Is it really worth employing a receptionist in my salon?
You may think a receptionist is just there to answer the phone, make the teas and coffees and respond to a few emails but this role is so much more than that.
Over the last few months, I have had many chats with salon owners around the question of employing a receptionist and “is it just dead money?”
My answer is always absolutely not and the value of a this role is often underestimated, as maybe many just don’t see how a receptionist can benefit the business when they don’t directly bring in the money.
However, a good receptionist is worth their weight in gold and can transform your salon or clinic from average to outstanding.
Why employ a salon receptionist?
Firstly, and most importantly, a receptionist enhances the client journey from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave, ensuring their overall experience runs smoothly, with someone always at the front desk.
Have you ever walked into a salon or clinic without one and immediately felt like you are not valued as a client? Or has your therapist ever had to leave you when you are having a treatment to get the door? All of these things build a picture to the client of how well they are being looked after and how the money they are spending is valued.
I recently visited a high-end clinic in London set in beautiful surroundings, offering the very latest in treatments – but when I arrived there was no one to greet me, no offer of tea or coffee or a place to hang my coat, or to sit and relax while I waited.
And when the therapist walked out of the room she was working in she walked straight past me and then straight past me again back into her room without even a hello. She was clearly too busy to notice me but if she didn’t then who would? The lack of warmth, care and simple politeness, instantly made me reconsider ever going back, however much I wanted the treatment, and in fact I never did.
Should a salon receptionist also sell?
A good receptionist can upsell and cross sell, both on the phone and while the client is at reception. If they have the right skills and ensure they take an interest in the client and why they need what they need and when, then the opportunities are endless.
Even a simple “would you like to add toes while you have your nails done?” or “How lovely that you are getting away for some sun; would you like to sample a pot of our tinted SPF?”.
In addition, if they are hot on diary management then they can spot the gaps and action waiting lists if there is a cancellation so all opportunities are maximised in the diary.
A receptionist can chat to clients while waiting or checking out and more often than not this results in a sale or another booking.
What else does a salon receptionist do?
A receptionist can also hugely support the team. They can navigate the diary when an appointment runs over or a client needs changes made last minute. They can check out clients, ensuring they are booking six months in advance by encouraging the client to secure their appointments ahead of time in the busy periods and continually check the salon throughout the day to make sure hygiene levels are maintained and support room turnarounds if needed.
In quieter times, a receptionist can use and nurture the database to increase client retention and drive bookings. It may be simple things such as calling new clients a few days after their visit to ensure they were happy with everything and have all the appointments they would like booked in, or calling existing top spenders to check in with them, notify them of any deals or treatments of the month before anybody else hears about them.
They can also call clients who haven’t been for a while to see how they are and notify them of anything new happening or appointments available – maybe enticing them with a voucher to spend on a treatment they haven’t had in a while.
Over the years of owning a clinic myself, my receptionist grew in her role tenfold. I was able to delegate various PA tasks to her and eventually she became the clinic manager.
She was seen by the clients as someone of huge importance, who made their visit that extra special each and every time, which in turn ensured we maximised the revenue we could generate and operated a sleek and professional business delivering a consistent and strong message to the client.
Taking all the above into account, I believe a good receptionist pays for themselves in more ways than one. If you can trust that the business is taken care of and run the way in which you want then you are free to step back and focus on growing the business while also taking back some personal time.
If you are considering a receptionist but are still worried about the commitment then one of your team may be able to build this area while still maintaining a clientele or alternatively take on someone that can do both while you slowly build your confidence in realising what a difference a receptionist can make to your business. Lastly, pay will vary depending on their experience and the area you are based.
Amy Gordon is a director and business coach at The Delforge Group. If you are currently questioning the need for a receptionist and need someone to hash out the details with you or have a receptionist who needs some coaching then get in touch for a free 30-minute consultation.