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Industry • Best Practice

Stop Ghosting Clients With These Virtual Receptionist Solutions

Leave your clients and your team feeling taken care of and supported, regardless of the time of day or the employee behind the desk.

When salons fail to answer calls, those missed calls mean missed business. There may not be a perfect way for salons to guarantee they answer every single phone call, but the good news is that there are other ways to be available to clients around the clock. Today there's a virtual receptionist for every budget. This article will examine the primary reasons salons miss calls and explore the reasons a virtual receptionist is a must-have to make sure valuable opportunities don’t fall through the cracks.

Why do salons miss calls from clients?

There are many reasons salon staff might not be sitting by the phone when a call comes in, but they all lead to leaving money on the table.

Full-time receptionists are costly

Not all salons can afford to hire an employee that is dedicated exclusively to everything reception entails. Without a full-time staff receptionist, salon owners, managers, stylists, or assistants often take on those receptionist duties on top of their other responsibilities. Cobbling together a receptionist role out of multiple hires with other primary duties is going to lead to missed calls one way or another.

Receptionists are often multi-tasking

Even when salons do have a dedicated receptionist on staff, the duties associated with the role are numerous: answering phones, responding to emails, scheduling appointments, welcoming clients, processing payments, and providing customer service to anyone who needs it. Sometimes receptionists are also responsible for creating staff schedules, interfacing with vendors, managing inventory, and more. With so much going on, some calls are going to fall by the wayside. 

Stylists sometimes run their own reception

Stylists sometimes manage their own businesses within a salon environment, leaving each individual responsible for making bookings, tending to clientele, and being a service provider, all at once. That makes it hard for customers to get timely answers to questions that a salon owner or dedicated receptionist might otherwise take care of, like location, hours, directions, etc. Segmenting stylists in this way also means that salon owners can’t introduce clientele to other providers in the family that might be a better scheduling match or might specialize in a particular kind of service.

Common issues like these make virtual receptionists incredibly important for salons that want to take advantage of every opportunity. There are several scalable ways to introduce a virtual reception component to your business, so look for the features that are the best match for your needs and your clients’ expectations.

Virtual reception solution #1: automated chat

One of the most important functions of reception is the ability to get clients what they need quickly, whether that’s answers to popular questions or appointments with stylists. AI-powered chatbots can take care of most of those tasks, so your human front-of-house staff (or employees who are picking up reception duties) can focus on more involved interactions that require a finer touch. Looking for parking information, double checking about pricing, or finding out more about stylists? Those are all things a chatbot receptionist can deliver directly to customers, and the best part is that automation makes for reliable support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Virtual reception solution #2: text messaging

Text messaging is a dominant form of communication for consumers today, and that goes for interactions with businesses and brands as much as it does for chats with mom and dad or your BFF. Consumers open 98% of the text messages they receive, and they respond to 45% of them. That means that transitioning your reception desk from a phone-first approach to a reliance on texting will satisfy your clients and make your staff’s jobs easier at the same time. If you want to go fully virtual instead, look for a text-based chatbot that moves the always-on AI-powered response service.

Virtual reception solution #3: answering service

Doctors have answering services, why can’t salons? Even if your salon keeps standard business hours, that doesn’t mean your clients only need support within that time frame. An answering service extends your availability by making sure there’s always someone there to answer the phone, even if it’s not a core member of your staff. While salon emergencies may not be as serious or urgent as medical emergencies, offering a human being on the other end of the line 24/7 unlocks a whole new level of customer support. Modern technology also unlocks AI solutions that emulate the quality of human service.

Virtual reception solution #4: routing and forwarding

For some salons, a 24/7 answering service that stacks up memos during off hours just means a monstrous to-do list for the next day’s opening shift. In that case, a service that routes and forwards calls to the right person might be a better virtual reception option. Think of it as triage — some questions are easy to answer with cut-and-dry responses (no pun intended), while others need to be escalated to someone else on salon staff. Whether that’s a specific stylist or the salon owner, making sure the call gets to the right person will give clients a more satisfying experience and more accurate answers.

Virtual reception solution #5: self-service booking

Digital bookings are one of the most obvious ways to introduce virtual reception capabilities to your salon business. Taking client appointments, staff scheduling, and all the issues that come up along the way off your employees’ plates will free them up to deal with more pressing customer service concerns. Make it easy for clients to get all the information they need and book appointments with the stylists they love (or find a stylist to fall in love with!) directly on your website, and you’ll cut down on the risk of missed calls leading to abandoned opportunities.

Salons aren’t going to be run by robots anytime soon. All the same, selecting the right virtual reception tools for your business will make the humans that are the heart and soul of your salon happier, more effective, and more successful in the long run. A myriad of options are available, but if you’re already a Boulevard customer (or Boulevard-curious!) check out our Contact Center add-on to streamline multi-device communication.

Boulevard was built to help your business achieve profitability at scale without losing an inch of sanity. See for yourself! Get a free demo today.