How to Make a Memorable First Impression in Your Salon

The first few minutes in a salon can make or break a client's experience. Guests can decide if they like the space, if it's a professional environment and whether or not they'll be coming back all in the time it takes to check in at the front desk. In a post on summitsalon.comdirector of the front desk division for Summit Salon Business Center Kristi Venezuela says clients have a predetermined expectation of what they feel qualifies as good customer care, and it all starts at the front desk—what she calls "the first impression area."

Venezuela goes on to share a number of components that are detrimental to the first impression area. Some common mistakes that she frequently sees include:

  1. Lack of consistency between team members
  2. Poor language skills
  3. Lack of knowledge on services, products and pricing
  4. Missed opportunities to go above and beyond with the guest experience
  5. Poor systems at check out—the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing
  6. Lack of follow up phone calls and e-mails

"The best way to stray away from making these mistakes is to focus on the five areas of a first impression," Venezeula says in her post. "By recognizing what they are and understanding what the ideal scenario is, you'll be able to start wowing your guests." 

According to Venezuela, here are the five factors that add up to a successful first impression:

  1. Phone Skills
    • Qualified, friendly people answering the phone; can answer all questions regarding services, products, prices, etc. in an efficient, pleasant, and professional way, and is consistent each time a customer calls in.
  2. Brand Image
    • Does the appearance of your staff and your brand match the idea of what clients “thought” it would be?
  3. Greeting
    • Efficient, friendly, retail area is exciting and easy to browse; front desk team offers other opportunities if time allows for guest.
  4. Building Rapport
    • At the station, stylist performs a signature/thorough consultation; price is given and explained before the service starts; stylist is friendly and personable, but respects clients' boundaries. 
  5. Closing
    • Efficient check out with service provider and front desk team. All products recommendations and re-book recommendation should be written down and handed to the front desk professional to assure an efficient and professional check out. Service provider should introduce the guest to the front desk person who will be helping check them out, then the service provider needs to leave the front desk—don't hover or hang out. (Hanging out looks like the service provider doesn’t trust the front desk with the process of taking money, tip, or scheduling.)