“How To Have An Exceptional Front Desk Experience In A COVID Era”
Is your front desk service lacking? As an aesthetic business owner, normal business operations equate to a day already filled with stressful workloads. Throw in a global pandemic, disgruntled clients, and a stressed-out team, and you have the perfect environment for chaos.
Your front desk team will likely be the first interaction your clients have with your business. As such, this public-facing position must be refined and exceptional. With the added pressures your team faces in this Covid Era, maintaining world-class services may not be top of mind for them.
In this guide, I will discuss areas of your front desk service that deserve your attention. We will cover best practices for supporting your team and proactively addressing stress management within your business. Together, we can create a front desk experience your clients will rave about!
Managing Your Internal Stress
I believe that your internal stress is the very first place your stress management practices should begin. You can not lead well if you are not first managing your stress. Set a healthy example for your team by creating consistent self-care habits. Here are a few ways leaders can reduce their own overwhelm:
Develop healthy habits. Establish healthy habits that will benefit you both personally and professionally. Make room in your weekly schedule for exercise, a nutritional diet, and rest. Spend time with friends and family. Plan regular vacations to unplug and recharge from the responsibilities of running your business.
Create boundaries. Often, personal stress can invade business decisions and lead to undesired consequences. Set firm boundaries between your work and personal life. Clear boundaries will ease your mental stress and keep you in the right mindset to run your business.
Outsource whenever possible. It can be hard to relinquish the oversight of tasks to others. When you want something done “right” it often seems that doing it yourself is the best way to get the job done. However, the energy it takes to oversee so many tasks, projects, and to-dos can be draining.
Choosing to outsource responsibilities to trustworthy and capable team members is a great way to reduce your stress levels. When you have less you have to oversee; you can focus better on tasks that are more beneficial and profitable for your practice.
Automate your systems. Setting up automated systems in your business can be time-saving and stress-reducing. Ensure tasks such as appointment reminders, review requests, forms, follow-up instructions, and other appropriate processes are automated as much as possible. Automated systems will promote faster service for your clients and remove “to-dos” from your team’s workload.
Working With Stressed Out Team Members
The mental health of employees is not a new concern for aesthetic business leaders. However, it is a mounting one. With the rise of coronavirus, your team member’s feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness are only increasing. Learning how to support stressed members of your team is important for their well-being and the well-being of your business.
Your employees are your single, greatest asset and they need to be cared for as such. Keep empathy at the heart of every conversation and decision. Encourage your team members to practice self-care. Here are a few of the best ways you can advocate for and support your team:
Create A Culture of Connection. Check-in regularly with your team. Make this an intentional habit, asking questions beyond the typical “how are you?”. Truly dive deep and figure out the needs of your individual team members. Plan regular team-building activities where your team can connect and get to know one another outside of work.
Communicate A LOT. Communicate with your team members much more than you believe is necessary. Clarify workloads, confirm schedule changes, and reiterate the rules and standards of your business. Having defined expectations will help your team members dealing with stress and uncertainty. Consistent team meetings are imperative to great communication with your team.
Adjust Policies & Procedures. Take a look at the policies you have surrounding time off, paid & unpaid leave, and team communications. Be as flexible and understanding as possible with team members when they need time off. Encourage them to disconnect from work when they are off, creating boundaries for themselves surrounding work/ personal life balance.
Celebrate Wins. It’s easy for aesthetic business leaders to be so worn out they don’t consider team recognition. However, celebrating wins in your business can work wonders for your team’s morale. Take a look at these stats:
•63% of employees who are recognized are very unlikely to look for another job.*
•40% of employed Americans would put energy into their work if they were recognized more often.*
Celebrating success is not only enjoyable but vital if you want to create a thriving practice with superior customer service. Celebrating wins should be FUN! Make recognition an enjoyable practice for you as well as your team.
Working With Stressed Out Clients.
As clients walk through your doors, there is no doubt that they will be dealing with pressures and stresses of their own. It will be imperative to train your team on how to handle stressed-out clients. Encourage team members to assist even the rudest of clients with utmost friendliness and courtesy. Even angry clients will leave positive reviews when they feel their circumstances have been handled promptly and effectively.
Here are a few ways your team can efficiently serve overwhelmed clients and remain true to your world-class standards.
Connect personally. Happy, satisfied clients are the lifeline to the financial success of your business. Make sure now, more than ever, you and your team are attempting to create deeper, personal connections with clients.
Show your clients that you care by learning their names and being genuine around them. Create engaging conversations and ask questions about their interests. Over time your clients may forget what you have said to them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Even with routine treatments, have your team take the time to call and check in with their clients. Find out the outcome of their treatment and whether they are satisfied. Are they experiencing the results that they were expecting? Clients need to feel appreciated and valued right now more than ever!
Create a relaxing client experience. Make sure when your clients walk through your practice doors, they feel like they have arrived at a destination. Decorate your business in a way that your clients will appreciate. Provide an inviting, stress-free, and clean atmosphere. Appeal to all of your clients’ senses by playing their favorite music, offering individually packaged refreshments, keeping a consistent and eye-pleasing color scheme, as well as diffusing signature scents.
Communicate clearly. Communication has a significant impact on thoughts, feelings, and actions related to stress. Train your team to exercise excellent communication skills when discussing treatments, procedures, or next steps with clients.
Teach your team to be aware of verbal and nonverbal cues clients exhibit when stressed. Help them recognize underlying questions and fears of clients, learning to reassure them in an empathetic and informative manner.
Practice Active Listening. Active listening goes a long way to building trust and rapport with your clients. When they understand that you care about what they are conveying, they will be more patient when communicating with you and your team. Help your team learn how to ask specific, open-ended questions with empathy and interest. Simply feeling heard will often go a long way to diffusing a stressful client situation.
Best Ways To Maintain An Exceptional Front Desk Experience
Next, we will discuss tactical ways you can provide excellent client service from the front desk.
Client Surveys. It is essential to dial in on what your clients want and expect. Did the cleanliness of the waiting room/ treatment rooms meet their expectations? How professional was the esthetician providing their services? Do they feel that any necessary information was communicated to them clearly and concisely?
You can utilize a survey to gather information on new services or products, feedback on future offerings, or reviews about past consultations/ procedures. Welcome both positive and negative feedback, using your newfound information to enhance your front desk experience.
Prepare a short check-out survey that your clients can complete via SMS messaging or through an email link. Ask targeted, tactical questions that you can use to improve procedures. Satisfaction is a major component of retaining your clients, and surveys are a great way to learn more about your client’s wishes.
Training. Even some of the most upscale aesthetic practices fail to provide world-class service. Clients are frequently upset with wait times, lack of communication, or poor follow-up procedures. I have found that a large component of this less than desirable service is a gap in team training.
A LOT goes into creating and maintaining excellent client experiences and it is an ever-changing standard. As an aesthetic business owner, there will never be a time in your business that you should stop considering how to improve your client experience
Formality. Train your team about the importance of their words. As you cultivate a culture of client excellence, a level of formality should be present even in the simplest of actions. Instead of telling a client how to find a room, escort them. Replace “no problem,” with “my pleasure.” Treat everyone with respect, from your team leaders to the delivery man. It can be humbling to treat everyone as an equal. (I call this lateral service.) Remember this respect must be authentic and start with the top to become part of your everyday culture. Adapting formality in your business takes intention and training but is critical to establishing exceptional front desk service.
Thoughtfulness. Your team should also learn to anticipate the needs of your clients. Small gestures such as offering a warm cup of tea on a cold day or adjusting the music in the treatment room go a long way. Anticipating the needs of clients should be a sincere and thoughtful act of service. Ensure your team discusses ways to show thoughtfulness to your clients. Sometimes the simplest moments have the most lasting and memorable impact on your clients.
Convenience. Every interaction that your clients have with the front desk should be one of convenience. From quick appointment setting and payment processing; to providing extra assistance, your team needs to be efficient. People, in general, have a low tolerance for inconvenience. Aesthetic clients have an even lower tolerance. Creating and implementing automated processes can level up client convenience!
Expectation. Another way to ensure world-class service for your clients is to set clear expectations. Ensure your clients know what they can expect from their services, time at the front desk, and interactions with team members. Excellent communication from your team to clients is an essential part of establishing clear expectations and maintaining client satisfaction.
Make sure your team knows in detail what is expected of them. Create defined individual and group metrics for your team. Consistently review team metrics, offering praise and constructive criticism when appropriate. Team members should be fully aware of consequences when expectations are not met. As well as incentives and rewards when they are! Being a good leader does not mean being soft. You can be empathetic and hold people accountable.
Focus. Share the mission and values of your business regularly to help your team align their actions to meet your standards. Scheduling consistent team meetings will prompt the necessary communication to run a practice with exceptional service. Ask your team to come to you about everything from concerns and frustrations to new ideas. As a leader, you have to find the delicate balance between managing your team and supporting their individual needs.
Updated Covid Procedures. During these times, your clients need to know that you prioritize their safety and wellbeing. Remind them of your procedures and safety regulations. Send emails and texts with updated covid procedures. Encourage clients to schedule virtual consults, wear their PPE to appointments, and visit your online store!
Your front desk sets the tone for your whole practice. It will be the first and last interaction that clients have with your business. Dedicating time to stress management, refining procedures, training staff, and connecting with your team will ensure the world-class experience that your clients will love!
Did you have questions about creating an exceptional front desk experience? Have a topic you would like me to discuss? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org!