Customer Service

Keep Asking Clients What They Want

Even though it may seem like a client doesn't ever want to change, she usually likes to know that you haven't given up on her.

Every time I get my hair cut, Maria asks me, “What are we doing today?”

For the past six years, I’ve said one of two things: Either, “Take off two inches and we’re keeping it all one length,” or “Take off two inches and we’re doing layers.”

Maria soldiers on: “You ready to try highlights yet?” I wince. Like a kid not ready to take the dive off the high-board, I make a face that indicates that one of these days I’ll be ready and I hope she’ll wait for me.

As she cuts my hair, she’ll ask me whether I’m dating. She’ll ask about the magazine and my son, and she’ll share a funny story or two of something that’s going on in her life.

As she’s shampooing my hair and doing her famous deep tissue massage, which after six years isn’t a second shorter than when she first used it to woo me as a client, she tells me about a new product she found recently and wants to try on me. It might be a new conditioner or a special comb for hair like mine. I’m usually interested. As she’s detangling me and taking off those two inches of growth, she’ll figure out a diplomatic way of mentioning that one of these days I’ll have to deal with the issue of hair color. Maybe she’ll suggest a gentle semi-permanent color or colored gel (“just to play with,” she’ll say). I bought a gel once, but usually figure I’ll look at stuff at the next show I attend.

As she trims and shapes, her pace is the same as it’s always been, as she patiently asks me to turn this way, scoot forward in my chair, sit straight.

When I’m done and sitting there with still-wet hair; she’ll ask, “How about I just dry a little?” because I always leave with wet hair, “No, not necessary,” I say, “I would rather it air-dry.”

So that’s been our routine every three months for six years. In the time I’ve been seeing Maria I’ve referred every friend and family member to her, my son has a standing six-week schedule, and even though she moved from two blocks away to six miles away, I’ve followed.

You know why? After six years, she’s still asking me what I want. How many of us can say that about our clients?

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