“How can we better engage the customer? What can we do to enhance the buyer experience?” These are common questions that C-suite leaders struggle with. We hear it from our clients, and our clients’ customers too. A differentiated, positive and enriched customer experience can make the difference between a great referral and a bad review.
I wrote an article last year on how small gestures can go a long way for customers, and that still holds true today. For me, most of the experiences that stand out are ones that cater to my almost 4 year old daughter — because any parent knows that when you make the child happy, you make the parents happy. And our recent trip to the hairdresser for the first time (dun dun dun!) was quite pleasant — yes pleasant! No crying, no screaming, just smiles and happiness.
Asking around for suggestions of where other moms take their kids to trim their precious locks, resulted in the same answer. The salon is just for kids and they were great; lollipops, vibrant energy, funky setup, bright and colorful walls, electronic tablets and other activities. The downside — they don’t take appointments, so you must get there before the doors open and sometimes you have to wait over an hour. You have to be a world-class entertainer to keep your child busy until it’s your turn, and depending on how many people are in line, you may not even make it to the hairdresser’s chair.
This scenario might be great once you’re actually inside the establishment, but I thought to myself, what kind of overall customer experience is that? So, when the time came to finally trim my daughter’s pomp for the first time ever, I made a bold decision. I took her to my hairdresser (shout out to Kerry) — just a regular salon without the bells and whistles (which in this case is lollipops and tablets). I made an appointment, arrived a few minutes early and the moment we walked in the door, our journey began. No lines. No waiting. No mayhem.
Throughout the entire ordeal, my toddler was treated with patience, kindness and understanding. She got to hold the hair brushes, ask a million questions (that were all answered) and had a lot of fun. At first, she was nervous to even have her hair washed; by the end of our excursion she had felt so comfortable that she got what amounts to “the works” for any 3 year old — wash, cut and blow dry. She even wanted to dye her hair pink, but we talked her into saving that for when she’s 30.
My point is that my hair salon may not cater to children the way others do, but it doesn’t matter. What does matter is making the customer feel comfortable, and ensuring they enjoy their experience. What I dreaded for months turned out to be an easy peasy evening of hair cutting. It’s why building a positive customer journey for any one, of any age, from start to finish will help you retain your current client base, and shape the future one.