Let's talk about something often overlooked by professionals, yet never overlooked by the client. Customer service, or in our arena, client service. Many a tale is told about horrible service, yet you will be hard pressed to find stories about great service. Since we are in a service business this should be a top priority in our tool box. Don’t bother marketing yourself to the masses if you don’t have exemplary client service. I attended a class given by a gentleman from the Ritz Carlton hotel chain several years ago in Orlando on customer service. The Ritz Carlton is legendary for their customer service and he had great information to share. Why then if great customer service is so important do we have such a hard time finding it? With the onset of social media customer service horror stories are only a click away. So many rant over poor customer service but rarely rave about good customer service. So what are the key ingredients to great customer service? Anticipate needs. Don’t just respond to them. If you know what your client likes to drink why not have it ready for her when she arrives for her appointment? If you know her favorite shades why not pick up ones at the store or the latest show and tell her I thought of you. Everyone likes to feel special and anticipating your client’s needs is a huge advantage in today’s busy, take a number and wait your turn business world. If you know there is a special event coming up for your client why not offer to get their appointments on the books before they get shut out, or you end up working extra hours. Also if you know you will be out of the salon during one of their appointment time’s look ahead to accommodate their appointment so they are not scrambling at the last minute. If your salon allows, why not offer a glass of wine after a long grueling day?
Clients so appreciate the little touches that make their visit an experience. If problems arise work diligently to find the best solution possible, even if you have to go a bit out of your way. Taking care of a problem swiftly and compassionately turns the problem into a great customer service experience. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking What is it you would like to have happen here? If there are mistakes such as in booking or miscommunication in pricing, own the mistake upfront. Don’t avoid it, deny it or try and bury it. Oftentimes when I have a problem arise I automatically assume the mistake was my fault. Saying I’m so sorry I must have miscommunicated or made this error myself, let’s look at possible solutions together. Many times the client will actually realize it is their error, but because they were not put on the defensive from the onset they are much more agreeable in finding a resolution. We all just want to be heard and understood, our clients are no different. When you go above and beyond your clients expectations, clients tell others. It is the backbone of client referrals having great customer service. BE a story they want to share that sheds the best possible light on your salon. It’s not hard to deliver great customer service but it is a decided practice. You must be present, so your client senses you truly care about them and the service you are providing. Make them the star for that half hour or hour service. Encourage them, compliment them and don’t forget to thank them, after all without them there is no us. Continuing to strive toward excellent customer service is smart business and smart marketing.