David Thurston Discusses The Salon Receptionist & Minimizing Salon Drama

I declare that being a salon receptionist is a very challenging job. I would never hire myself as one… because, quite frankly, I suck at it. Like an air traffic controller, they have to land planes (your clients) onto multiple runways (your appointment books) without having any of the planes collide… and they do this while greeting a client, saying goodbye to another, and handling 2 clients ready to pay.

At many salons, 90% of drama revolves around the front desk - and this can be avoided.

When hiring front desk staff, we like to hire those who don’t mind rolling up their sleeves and getting dirty while working behind the scenes, and then return to the front desk looking like they’re the type of person who would never get dirty.

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It’s a critical position, because they’re the first person clients connect with. Because of this, I feel it’s important to develop a “system” for how they greet clients so that each client is greeted the same way, and therefore the salon owner and the stylists can go about their work feeling confident their clients are getting exceptional customer service even when they’re not present. At Butterfly Loft, the system requires the stylists to use each client’s name four times in every visit.

It’s impossible to have a harmonious salon if the receptionist has a dozen different bosses, each with different expectations. A salon owner or manager must be strong and make the front desk staff their employees only. Unfortunately, I see too many salons where the owner/manager doesn’t have the receptionists’ back and leaves them vulnerable and exposed to take the brunt of all client and stylist issues. Drama ensues. If you don't have their backs, they won't have yours. And if you're not intimately managing them, you're not doing your job

And stylists… make sure to do your part to minimize drama, and respect that they’re not your employees, have their backs, and thank them often. 

- David at Butterfly Loft

About: David Thurston is the founder of Butterfly Loft salon and Ubungalows Luxury Salon Suites, that combined make up a 10,000 square foot salon and spa located in Los Angeles, California.  He is also the founder of Butterfly Circus, a touring education team made up of some of the most recognizable stylists in the world, who collaborate to put on large hair shows.  David is also the co-founder of Butterfly Loft Academy, a hands-on education company that teaches the latest Balayage, color melt, and vivid/pastel coloring techniques. Follow Butterfly Loft on Instagram.

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