Front desk staff members can be vital to help keep your studio running smoothly. From helping yogis sign-up for memberships, keeping the studio maintained and serving as a resource for members, front desk staff can help lift responsibilities from studio owners and teachers so they can focus on their other duties.
Kaitlyn Ellis, the director of operations at MI Yoga Room, with two locations in Michigan, noted there are several things that make their front desk staff great.
“Our mission is ‘Your place for inner peace” and it starts at the front desk,” said Ellis. “MI Yoga Room is a community, an experience, it is a path: a path to inner peace. From the second a student steps through our door, it’s our responsibility to help the them discover their path.”
The Power of the Front Desk
The front desk at MI Yoga Room welcomes, invites and gets the student seamlessly into the classroom, where he or she will experience a gradual increase in the sense of safety, release and wellbeing throughout their time there. Ellis said this same sense of wellbeing is reinforced to lead a lasting impression by the front desk, circling back with students after class.
“We have an ‘it’s about you’ philosophy,” said Ellis. “Entering our doors, the front desk’s whole purpose is to give the student attention to reaffirm the sense of relief, safety and peace that comes from entering our space. This is crucial to create an atmosphere in which our students can heal.”
Hiring the Right People
Ensuring your members have a great experience means first making sure you hire the right person to manage the desk.
Ellis recommends finding someone passionate about your brand and studio, or who has a sincere interest in learning about it. “When someone has a genuine interest in helping, their authenticity shines through, the students can sense it and get excited themselves,” she said.
It is also important to look for individuals with good communication skills who are able to look at people in the eyes and talk with them. “Our job is personal, and our studio is a home. We want to get to know you and for you to get to know us,” said Ellis. “We want to be side-by-side with you every step of the way on your yoga journey, and in order to do that, we have to be able to communicate, make you feel seen and heard.”
Her final piece of advice for hiring is to seek individuals who pay attention to detail. This is more than smiling and shaking hands. They should notice small details like ‘perhaps this person would be better served with a different membership.’ They should be good at maintaining the appearance of the studio and paying close attention to the software system to make sure everything is correct.
Train Your Front Desk Staff Properly
The best way to ensure your members are receiving the care and respect they deserve from your front desk staff is to make sure your staff gets the proper training.
Ellis said it’s important to make sure they understand all of your products and services in depth, and hopefully from personal experience. “For example, we encourage our staff to sample our products and get to know them,” she said. “The best sales people are typically also the people who use and believe in what they are selling. That first-hand experience is second to none.”
This first-hand experience is why Ellis also recommends encouraging your staff to take yoga classes at the studio. This allows your front desk staff to experience first-hand the services you offer, which in turn becomes useful in recommending the proper class and package.
Finally, your front desk staff should be kind and have fun, while still holding to your values and policies.There is a delicate balance between fun and work; MI Yoga Room makes it both. “Finding ways to make work fun incentivizes your staff and makes it better for you as well,” said Ellis. “Be the place people want to work because mutual respect has been established and everyone enjoys their jobs.”
Ellis shares her final three things that make a great front desk staff:
“Our Front Desk is passionate about what they do and watching the growth of our students in their own practice. This radiates to our students, motivating them and building a personal relationship.”
2. A desire to help and learn
“A studio is only as strong as the heart and efforts put into its workings, and this truly takes a community. Without the help of everyone involved, it will never be at its best. We are always learning and growing with the desire to help.”
3. Pride in supporting our mission statement
“If someone is hired in to be at the forefront of the studio, they must be able to serve as a part of our mission, to be “Your Place for Inner Peace.” Creating a calm, clean and caring environment for our students coming in is what creates a safe haven for them, keeping them returning for that hour of peace and clarity.”