As many of you know, I recently moved to North Carolina. I was scouting a new hair salon and finally met with a stylist who seemed competent. I was pleased with the results – my layers are perfect and my hair is shiny and bouncy just the way I like it. Relief!
As I was preparing to leave the stylist asked me to remind her of something when I return for a relaxer. I said, casually, “Oh you’d better write that down. I know I won’t remember that.” Now anyone who knows me is aware that I am a fanatic about note-taking. My clients have grown accustomed to the statement, “Please don’t mind the typing,” when we’re on a call together. I am always ready to take note of tasks or project details during a call and in person I’ll pop out my laptop or a notepad. It’s just what I do. In relation to my clients I am a service provider. I wouldn’t dream of saying, “Hey Bob, remind me to send out your newsletter in a few weeks.” It’s not his job to remind me; it’s my job to make sure he doesn’t have to.
She hesitated and then said, “I could write it down but I’d forget where I put the note.” I quickly responded, “Oh just put it in your client notebook,” already knowing she didn’t use one otherwise we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I’ve been to exorbitantly priced salons and far less expensive ones but it’s not uncommon for a stylist to have a notebook in which (s)he keeps details of his or her clients. At the very least they include contact information, dates of appointments, treatments and problems, if any.
If the shoe were on the other foot that would have been an ah-ha moment for me and I would have said something to the effect, “You know something? That’s a good idea.” That didn’t happen and she continued to insist I make note of what she should do to my hair the next time I visit and pay her. You see the problem there? It’s not a deal breaker necessarily but you expect more from those who provide you a service. I also tip immensely better when I feel catered to.
This all reminded me of two things. First, you can always stir up good blog topics from everyday experiences. And two, most importantly, keep in mind that whether you provide services or products, it is your job to cater to your clients. Period. Auto repair shops put that little sticker in your window when they change your oil. They don’t tell you to write it down and hope you remember to return. Doctors give you appointment cards for your next visit. You’re not expected to pull out your BlackBerry on the spot and jot it down.
No business exists without customers and while new business is always a treat, research has always suggested it’s imperative that you retain the ones you already have. Never communicate with a prospect without a pad and a pen at the bare minimum. Once you have a relationship with a client at the very least extend yourself so that they feel catered to, relieved that they have you to rely on and certain that you care as much about their business and concerns as they do. Be attentive and take notes. That’s always a solid starting point.
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