1. Booking Basics

Booking an appointment with a stylist that matches your wants and needs is a lot more complicated than you might think, but if the salon you are looking to book with has a full front desk staff, they are there to help you. Front desk receptionists are your gatekeepers to getting the best color, cut and style and can sometimes help pair a client with a stylist for life.

Here are 10 pro tips from a seasoned front desk receptionist that will help you get the most out of your next salon experience.

2. Do Your Research

If you are curious about booking with a specific salon, spend some time researching their stylists before calling in. Many salons not only have reviews and information available on Yelp but also have their own websites with stylist bios, photos, pricing and specialty listings. Spending a little extra time becoming familiar with the salon you are interested in and learning about others’ experiences with these stylists can be an incredible asset to you when booking an appointment. This prior knowledge will allow you to ask more important questions about your future appointment than just what days and times are available this week for a cut and color.

3. Ask Questions, Answer Honestly

Finding what works for your hair can sometimes be a trial and error process, but if you’re asking the right kinds of questions, the journey can be a lot easier. A good front desk receptionist will ask you what your schedule is like in order to match you with someone who can work with your availability, what your hair texture is like (curly, straight, wavy, fine, thin, thick, coarse), the price point you are looking to hit for your service, and if you are making a big change or just wanting to freshen up your cut or color.

It’s important to be aware of these fundamental questions before calling in. If the receptionist doesn’t ask, make these facts known to them so you don’t end up booking with someone who can’t cut or color your hair properly. For example, if you have curly hair, you want to book with someone who has experience and specializes in cutting your curls versus someone who is more experienced with straight, blunt cuts. For many, it’s especially difficult to embrace curls when you’re not getting the right cut.

4. Know What You Want

Knowing what kind of service to book for can be incredibly difficult for some of the more indecisive folk out there, but knowing what you want to do with your style and color is key to booking an appointment you’ll be happy with. Different services require different amounts of time and effort, so if you don’t know what you want, it’s difficult for a receptionist to put you on the books.

5. When in Doubt, Schedule a Consultation

The best thing you can do to prepare for an appointment, especially if you are unsure of exactly what you are wanting to do with your new style or color, is to book a consultation. Many salons offer free 15-minute consultations that allow for you to get to know your stylist a little bit better, ask questions and find out more details about pricing. Plus, it’s always best for the stylist to see your hair in person in order to assess what kind of service needs to be done to achieve the look you’re going for.

Did you pull a Topanga? It may seem inconvenient to stop in for a consult during a hair emergency, but it’s better to talk to your stylist beforehand if you are unsure, especially if you are making a big color or correctional cut transition.

6. Book Your Appointments in Advance

Want to be on your both the receptionist’s and your stylist’s good side for life? Book your appointments in advance. Whether you have a schedule that’s pretty flexible or packed tight, it’s best to book your appointments in advance in order to secure a spot for your next color and cut. Especially around peak seasons, you don’t want to be stuck with outgrowth when your stylist is booked out a month in advance. Cancellation lists are always an option, but you can’t always count on a serendipity.

7. Don’t be Afraid to Follow-Up

Questions, comments, concerns? Don’t be afraid to give the front desk a call! If you need to move an appointment around, find out more information about your stylist, the service or pricing, it never hurts to check in with the front desk with questions. Some stylists even provide their clients with personal contact information in case there are any questions about future appointments or maintenance.

8. Be on Time

The worst thing you can do is to be late for or no-show your appointment. The front desk is responsible for making sure each stylist’s clients are checking in and out for their appointments in a timely fashion, so if you are late or don’t show up at all for your appointment, it makes it very difficult for your stylist to maintain their schedule and accommodate you for your current service and even future appointments.

If you are running a few minutes behind, please give the front desk a call as soon as possible. It’s understandable to be running a few minutes late due to traffic, weather or general life situations clogging up the day, but if you are running severely behind for your appointment, you may have to reschedule. Ultimately, it’s better to reschedule than to show up 25 minutes late just to be turned away. Plus, if you notify the front desk of your time frame, there’s always a chance that your stylist can accommodate you if he or she doesn’t have appointments scheduled with someone else right after yours, or if your stylist has an opening later on in the day for at least part of the service, if not all.

Many salons require a range of 24-48 hours notice for cancellations, so if you demonstrate frequent bad behavior, receptionists may be instructed to exclude you from special offers and last-minute openings with your stylist. After a third strike, you may even be asked to leave your credit card information before booking an appointment, or you might be asked to make a deposit for the service.

9. Be Thorough

It’s important to be thorough, especially when it comes to matters of color. It may be tempting to leave out information in order to be booked for an appointment quickly, but being impatient can become a nightmare, especially if you are leaving a gap in your hair history. Especially when it comes to color, don’t be hasty or leave out information about your hair and what your needs are. Being thorough ensures you’re getting what you want with your service the first time.

10. Give Honest Feedback

If you had a fabulous service and love your new cut or color, let someone at the front desk know. Management will love the feedback and will also be sure to pass it along to your stylist. Feedback helps stylists maintain good standing with management and can lead to positive yearly reviews, raises, and more recognition. In a competitive industry like cosmetology, these are all incredibly important milestones for your stylist, and he or she greatly appreciates your kind words. It can never hurt to say something nice!

The same thing goes for when you have a terrible experience. Always let someone know right away if you are dissatisfied with your service. Nine times out of ten, a salon will offer to either reimburse you for your service, have you come in for a free redo or even both! Whether it was the hair language barrier or a flat-out mistake, your stylist especially doesn’t want you to leave the salon unhappy with your hair, so please speak up! You came in to see your stylist to feel beautiful; there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel like a million bucks when you leave their chair.

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