwater, Florida, owner Lori Blankenship Fudens ties desk bonuses to service providers’ ability to meet rebooking, retailing and repeat-guest goals.
“When guests check out, our desk person asks three key questions,” says Blankenship Fudens. “First, she asks how their service was; if she perceives even a tiny bit of dissatisfaction, she addresses it. Then she notes the suggested retail items and asks if the guest would like anything else. Finally, if the service provider didn’t book the next appointment, our software system prompts the desk to ask the guest to rebook. It acts as our safety net.”
Additionally, at the beginning of each month, the desk is given a gross sales goal, based on the same month for the previous year. Sometimes, Blankenship Fudens sets it intentionally steep; the desk gets a cash bonus if it’s met, and it often is.
“This helps everyone work as a team,” she says.
At RedChocolate, a Minneapolis-based educational consulting company, cofounders David Adams and Virginia Meyer say the desk support of the future will be freed from physical constraints by the iPad.
They envision a free-floating concierge who “greets and seats,” notifies the stylists of guests’ arrival via the iPad, brings retail products or beverages to the chair (again, communicating via the iPad) and surveys the salon landscape to “put out fires.” Many salon software systems like Korvue and Salon Biz, they say, have iPad apps for both service providers and the desk. Card readers that attach to the iPad even allow the guest to check out right at the chair.