First Impressions

The Power of The Front Desk

We all know that you can’t undo a bad first impression. But, what if the first impression of your business is not entirely in your hands? No matter how talented your estheticians are, a spa’s front desk holds all the marbles when it comes to making that important first impression when a client calls or first walks in the door. The client’s interaction with your receptionist or check-in staff should be treated as part of the treatment itself. In fact, it is just as important, if not more so, than the treatment, as the front desk is where the client will rebook or make a retail purchase. By training your front desk staff as though they, too, are providing a service to the client, you can create a unified and seamless spa experience for everyone who walks


Each of your staff members interacts with clients, but your front desk has the important task of phone interactions. Phone calls are often the first impression a new client has of your establishment. Clients will ask themselves, “Do they sound educated? Do they seem trustworthy? Are they organized?” These are all aspects of your business that a client will decide before they ever walk through the door. Training the staff properly on phone etiquette, how to handle complaints, and how to schedule over the phone is vital. Your staff should know the schedule, and know the menu like the back of their hand to make the scheduling process as quick and seamless as possible for the client on the line. The ease with which your staff answers questions, resolves scheduling conflicts, and avoids placing guests on hold makes a big difference in the overall perception of your spa’s commitment to customer service.

Training the staff properly on phone etiquette, how to handle complaints, and how to schedule over the phone is vital.


Though not the most enjoyable part of a spa experience, it is one that every client has, no matter what service they are receiving. Add the following to your front desk training program to make a great first impression:

Every morning, your front desk staff should review the book for that day. Be aware of who is coming in, at what time, and for what service. This is the best time to catch scheduling mistakes and anticipate which enhancements to offer. Greet the client by name (if known) as soon as they approach the desk!

Confirm the service or services the client is scheduled for when they arrive. If there is a mistake, you don’t want to catch it when the client is in the locker room, or worse, after the treatment is finished. Acknowledging the service ahead of time removes room for error, and makes the client feel like you have been awaiting her arrival.

Make sure that your front desk staff is using the level of language that you desire can make a huge difference in how your client is received.

As the spa manager or owner, it’s important to lead by example when training your desk staff. Spending the majority of the day at the desk, checking in clients, is the best way for your employees to learn. They will see how you do it, and they will emulate it. Desk staff should never feel that their role is not important, or that you have a lower expectation level for them. Their job is vital to the success of the business, and your spending time at the desk will reinforce that notion.


Your estheticians and spa therapist are highly trained on the complex and varying protocols of each of your treatments. They know the products used, the ingredients, and for what type of client each service is intended. This knowledge should not be a secret! Your front desk staff should be just as educated about the treatments as your service providers are.

The more detailed information your staff can give about a treatment, the more likely it is that your client will schedule. Making it more of a personal review, rather than a description of the menu, makes clients feel more trusting when deciding to book a service.

The level of knowledge across all of your spa staff should be consistent. Just as the front desk should be aware of the products and ingredients used in treatment, the therapists need to be aware of the check in/out process, as well as any cancellation or scheduling policies.


The best time to schedule a client’s next appointment is when they are relaxed and satisfied after their present appointment. Don’t let a client slip through the door without interacting with your front desk before leaving. If you see a client approaching the door, ask them how their service was. Inquiring about the quality of the treatment is the first step to opening the dialogue about rescheduling.

Should the client have any complaints, this is your chance to correct it and invite them back and ensure them that everything will be to their satisfaction when they return. If the client was completely satisfied, great! Invite him or her to return for another fabulous experience. Small discounts or incentives are also a great way to encourage rebooking. Give your staff the confidence and freedom to offer a 10% discount or free product samples if they feel that is the necessary push to get that client back in the door. Empower them!