Management Practices

The Importance of Effective Front Desk Training

Kristi Valenzuela | July 10, 2011 | 3:08 PM
Kristi Valenzuela, founder of Crystal Focus Salon Coaching

Most of this problem we solved in the last blog, "How to Recruit for the Front Desk." Following the tips in this blog will solve at least 50 percent of why we have high turnover. The other half comes from not having an effective, efficient and EASY training system for the new hires that stand in the most important area of your salon – the front desk.


In this space of front-end square footage, your new clients are determining within the first 10 seconds if they will be back for another visit, yet most salons do not have a written, step-by-step plan to train their front desk team. Many salons use the "shadowing technique," followed by the "learn from your mistakes (fast!) method" and a visit to "death valley with a stylist program" as their training system. And, then we wonder why when they go to lunch at Burger King they fill out an application? Hey, at least BK has a training system!


"Would you like fries with that?" It's one of the simple sales training scripts that are given within the first couple of days of training at any fast food restaurant. How about Victoria Secret's, "Buy a gift card today and receive a special gift?" Or Bath and Body Works, "Can I tell you about our newest lotion scents? Here is our tester section." Through the scripts of their people, we can affirm these places have a training program!


Salon owners confess that they cringe sometimes when they hear missed sales opportunities and weak closings. If the salon owner were able to work behind the desk it would be an area raking in the cash. The problem is many times they are stuck behind the chair or tending to other important owner duties and don't have time to effectively train someone. Or, they simply don't know where to start. The simple (but not so speedy) solution is to develop your own training manual – a step-by-step first day, second day, etc., of systems, scripts and solutions.


We realize this isn't an easy task...that's why we created the turn-key front desk training system called the Front Desk Doctor Training Kit. (Don't worry, this is not a sales pitch, but I would be crazy not to mention that light at the end of the tunnel is already created for took us nine months to author it so you don't have to. Click here for more information.)


Here's how to organize yourself to create your own manual. Think in the process of systems, scripts and solutions. Take your time on this, it is a time-consuming process, but it is worth its weight in gold when you are finished!



Day to day, things you need to know and do...

  • Computer software: make appointments, receive payments, check in check out, etc.
  • Balancing the cash drawer: end of day or end of shift
  • Opening the salon: how to turn things on, straighten things up, and look at opportunities for services
  • Closing the salon
  • Keeping the reception area neat
  • Making appointments: how the service providers book
  • Taking money
  • Credit card machines
  • Gift cards
  • Tracking your efforts: add-ons, prebooks, retail, gift cards



How and when and what to say....

  • Phone greeting (think of something brilliant, not boring!)
  • Welcoming a guest (something unique, not 'Who ya here to see?')
  • New client tours: authentic, on-purpose and offering opportunities
  • Offering service openings: 24 hours, 48 hours and next week
  • Offering retail promotions
  • Confirmation calls: offering sales and service upgrades
  • Offering gift cards
  • Talking about packages
  • Upselling services
  • Upselling retail



  • Handling an angry guest
  • Client recovery system
  • Filling today's openings
  • Handling an angry service provider
  • Staying motivated at front desk goals and rewards


Having an efficient, effective and easy-to train system starts with you! In the words of a great mentor of mine, Michael Cole, "Don't just think it, ink it!" Get your training manual organized, printed and implemented. If you want to play like a big dog, act like one. Do what every big box corporation has done and get serious about training your people!

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