Small Business Marketing Blog

March 19, 2010

Small Business Customer Service: Lessons from a Recent Haircut

Filed under: Business — Robin Witt @ 6:40 am

Customer service lessons at the salonFinding a new hair stylist is a big deal for most women (and I suppose a lot of men also.) Recently I’ve been searching for a new stylist, so I’ve had an opportunity to experience several different salons here in the San Diego area. Here are the three things I’m looking for:

I want a quality haircut. I define this as something that looks good with minimal care and does not require a lot of product intervention or excessive styling. I don’t have a lot of time to spend making my hair look good by propping it up with tons of hairspray or endless styling routines.

I want a haircut that looks good on me. Sometimes a stylist will give you a nice looking style, but if you don’t share the same physical characteristics as the model, it doesn’t look good on you. Not everyone looks good in every style. (By the way fashion designers, who does look good in those cropped pants? I don’t know of too many people whose legs are so long, that they require cropping.)

I want a stylist that cares about me. The last stylist I went to was more interested in the employee working next to her than to me. I am not a needy person, but I do want the full attention of the stylist I am talking to, paying, and referring others to.  

At first glance this list may seem valuable only for getting a haircut, but I think these points represent universal desires shared by most consumers.  See if you agree that customers want these three things:

  1. Expertise. Whether it is a dentist, car mechanic, financial planner, etc., customers want to work with someone who knows what they are doing and gets good results.
  2. Customization.  Customers want products and services that are ideally suited for them.  The perfect solution is the one that is perfect for you, and that generally does not come under the category of “one size fits all.”
  3. Care. With so many choices these days, customers are expecting personal attention and maybe a little influence too. It doesn’t have to be extensive—just the idea that you matter. No one wants to be a number.  It is always more satisfying to do business where you are appreciated.

While this list does not hit all the wants and needs of every customer; I think if you get these three basics right you are well on your way to having happy customers.  And as you may have noticed, I did not include price in the equation. It is not that I think price is unimportant, I just don’t know if it is one of the factors that I would include in my top three. 

What do you think?  How does this match up with your desires as a customer?  I’d appreciate your comments below.



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