Gratitude in Business
The true story of five hairdressers:
In a sizable country town I know, there are five hairdressing salons; Each of the five establishments are staffed by hairdressers with virtually the same skill level, three have staff and the other two are solo-preneurs and all of them have pleasing personalities. Their pricing is within a few dollars of each other and the most expensive is the busiest. In fact you have to book your next haircut in advance, as the salon is pretty much booked out and if you are a new customer, you only get in when someone leaves.
At two of the salons you can just rock up when you want a haircut and most of the time you won’t even have to wait. And at the other two it’s not difficult to get an appointment.
So, what’s the difference?
Only one of these salons does two things the others don’t. – One, is to phone every client the day before to remind them of their appointment and the other, the one that really makes the big difference is that they let their clientele know how much they value and appreciate them in a very practical and tactile manner. Every client is sent a birthday card, a Christmas card and a card on the anniversary of their first haircut. With the latter, the client is advised that on their next visit their personal hairdresser would like to share a glass of bubbly and some nibbles with them.
The owner of this salon really does love to show her gratitude and share the good stuff around, just because that’s the way she is and she likes to make people feel good. But more importantly she has done her sums. She worked out that for the petty cash investment of a few cards and a glass of bubbly and nibbles, she could keep her customers loyal to her. Also because all of her available appointment times are full, her customers are actually costing her much less than her competitors are, because she is not paying overheads and staff time for empty chairs – a very profitable situation.
Her competitors believe their skill set and their personalities are sufficient in themselves and in discussion with them, three of them see no value in spending “good money” on cards and gifts. “People still have to get their hair cut”, they pointed out. Two of them are absolutely convinced that offering their customers a 50% discount for their birthday haircut is the way to go. By the way, this discount probably costs more than the cards and gifts.
Is there any doubt who the savvy operator in this story is?
© Ron and Sue Windred.
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