When I closed my salon and returned to booth rental, I specifically looked for a salon that did not have a receptionist. I didn't want someone else responsible for booking my appointments. I wanted to retain control.
Two and a half years later I am still working in a salon that does not have a receptionist. Which in many ways, I love. However, our salon is in a renovated house. Not some cute, Victorian, historical house, but a basic L-shaped, attached garage, “tract home” house from maybe the early to mid ’70s. It actually reminds me a lot of the house I grew up in.
I work in the kitchen. Dining room, actually, but it was more like a little afterthought of a breakfast nook than a separate dining room. The garage has been remodeled and is now part of the overall floor plan. So the backyard is the parking lot and our main entrance is what used to be the back door.
Problem is, we don't have a receptionist. And the entrance into our little "lobby" — which used to be the laundry room — sort of dead-ends. None of us can see the door from our stations. So when someone walks in, there's no one to greet her.
Clients — or would-be clients — could actually come in, sit down, and wait for hours before anyone would notice them! This is mostly because we all work by appointment and make an effort to pay attention to who's sitting around in the lobby only if we are waiting for someone we haven't met yet. If there's a stranger in the lobby, they must be waiting on someone else. Or they'll eventually get tired of being ignored and either actually make an effort to flag someone down or they'll go away. Honestly, our salon's location is not conducive to walk-ins. And that's the way we like it.
But every so often I'll have a client who chooses to come in and sit and wait there in the oubliette/lobby without ever poking her head around the corner (seriously, just around the corner) to let me know she’s arrived. I have extra seating in my area and I encourage my clients to join me even if I'm still finishing up on the previous client. But, like I said, sometimes people just sit and wait. Which means that on more than one occasion I have found myself falling all over myself apologizing for any negative comments my waiting client has overheard as I say good bye to a client, clean my station, and begin to wonder where the !$*@! my next client is and why she hasn’t called. When, oops, there she is, right on the other side of the wall, all of 4 feet away from me.
I don't like this set up. I firmly believe that every customer of every business — with the exception of car dealerships — should expect a friendly acknowledgement upon entering. No one has to swoop down on you and make you feel pressured to buy or do anything, but there should always be a representative of the business to look up at you, smile warmly, and say hello! In the case of a salon, "Hello! Who are you here to see?" or "Hello! Someone will be right with you."
So today I decided I want a receptionist. One who does nothing more than receive my clients. Someone to acknowledge them and give me a heads up that they've arrived, offers them a beverage and a magazine, but leaves me in charge of scheduling and handling money.
Now all I have to do is find someone who will work for nails.