5 Simple Salon Reception Rules to Boost Your Business

salon reception rulesThe NHF Salon Focus magazine this month featured my 5 Simple Salon Reception Rules for a new team member or receptionist to learn.
And there’s a discount code at the end of this page to book one of the last few slots for the reception course I am running on the 12th June!


I emphasise to receptionists always to contact a client if they have missed an appointment.

You should always confirm the appointment at least 24-hours prior, by text or telephone. If they don’t show on the day, contact them to make sure they are OK and reschedule.  Most clients will be extremely apologetic and grateful for the call. But the key is, if you don’t contact them, then they may be too embarrassed to return.


I find it incredibly disrespectful when a regular client gets moved from one column to another without being asked or consulted.

When taking a booking, always repeat back to a client their appointment time, treatment and who the appointment is with at the time of booking. This should now be set in stone, unless there are circumstances completely out of your control.

If you do have to change an appointment, the client should always be fully informed and give their approval. Change without acknowledgement at your peril!

It should be no different with new clients. They may have noted who their appointment is with and will feel totally undervalued instantly at their first (and possibly as a result only) ever visit to you.


Always introduce yourself and preferably wear a name badge. One sure way to make a client feel worthless is to refer to them in a three-way conversation as “he”, “she”, “him” or “her”.

Always ensure you remember a client’s name – and know the preferred name they wish to be addressed by, and then use it frequently during the conversation. If you have inadvertently forgotten, then apologise and ask again.

In correspondence, where possible either always use a person’s name or a simple “hi” but never, ever refer to a client as “Dear client”. This is so impersonal!


If you need to contact a client and cannot get in touch, please only ever leave a message on a personal mobile phone. Never leave a personal message with a family member or friend, or on a landline answerphone.

Remember, it is a client’s own private business to choose to visit you, and you may be breaking their confidence and trust in you by revealing to a third party that they use your services.

If necessary, only ever leave a personal name, along with a contact number asking them to call you back. Never mention the business name unless you are 100% certain that you are not divulging unknown information.


I always say that there is one thing you don’t ever know about a client – and that is what they don’t want you to know. When a client arrives, you don’t know what kind of day they have had, or what is truly going on within their work, family or life in general.

If a client does arrive in a less than pleasant mood, it is essential to read the situation and never, ever react. There is a saying “attitude breeds attitude” and it takes very little to accelerate a situation.

Always stay 100% professional, as there is a strong possibility that the client is unaware that their behaviour and attitude is noticeable to you. If they are aware, then they will apologise on the next visit and thank you for their tolerance.

But if a client is being abusive or aggressive, that’s not right and not something you should have to tolerate. Call on someone senior and more experienced – ideally the owner – to help and intervene. If nothing else, they need to know what has happened – and perhaps why – and take a firm decision on how to respond.

To Book a place on Let Your Reception Team Boost Your Business on 12th June, make sure you get your £80 discount by calling the NHF on 01234 831965 or email [email protected] using my special code SRTREAM.

That means your Beauty Entrepreneur price is only £170 instead of the full price of £250 🙂

See you there?

Here’s to your great business!

Susan x

How to Prevent Christmas No-Shows

One of the most common questions I get asked by Salon Owners, especially coming up to a busy period like the run-up to Christmas—is how to handle and eliminate Christmas No-Shows.

preventing-christmas-no-showsThe first question I would always ask in return is “Which part of this problem are you responsible for?” Most respondents will put total responsibility on the client and never on the salon. In my view that’s not quite how it works.

I know it can be so frustrating, and sometimes infuriating when a client doesn’t show up. But it can be a cop-out to put the blame totally on the client.

I really don’t believe there’s a bank of clients out there trying to disrupt your appointment system and jeopardise your continued business. Instead I believe that you have to take more responsibility in helping your client remember and respect their appointment booking with you.

Especially in the busy season coming up to Christmas, everyone has extremely busy lives trying to remember so many things, whilst also juggling work and family routines.

Although your treatments and appointments are a huge focus in YOUR daily life, the importance of remembering a facial appointment can easily and unintentionally pale into insignificance in the hectic whirlwind world of your client. It’s up to you to do all you can to ensure that your client has their appointment in the forefront of their thinking by keeping in contact with them with gentle reminders.

Historically, most businesses will just sit back and hope and pray that the client will remember this appointment. That’s a big ask considering the appointment can be anything up to 6 weeks away.

When we look at things from our clients’ perspective we can understand a lot better why our clients forget.

Here are some tips to help reduce the Christmas no-shows problem:

  • With existing clients, it is ESSENTIAL to re-book their treatment before they leave you. This not only improves your client retention and appointment planning but it also means that you can confirm correct details on an appointment card for your client’s safe keeping.
  • If a client telephones to make the booking, then you must reiterate all of the details back to the client and then either text or email a confirmation.
  • You must have contact with clients at least 48 hours before their appointment. This can be a friendly phone call or a quick text or email reminder. Many software programmes now can automate this process for you.
  • Staying in touch with salon news and updates also keeps your business top of mind for the client.
  • Make sure you have a written cancelation policy in place as a deterrent. Personally I feel it is hard to impose a cancellation policy, unless your services are very unique. You can easily lose a client if they think they have incurred charges on their account, and they will simply move to another salon. My advice would be to give your client the grace of forgetting or missing ONE appointment, then if it happens again, simply explain how you love looking after them and wish to continue in the future, but that you would need to take payment in advance. If they refuse, then they will likely re-offend, so let this client go.
  • A pre or part payment booking system is a fantastic way to eliminate no shows. This is easily implemented if you have an online booking facility.
  • No shows CAN be a thing of the past with consistent action on your part, but you need to be consistent about your cancellation process throughout the year, and not just in the busy run up to Christmas.

Salon Christmas working hours explained…

How To Improve Your Client Retention by 1000%

improve client retentionHowever you price your services, and whichever type of client you’re trying to attract, you’ll always have competition. So how do you make sure that your salon is head and shoulders above the others? How can you retain your clients, and even gain more, if your competitors are offering the same services as you, and charging the same prices?

How can you differentiate your salon from the rest?

There’s one thing you need to focus on. And that’s your LEVEL OF SERVICE.

It’s service that makes the difference between retaining your clients or losing them to competitors that are perceived to offer greater value.

The key is to really focus on every aspect of your service. How much extra value could you offer? You might already be thinking that you are already offering your absolute best.

Let’s test that out.

One of the best ways to register if you and your team are offering the best customer service possible is to add an imaginary zero to the prices of all of your treatments. It’s as simple as that.

Imagine that you’re charging these higher prices already.

What would your clients expect if you were to charge your client ten times the price you currently charge? You would instantly up your game. What levels of service would your clients expect for this price?

  • I am sure they would expect you to be the absolute expert in everything you say and do.
  • I am sure they would expect the absolute maximum levels of cleanliness and treatment standards.
  • I am sure they would expect you to make them feel special and valued in lots of small ways both before, during and after their treatment as well as between treatments.

Think about that extra zero:

  1. Would you really have your treatment room looking the same?
  2. Would you really give exactly the same advice to your clients?
  3. Would you really only look after your clients while they are in your salon?

I believe we should over deliver and never settle for just a GOOD level of service.
Customer service should be your key focus area as it’s one of the lowest costs of marketing your business and has maximum benefit to your bottom line. Excellent customer service turns your clients into loyal fans who will rave about you to anyone who will listen – in effect, they’re your marketing team.

If you’ve added your zero, asked yourself honestly about your levels of service and found some gaps, then it really is time to STEP UP. Your clients really do deserve to have the best no matter what you charge.

Look after your clients, or someone else will.

How did adding an imaginary zero work for you? It’s Tip No. 7 of 50 ways to improve your customer service in my book, The Little Book of Client Retention.

Build Client Loyalty with the Power of 4

Building loyalty for your salonWe must wake up to the fact that going the extra mile for our clients may simply not be enough to keep them loyal over the long-term.  Business strategy research has shown that you need a 4 pronged approach to help you to achieve this.

Did you know that if you have a client who you only ever offer one service to, that statistically you only have a 50% chance of them remaining loyal to your business? The client may have attended your business for years, and it’s so easy to be complacent thinking the client is yours for life, but in todays climate where choice and variety is in abundance, if you don’t introduce them to other services then you have a very good chance of losing them, and perhaps sooner than you think.

It’s time to take action.

1.  Change a client’s perception and get them to try an additional service, or to buy a retail product they love, and the loyalty likelihood changes to 70%.  Introducing yet another service increases that figure to 85%, before optimising at a 95% chance of clientele loyalty if they have interacted in 4 different ways with your business.  This doesn’t just apply to our industry. Notice when you go shopping, just how many services the larger businesses are now providing including banks, supermarkets and high street stores.

Long gone are the days when the Post Office only sold stamps. They now offer so many options to build loyalty and interact with you. Post office services now include credit cards, home and life insurance, stationary, passport photo booths, lottery tickets, foreign exchange; cash withdrawal… the list just goes on and on!  We need to follow the lead of big businesses and make sure we’re keeping our existing clients loyal to us, then we won’t need to be constantly chasing new ones. This strategy is so simple, yet effective!

It’s so easy to presume that a client only wants the service or product they’ve booked and/or purchased, but WE are the experts, and it’s our duty to keep our clients up to date with our new, as well as existing services and products that would be of benefit to them.

Here’s how you can do this easily: 

Breakdown the time you spend with a client into segments. Make the conversation with your client more about them than about you by encouraging them to talk about themselves. Use this as your valuable listening time, and from this, you need to assess and retrieve information on what the client needs and wants. Approximately 10% of your time with them should be used to advise on suitable products and treatments, events and special offers you know would help them.

2.  You should never need to sell to a client. Instead make sure you are so knowledgeable that the client will trust you implicitly to try new things encouraged by your enthusiasm and professionalism.

3.  List all of the ways you can get a client to engage with your business. Do you encourage clients to buy gift vouchers? Can you offer online booking? Do you blog and send out newsletters? How about competitions and prize draws?

4.  Instead of discounting, add value by combining treatments and products into special price packages. If a client normally only has a nail service then try to include a treatment which involves lying on a treatment couch, or utilising a different treatment area of your premises to widen the client’s perspective of your business and ensuring you utilize their loyalty in the Power of 4.

Susan Routledge works with salons, spas and clinics to help them to get the most out of their businesses. You can contact Susan here>>

How to Provide Excellent Client Service

excellent customer service for spa

excellent customer service for spa

You think you know your business, but how does everyone else see it? Are you providing excellent client service to make your clients coming back for more treatments?

I see all too often, salon owners can build a business solely around themselves, and are totally blinkered to everything and everyone around them. Don’t get me wrong, your business needs to take on your identity, but it also needs to identify the needs of your clients.

The only way you can truly know what your clients want is to ask them in general conversation, but make sure you are not only hearing what you want to hear. You could also be more formal and do an anonymous questionnaire if you prefer.

Clients will often open up more to your staff, but you need to take on board everything you are told and act on it as soon as possible…good or bad! As we all know some clients do like to have a bit of a moan, so please only question clients who you know will give you honest constructive feedback.

Never ignore the moaners or their gripes will get told to all their friends and possible future clients if you don’t address them in a positive manner.

Do you really know if your clients like the music you play, or does it become irritating to them? This is the kind of information you need, whether you think it is relevant or not. These little things can be the difference between a good client experience and a great one.

It is far easier and cheaper to keep your existing clients happy than constantly having to look at new ways to source extra ones. A happy client will tell all of her friends, bringing in a stream of new clients. But equally so an unhappy client will also tell all of her friends, which could literally cost you your business!

It really is the little things that make the difference. Excellent customer service costs nothing but unfortunately a lot of salons just can’t be bothered to go that extra mile to make a client feel special and valued.

People love to feel part of something and your staff and clients are no different and should totally feel part of your business.

Businesses pay consultants huge fees to analyse their organisations, yet they haven’t even consulted their own staff or clients as to where they can improve. You have your own personal team of consultants at your fingertips. Make sure you use them!

Susan Routledge works with salons, spas and clinics to help them to get the most out of their businesses. You can contact Susan here>>