Management Practices

Mind the Culture Gap With Your Front Desk

Stacey Soble | March 30, 2016 | 8:07 AM

As the leader of the Front Desk Division for Summit Salon Businesss Center, Kristi Valenzuela coaches salon owners to be mindful of the culture gap that often exists between the front desk staff and the rest of the salon team.

“Whether owners are designing a retail contest or scheduling education, the front desk is largely left out,” she cautions. “Enrolling them in the activity engages them in the salon’s culture and strengthens the overall team, which can result in increased productivity and profitability.”

Valenzuela offers the following recommendations for weaving the front desk team into an overall business success culture:

Rebook Percentages: “Salon owners know that increasing the rebooking rate can increase a stylist’s productivity, but it also has important an impact on the front desk. When salons rebook guests at 60 percent or higher, the phones slow down and the front desk team can offer guests better customer care,” Valenzuela says. “Next time you design a contest that encourages stylists to rebook, create an equal contest for the front desk team. For example, if the salon as a whole increases from 50 to 60 percent, all the front desk team members have their names entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift card.”

Performance-Based Goals: “I’m a strong believer is developing goals for the front desk and rewarding them for their behavior,” Valenzuela says. “The reward can be a cash bonus, a day off or an opportunity to increase their hourly pay rate. When you engage the front desk team with goals and rewards, they begin to see themselves as part of the salon culture, and not the subculture.”

Training on Services and Products: “If you were shopping at a Bath and Body Works, you could pick up any item and ask someone with a name tag a question, and that employee could tell you the price of the product, any applicable promotions, directions on how to use the product and even its ingredients—they are that well-trained,” Valenzuela says. “Unfortunately, in our industry, too often you can ask someone at the front desk about a product and they freeze with their mouths wide open, then say, ‘Let me get someone who can help you.’ This is confusing for the consumer. Develop a stronger, smarter front desk team by encouraging them to attend product education sessions, where they can learn the details about a product, use some samples or get styled using the product.”  

For more front desk advice and training materials, visit the front desk division on or email Valenzuela at [email protected]. Check out her 200-page workbook and accompanying CD that talks you through developing scripts for your front desk team.

More from Management Practices

Management Practices
Management Practices

Dos and Don’ts When Communicating with Upset Guests

July 31, 2018

They say the key to every great relationship is communication – and handling a guest complaint is no different. It’s not ideal to have to communicate with an upset guest, yet we’ve all been there and it’s likely we’ll be there again someday. Here are the dos and don’ts to keep in mind to help you successfully communicate with upset guests.

Management Practices @vanessapalstylist cutting a precision bob hairstyle. 
Management Practices

SALON TODAY RECOMMENDS: Strategies for In-Salon Education & Minimizing Stylist Turnover

Lauren Salapatek | May 4, 2018

What kind of continuing education do you have at your salon? Are you inspiring your employees to reach their full potential? This month Aveda Means Business covers topics from in-salon education to minimizing stylist turnover. Learn some ways on how to attract stylists who are passionate about the business and who will fit in with your salon’s culture.

Management Practices Sponsored by L'Oréal Professionnel

OWNER TO OWNER: The David Rios Salons’ Secrets to Providing 5-Star European Service for the Country’s Most Demanding Clients

May 2, 2018

Many of the country’s most brilliant, talented and powerful people live and work in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. They’re politicians, diplomats, attorneys. Also professors and students at the nation’s top universities. So, if you’re servicing these people in your salon, you had better be at the very top of your game.

Load More