Beth Nilssen
December 12, 2016 / Great Advice

Advice from the experts: How not to blow it with customers

You would think that success in the beauty and personal care industry—in which Great Clips, a franchise walk-in haircare salon business, is a big player—is based on delivering a great beauty product or service.

And it is. But if you’ve ever received any of those services, you know it’s more than that. It’s about the experience. Right? For example, if you go into a hair salon, you want to walk out with a great haircut—and you also want to feel comfortable, appreciated and in control. At Great Clips, we know that (and I’ve written about it before—one time actually referring to the sexy side of customer service!).

We also know that sometimes the customer doesn’t get what they want. I recently told you about what Great Clips executives think should be the first think to come out of our mouths when we hear from an unhappy customer: “We are so sorry.” We never want to have customers who aren’t satisfied with their experience, but if we do, it’s our job to make it right.

The goal, of course, is to prevent these situations in the first place—to deliver a great experience to every customer. What’s the best way to do that? Here’s some advice I found from a review of my go-to customer service experts:

Taking a preventative approach is just what communications trainer Deborah Schmidt described in her list of the Seven Deadly Sins of Service. The sins—and more importantly, how to avoid committing them—sounded very familiar to me because they are things that Great Clips goes to great lengths to avoid—apathy, the brush-off, coldness, condescension, robotism, rule books and the runaround.

Another article, Nine Things You Must Remember About Customers, really expresses the Great Clips approach to forging personal, warm relationships with customers. People love—actually need—to feel valued, and these tips from business journalist Maureen McGovern, I think, are all aimed at creating that feeling: using the customer’s name, knowing their preferences, and offering them timesaving tools,

Tom Borg’s column, The 3 Things You Need to Do When You've Upset Your Customer, is worth reading for his very direct advice:

  • Say “sorry” and mean it. Genuinely apologize.

  • Don’t stop the customer from venting. Let them vent. Just listen. Don’t get defensive. When the customer has finished, ask “What do you want me to do?” If at all possible—do that!

  • Make a peace offering. Do a little something extra. That makes it more likely the customer will come back. It doesn’t have to be big—a 10%-off coupon for the next visit, or even a follow-up phone call.

Perhaps the best way to determine how to respond to a customer who didn’t get what they hoped for is to ask, “What would I want?” And then do it.

Are you interested in knowing more about what it’s like to be a Great Clips franchisee?  Send me a note or give me a call. I’d love to talk with you!

Beth Nilssen By Beth Nilssen on December 12, 2016
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