I've heard a lot of salon and spa owners complain about their front desk people and I must say that I've had several bad experiences myself. Getting a better performance from your front desk person is actually quite easy to do, but what is even easier is not to do anything at all.

You have to want to take action to better your staff rather than hope the right individual will come to you. Spend some time reading through this simple 5 step process to getting a more efficient front desk person:

Step #1 – Put in writing exactly how you would like things done. For example, how do you want each person greeted when they come into your place? "Hi, nice to see you, who do you have an appointment with today?" By asking this question your client will respond in a couple of ways. They might say: "I'm here to see Suzy" or "I'm Randy here to see Suzy" or "I don't have an appointment but I would like to get _____ done." Either way your front desk person will know what to do next. (Especially when you have the next step in writing!)

Step #2 – Put all of the processes you would like to see done by the front desk in writing. Yes, all of them. I can't tell you how many salon owners say to me they don't have the time to put things in writing yet somehow find time to keep recruiting, screening and hiring new front desk people!

Take the time to complete this step the first time around to build a concrete resource for the front desk person to reference so you can save yourself from hundreds of hours of frustration in the future. Put all of the processes, exactly as you would like them done, in a 3-ring binder and label this binder "Front Desk Operation Manual".

Step #3 – Now that you have a tangible list of procedures set into place, take the time to role-play these with one of your best employees. Go through each one of the processes and say them exactly as you have them written to ensure they would make sense if explained to a new hire. Once you have reviewed and finalized all of them, you are ready for step 4.

Step #4 – You can't hand over the manual and expect the front desk person to understand it. Sit down and review each procedure with this individual and share with them why these processes and communication interactions are important and need to be followed. Don't just tell them to do it, tell them why you want it done this way. You must have business reasons why you are having people say and do things and not just because "that's the way I want it done." If you can't explain why, then you haven't thought through it enough. If this is the case, go back to Step 1 and start over on this particular process.

Step #5 – Listen and recognize. Listen and watch how your front desk person interacts and communicates with your customers, provide feedback and recognize when they do things right. It's easy to focus on what they are doing wrong but get in the habit of leading with positive compliments. Review any potential areas of improvement with them after you recognize their initiative and commitment to the new way of doing things.

By using this simple 5-step process you're on your way to employing more efficient front desk people and in turn generating more satisfied clients!

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