Know how: Michael Hemphill, owner of Michael Christopher Salon
5 Things I Know About: Customer Service
Ask your customer
A lot of businesses say what they offer, but they forget to ask the customers what they would like. Ask what services customers enjoy the most, and then enhance those. Years ago, I had a client who was an attorney. She never looked relaxed when she was getting her hair colored. I talked with her and learned she was not relaxed because the color took about two hours and she was thinking about the work she had waiting for her back in her office. That made me think to put individual computers in the color areas for clients before they had smartphones and tablets. One client told me she loved it because she was able to make travel arrangements for a trip to Greece while we colored her hair.
Always involve the team in customer service
A happy team is a happy business. Don’t assume you know what the team wants. I offered flextime in my salon in the ’80s because a stylist wanted to work three days a week to care for her newborn. At first I dug in my feet, but, then, I realized someone else could fill that job the other two days a week. I came up with a creative plan that made everybody happy.
When I sell my products on QVC, I want to make the sale, but, if someone asks a question like does my product take chlorine out of hair, no, it doesn’t. If your product doesn’t do something, don’t be afraid to say that. It creates credibility.
Numbers might work better than words
I used big words like “gorgeous” and “fantastic.” One client looked at her hair when I finished and said, “Oh, that’s nice.” I thought: “˜Nice? It’s nice?’ As a creative person, I was hurt. Then I asked her, “˜On a scale of 1 to 10, what does nice mean to you?’ She said, “a 10.” If you’re in a quandary about what the client thinks, instead of using words, use numbers.
For our first-time clients, we follow up with a handwritten thank-you note. I think it’s always a pleasant surprise. It makes a connection with a client. It doesn’t take much time, but, in today’s world, a handwritten note has a lot of power in it.