Service providers indeed generate the revenue, but it’s the front desk that captures retail sales, greets clients and encourages them to return. They’re the first and last point of contact!

Because the front desk is the customer service mecca of the business, we need a trained and motivated individual to run this important segment of the business. We spend a lot of time and money in educating and training our staff, but rarely do we put the effort into training our front desk support person.

Here are some of the skills to look for in an efficient and productive front desk:

Presentation Skills

Sounds silly to think that presentation is a skill, but let’s remember that this is the first person our clients will meet and the front desk should be a reflection of our standards!

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Reception Skills

Sure, your front desk is the person who greets clients and assures their comfort, however they’re also responsible for orchestrating an effective client journey. From when the customer arrives to when they leave, your front desk should be able ensure your customer’s satisfaction and return to the business. This can be as simple as asking clients about their experience and documenting their feedback on where the business can improve.

Technical Skills

Here’s the reality; technology is becoming more of a necessity in this industry. The incoming generation of customers prefer booking appointments with websites and mobile apps. To stay ahead of the curve, your front desk should easily navigate ongoing and incoming technology like your booking and payment processing software, pulling day sheets, entering product into inventory, managing the business data base, analyzing statistics, and preparing reports for business owner.

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Phone Skills

Although online booking has taken the industry by storm, there are some customers who will call your business. Your front desk should understand the importance of scripting a phone conversation, the ability to capture clients from a price inquiry, competent booking of professionals, and follow-up calls after client visits to eliminate potential customer problems.

Communication Skills

This person will often need to guide and nurture service providers without stepping on toes or creating issues within the employee ranks. They will also have to deal with the occasional unhappy customer, which unfortunately happens from time to time. This really requires someone with finesse, common sense and humor. Never underestimate the power of a good laugh!

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Marketing Skills

Every business looking to grow their business must have a marketing plan. And the person to maintain the marketing plan is the front desk. They will need the ability to follow and improve the marketing plan, create email promotions, send follow-up ‘thank you’ emails, and track promotional efforts.

Merchandising Skills

Checking out a client is the perfect opportunity to highlight products in your store. Here’s the tricky part: many customers come to you to have their problems solved, not be sold at. Balance is key. When closing out a customer, your front desk should be able to sell products while coming from a place of genuine help. Not only will this show your customers you have their best interest in mind, but you’ll make an extra buck out of it too.

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These are just generalizations of the tasks involved to ensure that everything moves smoothly throughout the day. More often than not, businesses either do not have support or the person they have hired is paid a minimum wage– which usually means an entry level employee who doesn’t have the necessary skills or the knowledge to create the profit center we need at the front desk.

When hiring a Front Desk, give some thought about how this person will contribute to your business goals. We often underestimate the power of a great front desk person, but they can make or break a client’s experience even before their appointment begins.

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Header Image Source: @lira_n4 / Twenty20