The Most Important Client is the One in Your Chair
by Ivan Zoot/The Clipper Guy on Monday, December 6, 2010
Ivan Zoot is the director of education and customer engagement for the Andis Company and the founder of Zoot! Hair professional hair care products. Ivan identifies, recruits, trains and manages Andis’ team of professional beauty industry educators. Ivan continues to be a featured presenter at industry shows and events, sharing his unique blend of information, education and enthusiasm for clipper cutting and the entire professional beauty industry. Ivan’s background includes experiences ranging from salon ownership to achieving 3 Guinness World Haircutting records.
How many clients do you have? Tens? Hundreds? Thousands? We get wrapped up in measuring our business this way.
I would challenge you that whatever number you offer up is likely wrong, unless you offered up the number one. If you are reading this blog I hope you are not in the middle of a haircut. The only client we really have is the one in our chair right now.
I am sure we all agree that we do not own the clients. We are given the honor and privilege of serving them. That is customer service basics. They also do not belong to the salon. They are free to come and go and spend and choose as they wish.
Frequently we are lucky. They choose to come back. Yes, our efforts add up to more than luck. When you consider all the marketing messages, friendly referrals and impulse opportunities, it is a bit of a miracle any clients ever come back.
We work through an unwritten contract. When a client sits in our chair we have agreed to provide a service and they have agreed to pay for it when it is done. How many of us take the money up front? Have you ever asked to see the cash before you pick up a pair of scissors? It sounds silly to even suggest it. Therefore today’s haircut is a foregone conclusion. It is really done and paid for before we begin. So what is really the purpose of today’s haircut?
I will take the position that the purpose of today’s service experience is really an exercise to earn the next visit. That is the one we are working for. Today’s is done. Each visit is linked to the next. Today you might deliver a great haircut, but if the client does not allow you to cut the next one, this hair cut can really be seen as a failure.
I think we understand this concept better when the client is new to us. We work hard to earn that second and third visit. We know how to do it. The bigger challenge is to maintain that perspective beyond the first few visits.
Because, really, every visit is a first visit. If we do not treat it as a first visit, the client will likely treat it as a last one.
My wish for you is that you may have nothing but first-time clients in the coming year.