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Are you being served?


I'm fortunate in that, even in my mid forties, I still have hair.  So periodically, I head off to a hairdresser in town to get it cut.  I’m not a big fan of getting a haircut – it’s a strictly utilitarian thing for me – and I’ve been fairly free with my choice of hairdressers over the years, never really sticking to one in particular. However, I've been going to the same hairdresser on a roughly monthly basis for nearly three years now; he’s local, seems like a nice guy and he was having a few problems with his business in the early years, so I stuck with him out of a sense of solidarity – small businesses sticking together. 

So, here’s the routine.  Every month, the same guy cuts my hair.  Every month, I get the same haircut.  Every month, he asks me how I want it cut and every month I give the same reply.  Every month, in response to my reply, he queries whether I really have my hair that short.  Then he cuts it, I pay him and the whole thing starts up again in about four weeks’ time.  During the haircut, he'll often ask me what I do for a living - I've lost count of the number of times he's asked me.  I usually give a different reply every time, just to see whether he notices - he hasn't so far or, at least, if he has he hasn't mentioned the many discrepancies in my stories.

When I first noticed it, I found it amusing but recently it’s started to bug me; the last time I went, there were two of us waiting and he asked “which one of you is Steve?”  Is it really too much to expect that, after let’s say at least thirty visits – he might remember who I am?  Is it really so difficult to make a little note of who your customers are, what they do for a living, how they like to have their hair cut?

It’s not bad customer service – it’s not like he’s insulting me or being rude or overcharging me or anything like that.  It’s just an example of poor customer service.  He’s a good enough hairdresser; don’t get me wrong – the core service he provides is perfectly adequate.  But I could easily be persuaded to go to another hairdresser, one who offered a similar core service but a better customer service.  All for the want of a few, easily taken, steps.

It’s worth thinking about the service you offer – not just the core service but the customer service. Are you building loyal customers?  A very good friend of mine runs a company called Spice Learning and they’re doing a series on the “A to Z of Customer Service” at the moment – if you suspect your customers might be feeling a little open to persuasion by other suppliers, I’d recommend you take a look.


On a personal note, the blog is taking a short break.  The next “official” post will be on 15th October, although there may be some shorter updates before then, depending on my access to the internet.  Have a great couple of weeks.

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