The saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Perhaps with that in mind, the staff at Honor Yoga has created a detailed strategy intended to ensure that the first impression they leave with clients is a welcoming one, with the goal of treating every patron like a seasoned member of the studio.
At the center of the all-inclusive approach utilized by the Honor Yoga studios is the language used to communicate with studio visitors.
“When asked how we make our front desk welcoming, our response is that we don’t use desks,” said Maria Turco, CEO and co-founder of Honor Yoga. “Part of what is key in creating a community connection and welcoming environment is that we aren’t behind a desk. Instead, you’ll find our host and hostesses moving and mingling within the lobby.”
Within the lobby, Honor Yoga students will find soft and comfortable seating, rugs and cubbies for personal items. “Anyone should be able to walk in and take class with nothing more than themselves,” said Turco. “We have mats, props, hair ties, water, essential oil mat spray, everything available.”
Visitors to the studio can also expect to hear their greeters referred to as hosts or hostesses, as opposed to what are often acknowledged simply as “front desk managers”— another nod to the attention Honor Yoga pays to the language they use.
“The message we want to convey is that visitors, members, or students are not checking in, but are being welcomed and greeted, personally. Like any good hostess this means greeting the person by name,” said Turco, explaining that hosts are given tools that help them eventually memorize the name and photo of all students, in order to help facilitate personalized greeting.
“Questions are important, too,” Turco added, saying that hosts or hostesses are advised to greet patrons by name and ask questions in relation to their practice. Rather than simply, ‘Hi and How are you?’ at Honor we try and engage students with, ‘How is your practice going?’”
At Honor Yoga the staff is not only concerned with the welcome that each guest experiences, but, in Turco’s words, the key message is “inspiring the next phase” of each student’s practice.
“For example, if I’ve been coming consistently for three months a couple times a week, maybe it’s time to suggest an alignment workshop. Or if I’ve been doing three to four classes a week for six months, maybe I’m approached about attending a free Teacher Training session,” explained Turco.
Turco continued, “At Honor, we feel that the time just before and after each class is an important opportunity to communicate with our community members on their individual practice. And it all culminates into a welcoming experience, not just a desk, at Honor Yoga.”