Thursday, August 14, 2008

Consumer Terrorism

I bet the title of this entry got your attention! About seven years ago I was working back in Maine in the salon I owned with my Dad. At the time he was reading this book and would not stop talking about it. It was called "Consumer Terrorism: How to Get Satisfaction When You're Being Ripped Off" written by Elinor Burkett. Without realizing it I learned a lot as I listened to him tell each hair client about this book. In a nutshell, it teaches you (the consumer) how to stand up for yourself when you are not being treated fairly. My favorite ditty that I have used many times, "Now, what are you going to do for me?" and then zip your lip. It forces them to come up with a fair solution to your problem. It's worked for me numerous times.

Recently, a group of co-workers and I ordered lunch from a delivery service because we were just all too busy to run out. Unfortunately, they got one of the lunches wrong. It became an interesting topic of our lunch conversation. Jill said, "It happens to me all the time. If they screw up I usually just give up going to that place." It got me thinking. How many times could this have happened in your Salon or Spa? Maybe, if Jill had read the book my Dad did, she may have looked at the situation differently. She may very well have ended up with a free lunch next time and the establishment might not have lost a customer.

Are you keeping the lines of communication with your clients open? And I don't mean all the juicy details of their sorted divorce or crazy families. I mean, do you portray yourself to your customer as open to criticism? Or does it peeve you to the point that maybe you give a little attitude back?

The Customer is always right. What a HUGE pill to swallow sometimes! But it could be the difference between keeping a client or losing your business. Keeping a smile and talking calmly to even the most irate customers can win them over. I do it ALL the time at Star Nail. And don't forget, it's not always what you say, but how you listen.

In closing, I have one more little story that happened just last night. I went to my favorite Spa to have my mani / pedi (yes I go get it done now, I'm just way TOO busy to do it myself!!) and I happened to have my attention swayed to the chair next to me. A woman had her pedicure finished and flip flops on. Yet she still required her Nail Tech to tote over his electric nail file to work on her nails at the pedicure chair. Forget ergonomics, this poor guy had to work in the least comfortable condition. She kept blowing under one nail and asking him to keep filing underneath to get some dirt. Five times she blew and handed that nail back. I wanted to smack her for him. To his credit, he remained calm and sweet. I wanted to pat him on the back when it was all over.

Use your judgment wisely. This blog is about giving good customer service. "Not getting taken advantage of" is a whole new blog.

(writing from Valencia, CA today)

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