The Big Debate: Two Salons Discuss the Pros and Cons of Having a Receptionist
Two salons discuss the pros and cons of having dedicated front of house staff.
For – Rainbow Room International, Uddingston
Mila Timberlake and Natalia Irvine, Front House at Rainbow Room International, Uddingston, believe hair salons should have receptionist, saying: “We make a concerted effort to encourage clients to rebook and inform them of our online booking option to ensure our client numbers grow.”
“Front of house has a vital role to play in the salon, as we are the first and last chance to make a great impression. We can immediately make clients feel relaxed in the knowledge they have made the right choice and are in safe hands. We set the tone and expectations upon arrival and departure, as well as ensuring everything in-between runs smoothly for our clients.
Reception is the nucleus of the salon, orchestrating all that goes on throughout the day and we must be able to take on many roles and be experts at multi-tasking. The multi-faceted role of the front of house team is constantly evolving. Gone are the days where a receptionist simply schedules appointments and looks after clients. In order to ensure all of our guests have an exceptional experience in the salon we must be present on the salon floor, constantly looking for opportunities to meet and in fact exceed all of their needs and expectations. We are sure that we are getting this right as clients are constantly commenting on their positive experiences with us.
Times are changing and more clients are booking online rather than calling the salon, however this definitely doesn’t make the role of front of house obsolete. In fact, we believe this shift is positive. We make a concerted effort to encourage clients to rebook and inform them of our online booking option to ensure our client numbers grow. This frees up time to look after our guests and focus on building strong relationships with our clients when they are in the salon.
The list of tasks we undertake to help clients, staff, our salon directors and the company is limitless. Without a dedicated front of house team, this role would be left to the stylists. In a busy salon like ours, it is unrealistic to expect them to have the time to deliver the same quality of customer service as well as looking after their column of clients.”
Against – Ryan Harris, salon owner at Harris & Fox
However, Ryan Harris, salon owner at Harris & Fox, Glasgow, does not agree with them, sharing: “There is a natural progression from the advice offered during an appointment to the stylist being able to talk the client through the retail options before they leave.”
“As a new independent salon, we simply didn’t have the budget for a receptionist when we were starting out. We weighed up the advantages and decided the money was better spent on stylists who could build a clientele and help establish the salon. A year later, we realised it was the best decision we could have made. Clients love being greeted and checked out by their stylist, rather than being passed from one person to another. From the moment they enter the salon until they leave, they have their stylist’s full attention, which many have commented feels like a more personal approach.
Clients entering the salon for the first time have also remarked that it feels less intimidating. Clients can come into our space, get a feel for the atmosphere and observe the team at work, rather than entering straight into a conversation with someone on the front desk.
This also has an advantage when it comes to retail as there is a natural progression from the advice offered during an appointment to the stylist being able to talk the client through the retail options before they leave. The stylist can refer back to any points touched upon during the cut or colour service and provide expert tips and recommendations.
Many of our appointments are now requested via our website or social media so we don’t have a huge volume of phone calls to worry about. Yes, it’s unusual not to have a front desk that’s manned all-day, every day but we feel that it’s also progressive and forward-thinking and shows our commitment to using our resources as wisely and economically as possible.”