Customer Service

Opportunity Only Rings Twice

A client’s first telephone experience with your salon should include a quick response and a cheery hello.

A ringing cash register starts with a ringing phone — how a client is treated on the phone often determines whether she’ll make her appointment and become a steady client. Make sure your telephone service is as good as your technical service by following these simple customer service principles.

Answer the phone in three rings or less. Your potential client begins to form her opinion of your salon as soon as the phone starts ringing. If it rings more than three times, the client may give up on reaching you and hang up.

Answer the phone with a professional greeting.“Good morning. Ultimate Salon, Karen Rice speaking. How may I help you?” or “Ultimate Salon, good afternoon.” The tone of your voice tells as much as what you actually say. Your client will respond positively to a clear, cheerful greeting.

Your answering machine or voicemail message should be as welcoming as a personal greeting. Answering machines are a necessary business tool that most people have gotten used to. Your message reflects your salon. It should be clear, friendly, and easy to understand. Avoid overly cute messages with loud background music. Try to include your hours, location, service specialty, any special events, and when you will return the call. For example: “Thank you for calling Missy’s Salon. We do award-winning nails from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at the Coast Mall. Your call is very important to us and we will return your call ASAP.”

Have you considered a plan for message-taking during working hours? Decide on a central place to put messages; try the Post-it telephone message forms for desks of stations.

Use the hold button sparingly. Both lines are ringing and a client is waiting at the reception desk. What do you do? Answer the phone saying, “Good morning, Tip Top Salon, can you hold please?” Always wail for a reply before you put someone on hold, and get back to them as quickly as possible. Remember, 30 seconds seems like five minutes to the person on hold.

Quote prices with confidence. “How much is a full set?” asks the caller. “Our sets are $50,” responds the salon with poor telephone tactics. The salon that earns the business and the high prices says, “Thank you for your interest! We apply thin, sleek nails that are so natural-looking they can be worn without polish. We also include a home-care kit with our full sets, and our fee is just $50. When would it be convenient for you to come in?”

Both salons offer comparable services and products. But salon #2 took a few extra seconds to include a free advertisement. Salon #2’s answer showed enthusiasm, created an image of beautiful nails, created interest in the kit, and then assumed the client would book an appointment. Which salon would you book with?

Fail-SafeBooking Over The Phone

If you have a busy salon, sometimes booking an appointment is tough. Staying polite and patient can become a challenge. Try to avoid the “N” word whenever possible.

This response to a request for immediate appointment doesn’t work: “No, (laugh), Susie can’t fit you in today.” This one does: “Susieis really busy today, but I know she’d love to see you. Let me cheek to see when her first available opening is.”

This response is non-productive: “No, you can’t be 15 minutes late!” This one works: “I know how hectic some days can be, Ms. Jones. Ours are often that way, too. Susie really needs to stay on time in order to accommodate her other clients. Can you come in at 4 p.m., or should we reschedule you.

After you do agree on a booking, try the Fail-Safe Five-Point Booking System. It goes like this:

“(Point #1: technician’s name) will see you at (point #2: time) on (point #3: date) for a (point #4: service) and your phone number is (point #5: phone number).”

This five-point system can save you from making those awful booking mistakes that can happen during busy times.

These telephone tricks and truths apply to everyone, whether you work alone, with a team, or with a receptionist. The telephone can become your power tool when used to its maximum potential.

Telephone Talk: What Works, What Doesn’t


Client Request

What Works

What Doesn’t

“Can you give me directions to the salon?”

“Yes, I’d be happy to help you. Could you please hold for just a moment?”

“I’m really busy right now. Please call back in a few minutes.”

“How much is a full set?”

“That you for your interest! Our thin, sleek, natural-looking nails, which come with a home-care kit, are $50.”

We don’t normally quote prices over the phone, but it’s $50.”

“I’d like to get a manicure with Sue.”

“Sue is really busy today, but let me check to see when her next available appointment is.”

“No, Sue can’t fit you in today.”

“I’m calling to say I’ll be 15 minutes late.”

“We know how hectic schedules can be. Sue also needs to stay on schedule. Could you possibly come in at 4 p.m. today?”

“No, if you’re that late we can’t take you.”

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