Hairdresser CRM September 23, 2009Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
Tags: Best Of 2009, Communication, Customer Service, Listening, Sales
I get my hair cut about every six weeks or so. I’ve been going to the same woman for about two years now. Every time I show up, she picks up the conversation right where we left off, six weeks prior. How does she do this?
She sees a hundred or more people in those intervening weeks. She has similar, if not far more engaging, conversations with all those people than she has with me. Yet she remembers everything we were talking about and is able to resume a pleasant conversation for thirty minutes or so. She also remembers how I like my hair cut, and notices subtle changes in how it has grown (or not).
I am pretty sure that my local hair salon is not running Seibel unbeknownst to me. I do not see the various stylists pulling up salesforce.com on their phones moments before engaging a client. They don’t even write anything down, for heaven’s sake! Yet they have an almost elephantine memory for details about their clients’ lives. And this is not unique to my current stylist; this seems to be typical behavior among the vast majority of hairdressers in the world.
They realize, of course, that this intimacy and sustained attention is what provides them the repeat business they need to survive. Whether they are born with the skill or develop it over time, successful stylists know how to draw out their clients and remember what they hear. Darwinian selection weeds out the stylists with poor memories, I suppose.
We could all learn a thing or two from them. The foundation of good IT service is that old maxim:
People don’t care what you know, they want to know that you care.
Showing that you care means listening and remembering things that are important to your customers. Dale Carnegie knew it; much of his advice involves understanding what is really important to people and then providing it.
My best vendors have hairdresser-class people skills. They have taken the time to get to know me and my company, and they prove it every time we get together. I don’t know how they remember it; I do know that it makes sustaining our relationship across intermittent points of contact much easier.
Bad salespeople could never cut hair. They don’t take the time to learn things, and don’t try to remember what they do learn. I’ve had salespeople schedule time for an intro call and admit that they do not even know what my company does. Really? You couldn’t spend five minutes with Google before heading to my office?
Social media tools make this even easier for savvy salespeople. Like many other people, I am throwing out bits of trivia about myself all the time, through this blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, and Facebook. I have a Google-friendly name that makes web-based stalking easy. It is not hard to put together a few facts to create the illusion of caring when you first meet me.
Cynical machinations aside, we would all do well to acquire the skills that are crucial to hairdressers. Listening, remembering, and showing interest are the foundation of all our relationships, not just at the office. Maybe your next leadership coaching session involves scissors and a smock.
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