I Should Just Hire a Receptionist, Part 1

I believe I have mentioned (repeatedly) in the past that I hate being on the phone. Not just for work, but at all; I was terrible at being a teenager. Nevertheless, the job rather requires it.


Only once — no, twice — have I worked at salons that employed receptionists. Those were both also the salons where I spent the least amount of time and was the most miserable. Hmmm, I wonder if there's a connection there? Probably just a coincidence.


A receptionist is — in theory — the one perk that would really appeal to me. Well, a competent receptionist and maybe access to free laser hair removal. But Fate has decreed that I shall work alone in my tiny room in my ivory tower, so I just have to suck it up and answer my own phone.


This takes an extraordinary amount of time away from the process of actually doing nails, however. Getting the blue-tooth headset really has helped, but then I find that I must, inevitably, let go of my client's hand, put down the file, turn to my book (in my case, my computer), and stare blankly at my schedule while I listen to the person on the other end of the line stammer and stutter (and maybe drool a little) as it becomes painfully apparent that they have no clue how to schedule an appointment!


They say, "I'd like to make an appointment to get my nails done."


I say (before letting go of my client,) "OK, what will we be doing?"


They say, "(drool) uhhhhhhh ... well ... uhhhhhhhh ... I have nails on now but I wanted to get the glitter on them."


I say, "Ok, that's no problem, we can just do a backfill. What's your schedule like during the day?"


They say, "uhhhhh ... well I work till 5 but I'm free after that."


By now I am sitting in front of my computer — NOT doing my client's nails while she waits patiently. This is where I say, "Well I'm currently booked after five for the next six weeks. Do you have any time during the daytime? Or would you like me to put you on the cancellation list?"


They say, "Do you have any time on Saturday?"


I say, "I'm sorry, I don't work on weekends."


They say, "(droooooooooooooolllllllll) ... uhhhhhhhhhh. Oh. Ummmmmmm. Ok. Welllllll ..."


At this point I have usually gone back to doing my client's nails. Sometimes I can steer the person on the phone toward understanding my schedule by offering them my next availability, "I have a spot open next Tuesday at 11 in the morning?"


At this point they usually recognize that they really aren't getting in after 5 p.m. for quite some time and usually just politely let me go. Sometimes they get impatient with me and say something like, "You're REALLY booked for the next SIX weeks?!" Which, naturally, means that I'm suddenly booked for the next six MONTHS for them. But eventually they get off the phone and I get to go back to work.


Even when booking an appointment goes smoothly, it takes enough time away from working that it can affect my ability to stay on schedule.


And this is where I decided that I would consider one of the online scheduling programs available that will allow clients to make their own appointments.


And, naturally, this is where the trouble all began.


But more about that next time …

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