This Will NOT Be an Insiders-Only Story

Yes, dear reader, there are essential Customer Experience tips for your small business here. You do not have to care about the overlong hair of the bon vivant M. Chartrand of Men With Pens fame to grow your small business with these five lessons. Because while I was in Québec last week, I want you to know, all I was doing was thinking about writing for you. With a glass of red wine in my hand. Somehow, always nearing empty.

And yes, it’s going to be better than the suggested post “16 Ways Poutine Can Improve Your Marketing.” Mais oui.

Put these observations from all sides of this complex transaction to work for you, today:

1. Be there when you’re needed. Simple. Know when people are going to need you most. Be there then. If his hair-chick had been available on Saturday when the royal mane needed taming, I wouldn’t have been browbeaten until I gave in.

2. Repeat yourself often. We’ve talked about repeated marketing messages before. Your first message isn’t heard. James: “I need a haircut.” Me: “Mm.” Your fifth is just softening the prospect up. But if you’re very persistent and building up with notes that resonate with your audience, somewhere between the 7th and the 20th, you’ll make that sale.

3. Track responses. Refine your message. Focus on benefits to the customer. “I look a mess” failed to present the benefits to me. “Please” was pleasant but not really motivating. Both allowed me an out: “No, you look fine.” “No way.” At last, “How can I take you to the concert looking like this?” sold me. There’s no answer for that but “All right, I’ll do it.”

4. Go way beyond expectations. “Be prepared” is nice if you’re a boy scout, but for your business, we want more than nice, right? We want Wow! After I howled that I did not want to be responsible for mangling his hair for 20 minutes in completely predictable futility, James pulled out a mangy pair of scissors that’s seen way too many of his kids’ school projects and began to attempt to remove enough gunk to make it usable. I went off to my suitcase and returned with my barber scissors and cute hairdresser-comb. (Weird fact, hidden talent (?), true story. I always keep them with me when I travel in case someone needs a trim, and yes, it happens all the time.) He nearly died of surprise. Probably mattered a lot less if I nervously buggered the haircut after that hearty laugh.

5. Never make your problems their problems. Nerves about cutting a friend’s hair aside, I was also tired (ref. red wine above), sore from a sightseeing trip the day before, and pressed for time. Okay, I tried playing the pressed-for-time card in the objections stage (when I was being sold, before I was the provider, if you follow me), but once it was a go, then it was time to crack jokes, make James relaxed, show off my scar and tell the story from chopping my finger in a long-ago hairdressing incident, and make it seem as though we had plenty of time and the haircut would look smokin’ when I was done. Not moan about my issues and induce guilt. If you’ve ever listened to a cashier gripe while you’re trying to fork over some cash, you know what I’m talking about. Your problems should never be part of your banter.

And lest you think there’s a strange meme going around the very small blogosphere about James Chartrand’s vacations, let me remind you of the post’s title: This was my vacation.   πŸ˜‰

I did it all for you.


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson

P.S. Never dare me to write a post about your haircut, unless you’re willing to have me take you up on it.