A couple of weeks ago I decided to try a new hairdresser – not just any hairdresser, but one of the top guys in Seattle.
Once the tip was included, I’d be paying this guy well over $200. That was just for a cut and style, no color or any other service included. So, I naturally expected the experience to be good.
I arrived for my appointment and was pleasantly greeted. I was early, so the lady at the front desk told me to have a seat. The lobby was tiny. There was a sofa and a couple of chairs. I sat in one of the chairs.
In all of the salons I have visited in the past, the receptionist will offer you something to drink while you wait. Not here. Nothing was offered. And this is mistake #1.
Some time later the hairdresser appeared before me and introduced himself. I followed him to his chair and we discussed what would be done with my hair. When you’re paying top dollar, you listen to what the man (or woman) says. I decided to go with his suggestions.
Once it was decided what was to be done, I was donned with a cape. A cape! Yes, this is mistake #2!
Next, I was taken to the sink for a wash. Someone else did the wash for me – a girl in training. She didn’t ask me about the temperature of the water, and she didn’t do a head massage. For what I was paying I expected a head massage, but on we go.
After the wash I was taken back to my chair where I waited for the hairdresser to return. I didn’t know where he was, but it took him 5 or 10 minutes to return. The wait seemed longer than it was as I had nothing to do – no magazine, no drink.
After he returned he got right to work.
The man knew what he was doing with the scissors. I’ll give him that. He cut and then he played and played, teasing my hair into shape.
An hour after I had walked in the door I looked like a new person. I loved the cut and I loved my hair.
Now it was time for me to check out. The receptionist told me that since this was my first visit they had a gift for me, and she handed me a little bag. Inside the bag was a $30 gift card for my next visit, two business cards, and two chocolate truffles. And this was mistake #3!
Now, let’s go over all of these mistakes and how they apply to YOUR business!
Remember mistake #1, where I wasn’t offered anything to drink?
First impressions are everything when you have a new website visitor, customer or client. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, you want your visitors, customers or clients to be comfortable.
This might mean making sure your website is intuitive and easily navigated.
Or it might mean that you offer something complimentary to create goodwill, or a sense for your customers or clients that they’re in good hands – like the chiropractor who offers the new patient an ice pack to take home on their first visit, or the website that offers the free report or e-booklet to visitors.
That drink that I wasn’t offered could represent any number of things you could offer your visitors, customers or clients – something that would let them know they’ve made the right choice.
The hairdresser that didn’t offer the drink was the odd man out. All the other hairdressers I had known offered the drink. One I know of even offers wine to her clients. And, my previous hairdresser had an entire drawer filled with every variety of tea imaginable, plus cider and hot chocolate as well as flavored water and coffee. Now that’s using a little creativity and going above and beyond!
What kind of first impression are you giving your visitors, customers or clients? Do you offer something to make them comfortable, such as a free e-booklet or report, or a free cup of coffee or lemonade? And if you do, how can you improve that experience?
For example, one salon I know offers the drink. They have coffee, tea, or water with lemon. But, they recently added biscotti which they serve on a little plate.
What else can you do to give your market a good first impression and a good feeling about doing business with you?
Mistake #2 – The cape!
Oh horror of horrors! The dreaded cape! Nooooooooooooo! Please! Not the cape! Anything but the cape! But, the cape it was.
The cape is cheap. All the really high class salons use robes. You take off your shirt and hang it up so it doesn’t get hair on it, and you don the robe.
The cape made me feel like I was in a cheap salon that offers haircuts for $20. But the worst part came when the cape was removed. I itched like crazy all the way home!
The cape is the #1 reason I will never return to this salon. Any hairdresser worth what I paid this guy should have known better. And he was the owner!
Do you have a cape in your business – Something your visitors, customers or clients dread?
Maybe it’s the video that starts as soon as they get to your website. Or maybe (I really hope you don’t have this!) it’s music that plays as soon as they get to your site.
Another annoyance is the video that you can play and stop, but you can’t see how long it is and they don’t tell you how long it is. I don’t know what these guys think they’re doing, but it’s a big turn off. Nobody wants to sit through a lengthy presentation – especially if they have to try and guess how long it is.
It could also be broken links on your website.
If you’ve got a brick and mortar business, your cape could be long checkout lines, or an unfriendly employee, or your no refunds or exchanges policy, or even your office hours.
For example, have you noticed how many doctors and dentists only work three full days per week, and their hours change every day? How can their patients be expected to remember when they’re open and what their hours are?
It’s one thing to take Fridays off. It’s another to have different hours of operation on the days your office or store is open.
If you’ve got a “cape” in your business you need to fix it – now! It could be costing you clients or customers and that can mean losing thousands of dollars a year.
People will usually share their experiences with others. Sometimes it’s just by mouth, but these days people share online too – and THAT can really hurt you.
You could have a cape in your business and not even know it. A good way to find out is to survey your list, customers or clients. Do this today!
Mistake #3 – The gift bag
What could possibly be so bad about the gift bag, you ask? After all, it had chocolate truffles in it, PLUS a $30 gift card!
The problem here wasn’t with the bag itself. It’s the fact that I received it because it was my first time in the salon.
This immediately told me that after my first visit, I wasn’t special anymore. Only first time visitors are special.
Really, it should be the other way around. The first time visitor should be encouraged to return, of course, but the long term customers and clients should receive an even better reward.
Your long term clients or customers are worth far more to you than your first time ones. And you want to let them know that they are valued, and their business is appreciated.
The salon could easily do this by creating “anniversaries” for their clients. For example, the first time client gets the gift bag, but the client who has been with the salon for a year gets a free haircut. After five years it’s a free haircut and a gift certificate for dinner in an upscale restaurant.
And, maybe after every visit the client gets 1 chocolate truffle.
It’s about making the customer or client feel special.
Another thing this salon could have done would be to give out a little card that asks how the visit went. The client could check off little boxes and write in their comments, and drop the card into a slot in the counter or a box. They missed a prime opportunity to get feedback from their clients.
It’s important to know what your visitors, clients or customers really want so that you can delight them, give them a good experience, and get them to return to you for more. Their feedback is like solid gold.
How about you? What do you do to make your visitors, customers and clients feel special? Do they get something for free? Do they get special attention or status? Do you have customer or client anniversaries?
If you’re making any of these mistakes the time to change it is now. The sooner you do, the more business you’ll generate!
To your success,