Kristi Valenzuela, head of the Summit Salon Business Center's Front Desk Division, with client...
Kristi Valenzuela, head of the Summit Salon Business Center's Front Desk Division, with client and co-trainer Amy Naoum, co-owner of Salon Naman in Rock Hill, South Carolina. (photo credit: Rhiannon Mack)Rhiannon Mack

Strategies for Success

No matter how great your front desk staff is, you still have to have a system of accountability in place. Kristi Valenzuela, head of the Front Desk Division for Summit Salon Business Center, gives owners six “strategies for success” to make sure the new systems they’ve put in place stay consistent.

“It’s a system within itself,” Valenzuela says. The strategies are:

  1. Hire qualified people: Valenzuela recommends looking for a candidate with customer service and/or sales experience. “It could be someone from McDonald’s or the mall,” she says. In the interview, she advises asking lots of questions about the former workplace like: “What was expected of you in customer service?” “Did you meet your sales goals?” “What did you love about sales?” “What did you hate?” Did you ever win employee of the month award?”
    Then Valenzuela says the owner needs to ask herself, “Is this person a great candidate to increase revenue at my front desk?” The owner is also responsible for being clear in the interview about expectations—everything from dress code to sales goals. Once the person is hired, monitor them closely the first 30 days. If they aren’t following instructions, Valenzuela says to “let them go with love,” because after 30 days you’ll be more attached and it will be harder to fire them.  
  2. Train them. “It must be the same for every new person who touches the desk,” says Valenzuela. Because of the inconsistencies she saw in salons, Valenzuela came up with a DVD series for new hires.  “Many salons have purchased it before we get there,” she says. “It’s also highly recommended as after-care—it’s a return on their investment.”
  3. Tracking. “The tracking piece is going to track the five different initiatives—it’s accountability,” says Valenzuela. This piece is a simple PDF download owners can purchase on the SSBC site with weekly and monthly sheets.
  4. Goals. Clear goals should be set for upsells, referrals, etc. The Front Desk Division helps suggest goals based on the salon’s current performance.
  5. Rewards. With the five profit principles comes a system for front desk staff to get paid rewards according to what they hit in their goals. These can be paid out in gift cards, Starbucks cards, money, etc. “Find out what motivates your team,” says Valenzuela. “But it must be paid out the first week after the month they hit it. They must be rewarded as soon as possible. And if you have a regular salon meeting, reward them in front of everyone.”
  6. Coaching/mentoring: Valenzuela recommends figuring out who will take on this role, first. Then the coach needs to figure out why someone isn’t meeting goals and help them be consistent. “You must be tracking and coaching,” she says. “As soon as you don’t coach, they don’t think you’re watching.

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