To kick the series off I invited Michael William Hairdressing based in Chef Boutonne, Deux Sevres, France to offer their thoughts on customer care. Here's what they had to say:
How do you provide a good customer service experience? By remembering every time that someone walks into our salon that they are supporting our business. Whether it be their first visit or their 100th, this keeps us focused on paying absolute attention to every detail.
What sets you apart from other hairdressers in the area/region? We are totally unique in that we have a high street salon and we are English, this is very rare. What sets us apart is that clients looking for a true salon experience can find it with us. Most other hairdressers in the area are mobile so cannot offer what we can in terms of environment. Most of our clients prefer to seek us out to enter into our world rather than have someone entering into their home.
What do you do differently? We make sure that every need of the client is cared for, above and beyond the hairdressing services. We make sure that there are plenty of fresh refreshments, up to date magazines and a good wifi connection. Although this not apply to every business, I think it is important to see what else you can offer your clients beyond what is expected.
How do you know your customer experience works? Because our customers are not afraid to tell us, and the majority of our customers come through recommendation which, of course, is lovely. We also make sure that our customers have the opportunity to tell us, whether it be on our guestbook, our Facebook page and we even have a little visitors book in the salon people can comment in. We also ensure that at least once a year we send out a customer satisfaction survey. This ensures all our customers are given a chance to let us know what they think.
How do you keep in contact with your customers? In the fast world of social media Facebook seems to be the way to reach most of our clients, as well as that we have a website, blog and online newsletter. We also make sure that the clients who haven't got access to a computer can get in touch. This is often forgotten in today's modern business but remembering to write or telephone can be useful too, and we make a concerted effort to do this.
What keeps them coming back? Firstly it is the hairdressing service we offer, with the many years of experience and professionalism we have it is our priority to keep this as a focus of the business, but for us it has to be coupled with top notch customer service, almost working on the theory that every little thing does matter and no matter how we feel or what's going on outside of our salon life the people sitting in our chairs come first.
How do customers find you? Mainly through our clients taking about us and recommending. I try to ensure that every single day I take time to promote the salon in the most effective way. Whether it be a Facebook post or preparing an advert in a local or national publication. I also try to engage with other salons and be supportive to those in the industry wherever they come into contact with our salon.
I used to believe that business would just come through the door and it wasn’t always needed to promote and advertise, then my business mentor reminded me of a very simple theory, that even the most profitable companies in the world advertise!
I'd love to know your thoughts and comments on what makes great customer service and where you have experienced both as I will be sharing regular blog updates on what makes excellent customer care ... particularly in France.