In difficult economic times, some businesses cut costs by cutting corners on customer service. Wrong thing to do.
Right now, service matters more than ever. Why? Because when people buy during an economic downturn, they are extremely conscious of the money they spend. Customers want more attention, appreciation and recognition, not less. They want maximum value for what they spend. The basic product remains the same, but they want more service. Customers want guarantees that their purchase was “the right thing to do.”
Provide the assurance your customers seek with generous service guarantees, regular follow-up and speedy follow-through. People are spending less time travelling, wining and dining, but more time carefully shopping for each and every purchase. Great service enhances their experience, and boosts your salon’s image.
In good times, people move fast and sometimes don’t notice your efforts. In tougher times, people move more cautiously, and notice every extra effort. When money is tight, many experience a sense of lower self-esteem. When they get great service from your team, it boosts their self-image; they feel good about themselves, about you and thus, they buy.
People are about saving money and getting good value. “Positive word of mouth” is a powerful force at any time, but in difficult times, more ears will be listening. Be sure the words spoken about your salon are good ones. Great service is good business sense. So what to do? Understand your customers’ expectations – what they want, value, think about – and what they’re getting, (or not getting) from your salon.
“Out-Service” your competition – don’t try and out-smart. Provide personalized, responsive and “extra-mile service” that stands out in a unique way that customers will remember.
Set and achieve high service standards. Go beyond basic service to provide your customers with surprising interactions.
Go way beyond “the norm” – offer more choice than usual, be more flexible than normal, faster than the average, and extend a better guarantee than others do. Under-promise, then, over-deliver.
When things go wrong, do everything you can to make them right again. Fix it. Show sincere concern for any discomfort, frustration or inconvenience. Then, do a little bit more. Appreciate your complaining customers – they’re your best allies in building and improving your business. They point out where you need help, which products are below expectations or when service doesn›t measure up. And this valuable info is free! Remember, for every person who complains, there are many who won›t. They just take their business elsewhere. The complainer gives you a chance to make things better.
Take personal responsibility. Most are quick to blame others for problems on the job. It doesn’t help – it makes things worse. Blaming yourself doesn’t work, either. Tomorrow is always another chance to do better. Besides, to give great service, you need high self-esteem. Take personal responsibility.
See the salon from your customers’ point of view. Stand on the other side of the counter, or listen on the other end of the phone. Be your own “mystery shopper” or your competitor’s customer.
What you notice is what your customers experience every day!
Finally, remember that service is the currency that keeps your business moving. When your service improves, your customers are sure to take notice. And you’ll reap the rewards.
Now in his fourth year with Supre Tan, John P. Johnson is a Senior Training Specialist, providing product and sales education to salon operators across the country. Holding Master’s Degrees in both Industrial/Organizational Management and Clinical Psychology, he uses motivational speaking and coaching to bring passion back into the lives of business owners and their teams to encourage community service and giving.
Copyright 2020 ist Magazine