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Jan 15, 2022
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Dublin Ireland
In a Salon setting how do you run your reception?

We open 7 days. I have a receptionist 6 days per week about 10 - 6 each day to help allocate clients , take phone bookings, deal with walk in bookings .
Everything is normally booked in advanced.

My problem is like everything and everyone costs . I am trying to reduce out goings as much as possible.

I can't cut back on therapist as they are genuinely busy never ideal .
I'm always on the best hunt doe product deals,

So i was thinking of Shaving 10 hrs a week off reception but don't want to cause chaos .

So would love to hear from others
The fact your therapists are very busy and you’re looking to cut expenses is fine. But when it’s to the detriment of client experience - IE receptionist not being around etc. then you need to look at the real problem.

The problem is you aren’t earning enough to keep things profitable enough to make the current setup financially work.

The only answer is to raise client prices.
Sounds like you really do need your receptionist so time to put your prices up to keep him/her.
I definitely need to keep them on busy hours. Our prices are up as much as possible .
So I am just looking for Ideas around reducing costs .
You may find that your receptionist is busy with low value enquiries - reschedules, cancellations, asking questions that could be answered by reading your website. We liked giving a personal service - but it didn’t pay the bills. When our receptionist left I didn’t replace her. Now I don’t “have time” for people that “need to speak to someone”. These are the people that don’t have their card available to pay a deposit to secure a booking, or need a lot of reassurance before they spend money. Lovely people who like to chat - you can’t build a business that pays the bills out of these people

I have Phorest booking which a lot of people find quite expensive. Like many other booking systems it does enable online booking off your website.

I’ve got the “rebook here” link in my client confirmation emails and reminders and also on the signature line of our emails. I’ve also set up auto replies to emails with a booking link. Our ansaphone message tells people to email in order to get a booking link.

I’ve been cautiously experimenting to make sure I get the bookings that I want - I was afraid that I’d get low value bookings “parked” in the middle of a large booking space. You can make some services not bookable online which helped with that problem (I created treatment bundles for my most popular combinations) and also “block off” some time that you can open up for a booking you really want.

It’s worked for me.

I’d try and shave off an hour at the end of the day and 2 hours on Saturday. You don’t get walk-ins at the end of the day I find.
Even before we had no receptionist we had a daily worksheet that we kept at reception. This was a simple sheet of paper drawn up into columns where we could write in every enquiry with client name, contact details, enquiry details, the initials of the person dealing and a tick off box for me.

This enabled me to double check our conversion rate, numbers of turn aways and for what (and when). It enabled me to deliver targeted training, fine tune my availability and gave me a resource to call if we had a cancellation or to grab business that we should have said yes to.

Over time I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t afford to lose the business that slipped through the fingers of my lovely receptionist and therapist team. My receptionist is replaced with online booking and I answer the email enquiries. Our door is locked and the phone is rarely answered. It’s mostly sales calls nowadays, the business looks after itself.
Aren't you already using some sort of Salon management solution?
Cause like TheDuchess mentioned, there's Phorest. But I know there some other damn good solutions as well.

Have you looked at Fresha or Mangomint? Both are great and pretty easy to use.
I think Mangomint is at around $165 for 10 therapists. And I think this also has SMS/email reminders for your clients.
I know Fresha is great too, but has a commission model. Not sure about the commission percentage, though.

Something like that might actually help reducing complete dependency on your receptionist.
So, maybe you could try starting off with some sort of solution and seeing if it helps, and then proceed to shaving of an hour a day from the receptionist?
Hi , Thanks so much , Yes we use Treatwell which is great but they are switching model to pro and currently doesnt do what I want it to do so I definitely need to shop around.
Phorest works out more expensive then Treatwell.

I have manged to switch a good % of booking online and can definitely set up a system for phones .

Definitely need to shave hours so might do it 2 hours per day see how that works out .
Similar to @TheDuchess, I don't have a receptionist. It certainly has it's pros and cons. As I'm working solo, I can get away with it, but I imagine there is just more admin with a larger set-up.

Although the type of guest who requires cooing over the phone or must come to speak in person isn't my "soulmate client" as I want guests who are self sufficient, many of these old-school clients have proven to be of a high value for my business.

To capture the useful phone calls, I set up a tele-receptionist service before opening. They take the phone number, first and last name and a note from what the caller mentioned.

The telereceptionist has my website address and directs them to my website for further information or to book. Many people go on to book online from this interaction which is great.

I get an email after the call ends which contains all the details from the caller with a number to phone when I finish my day at the studio.

The teIe-receptionist service I use is called Smart Numbers, however there are other options available around the country.

Extending your therapist turnover can aid in some reception duties, I have a 30-minute buffer which is pretty long, but it allows me to properly clean down my room, check out the guest, go over aftercare, give them a tea to take away, sell the odd product and rebook them without the experience feeling hurried as well as shift over my laundry.

Lastly, giving your therapist extra hours, such as an early or late team could alleviate duties that a receptionist would care for. Getting them in 1 hour prior to the first guest can give the therapist time to set-up for the day, sort laundry, refresh barbicide, check inventory, and do call backs etc. Similarly the last therapist of the day can aid in shutting down the spa for the night.

This system covers my needs without requiring a receptionist. The biggest sacrifice is that I can't capture walk-ins or people who just want to come in and chat about our services and offerings (and just see the space).
Thank you , this had given me food for thought especially the phone service.

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