Think about it.
I had just moved into the area and was looking for a new hairdresser. Someone that was a bit closer to home. A colleague recommended this particular salon to me on the basis of the customer service, working environment, quality of the service. I rang up in advance to book an appointment and a somewhat incoherent receptionist answers the phone. After a series of indifferent responses I made the appointment, “oh, she is having a bad hair day” I thought. After all, my friend did say that this hairdressing salon was good.
So on the appointed day, quite forgetting the booking incident, I set off to the hairdressers, looking forward to a morning of pampering (I have also booked my manicure straight after that). I turn up and a feeling of trepidation swept over me – the shop looks quite shabby – pictures of models and various hairdressing products cover the shop windows, forming a makeshift window blind. There is no one at the reception desk, although two young women stood further down in the room deeply engrossed in conversation, unaware that someone had just walked in. I had a quick look around and saw that the equipment that were visible – straighteners, dryers all looked a bit dingy.
The one customer that was sitting under the dryer had no protective clothing on but did have a shabby looking off-white towel around her neck and shoulders. I made the split decision that this place was not for me. As I was about to bolt through the door, one of the assistants shouted out, “can I help you?” Still making a hasty exit I shouted back, “no thanks, just looking”.
I quickly dialled my friend up, confirmed the name of the Salon with her and then asked her on what basis did she recommend them to me. She quite innocently told me that their prices were quite reasonable. I recalled our conversation, and of course she had not mentioned the charges in her recommendations. After all, things like customer service, environment and quality of service are all relative!
This scenario rings true for many other service providers. They are not clued in to the fact that first impression is very important. The eyes process things instantly and makes that decision whether it is pleasing or not in a split second. When I walked into that salon, I was not impressed. I looked around and what I saw was not pleasant. I then started to think about spending a whole morning in that environment and walking out feeling anything but pampered and relaxed. So within the space of a few minutes I knew I would be taking my custom elsewhere.
So, how can you avoid your business falling into this “no thanks, just looking trap”?
Well there are some simple things that you can do:
- Critically evaluate your service on the basis of whether you are offering value for money. Base your conclusion not only on price, but on the other things that would make consumers want to make you their provider of choice.
- Review your customer care. Do you offer excellent customer care? Whether on the telephone or face to face? Service with a smile is what most customers demand. You may want to get feedback from current customers on how they rate your customer care.
Take a look at your business environment. Is it clean, attractive and pleasing to the eye? This also applies to homeworkers. Tidy space equals tidy mind!
What about the level of service you offer?
Do you personalise your service enough? For instance do you remind your customers when appointments are due or when there are special offers on?
In order to stay ahead of the game you have to constantly review your business. Most times you will find that you do not need expensive strategic approaches. Simply, putting yourself in your customers shoes can help you to see where you are lacking in the service that you are offering.
When I offer advice to my clients, I always put myself in the shoes of one of their customers whether it be a salon, restaurant, or photographer. More often than not, I raise issues that they hadn’t even considered.
My parting shot is always “you have to make your clients keep you at the top of their MUST DO OR MUST HAVE LIST!” Do not fall into the category of “no thanks, just looking”.
Until next time, REMEMBER…… First impression is important!
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