Lessons in Extraordinary Customer Service

Like most business owners, I am often preoccupied with how I can create a better customer experience for my customers. With customers’ expectations increasing all the time, the bar against which our services are evaluated is higher than it has ever been. Today, I have experienced first hand what it is that takes customer services from ordinary into extraordinary.

I went to get a haircut. What do you expect when you go to get a haircut? You expect a good quality cut, a cup of tea and a feeling of being pampered. Long gone are the days when a good haircut alone was enough. My local hairdresser, aptly called the Hairclub, is a lovely little boutique where everyone knows your name and remembers what you told them last time you visited. If I’d been asked ahead of time, I couldn’t have thought of what else they could have done to make my experience better.

But today was that little bit different. When a cup of tea was made for me, I was asked if it was sweet enough. When an assistant took me to one side to wash my hair in preparation for the cut, she offered to make me another cup of tea in case the one she made for me not 5 minutes before was getting too cold. My next appointment was arranged while my haircut was being finished, saving me precious 5 minutes at the end of my visit. And, when I casually mentioned that I was walking home that day because my car was being serviced, the owner of the boutique offered to drive me home.

They were just a few little extra touches, not strictly necessary in the process of delivering a quality haircut. As a customer, however, I felt that there was nothing more important to the Hairclub than my needs, wants and unspoken wishes at that moment in time. Note – none of the touches were in response to my requests; they were all offered pro-actively.

While Michael Gerber is right in insisting that we codify the extra touches in our systems and our processes, the effect created today was only possible because of the people striving to do their best and the culture created by the owner. Needless to say, my customer loyalty increased about ten-fold today. If the owner decided to raise the haircut prices, I am quite sure I would be very happy to pay, making me a price-insensitive and a highly desirable customer. And which service business wouldn’t want all this for a few pro-active customer-focused little touches?