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$pa Marketing: Front Desk Magic

When you think of “magic”, what comes to mind? Perhaps, you think of a Vegas show or a simple card trick. For me, magic is less about tricks than it is making others feel special. We do it all the time in the spa business—and it all starts at the front desk.

Ask yourself:

Is your front desk magical?

Are you using every opportunity to be unforgettable with every customer who walks through your front door?

One of my favorite quotes is this one by Maya Angelou. She said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Starting today, let’s up your magic quotient with these simple, low- or no-cost tips.

What’s Your Look?

Every front desk provides a first impression. It’s the perfect time and place to let your client know what you’re about. Your look can be hip, like the W Hotel chain, or more traditional, like the Four Seasons. If you’re a discount operation, it can even be bare bones.

Choose a uniform for your staff—one that represents the vibe of what you’re going for based on your targeted clientele—and ensure that not only your front desk employees but also everything that’s on/near the desk from brochures to fresh flowers, décor and beyond represent that look.

Opening Lines

On a scale of 1-10, how’s your front desk staff on greeting clients? Is it “Hi, how are you today?” If so, let’s call that a 6. Or is it, “Hi, how are you, how’s your family? You look nice today!” That’s an 8. But if a staff member shows a client to a seat in the waiting area, hands her a bottle of water (without the client even asking) and sits down next to her for a moment to ask her about her world, that’s a 10.

Even though greeting every client seems like common sense, it sometimes doesn’t happen when things get busy. Write down your company’s preferred greeting in your employee manual; it’s more than just a policy—it’s your company’s culture. And while I’m a firm believer that employee manuals are necessary, nothing promotes consistency better than managers leading by example. Let your employees see you carrying out policy, whether it’s greeting clients, handing them water or reception area housekeeping.

Point of Sale (POS) Opportunities

A lot of front desks ask clients at checkout, “Did you need any products today?” But it’s all too easy for the client to say, “No.” Instead, think of POS opportunities such as the following phrases.

Phase 1. Compliment the client on her decision to get a particular service, for example, a chemical peel.

Phase 2. Add a personal touch such as, “I love that peel, too. And it works even better when you get a series of three.”

Phase 3. Add a special offer, such as, “If you purchase a package deal today, we can offer you a 20% discount.”

Phase 4. Include a personal story, such as, “My acne was really bad until my third peel. I’ve been so happy with the results.”

Phase 5. Add the product. Many spas have estheticians/​technicians write their recommen­dations on a duplicate pad—one copy to the front desk and the other to the client. It could read, “Here’s a sample of the product Jennifer recommended for you (place product in client’s hands). It’s one of our most popular serums.”

All of these phases are low-key but include a personal touch. If the client doesn’t wish to buy anything, no problem. But the fact that you’ve given her your own reasons to love it, and placed it in her hands, will definitely improve the odds that she will.

Client Satisfaction

There are four opportunities for following-up with clients to see how their treatment went.

1. The front desk

2. The esthetician/​technician

3. The manager

4) The call center (for larger businesses)

In my experience, it doesn’t really matter who makes the call as long as someone does. Who is your most outgoing people person? Who has great rapport? Designate a person(s) and stick to it. Since each treatment requires a different number of days for optimal results, i.e. 1-2 days for facials, 2 weeks for Botox, etc., consider developing a protocol that specifies when clients should be called based on the treatment they received.

Consistency is Key

From greetings to staff uniforms and flowers or products displayed—all of these things require constant maintenance for maximum effect. Don’t just focus on them in front of managers or owners; they have to be carried out every time and every day.

It’s a lot like brushing your teeth. If you did that only when your business’ owner was in town, think of how much dental work you’d need.

Lasting Impressions

When was the last time you had such an amazing experience at a place of business that you couldn’t wait to post about it on Facebook? That should be the goal of your front desk. Before your client walks out that door, leave a lasting impression. Perhaps you tell her a funny story about a facial you once had, or wish her luck on her upcoming job interview. You could even walk her to her car and give her a hug or a handshake. The idea is not to just “close the transaction” but to make her feel special. Don’t just be memorable. Be magical.

Top Three Front Desk Tips

1. Compliment excellence. If you’re a manager, continually compliment front desk staff members for going above and beyond. Inspire them to always do better by setting an example.

2. Reward. Whether it’s a pat on the back, a Starbucks gift card or an “employee of the month” award, create an atmosphere that encourages employees to try and “one up” each other for excellent customer service.

3. Ask employees. Solicit ideas from staff members on ways they can add more magic to their customer service skills. This is also a great way to encourage ownership.