Gratitude in Business.
The true story of five hairdressers:
This is a story that shows that gratitude in business makes a big difference. In a sizable country town I know, there are five hairdressing salons; They are all staffed by hairdressers with virtually the same skill level. Three have staff and the other two are solopreneurs and all of them have pleasing personalities. Their pricing is within a few dollars of each other, yet the most expensive is the busiest. In fact, you have to book your next haircut in advance, as the salon is pretty much booked out. If you are a new customer, you only get in when someone leaves.
At two of the salons, you can just rock up when you want a haircut, and most of the time you won’t even have to wait. And at the other two, it’s not difficult to get an appointment.
So, what’s the difference? Does Gratitude in Business Matter?
Only one of these salons does two things the others don’t. One is to phone every client the day before to remind them of their appointment. Secondly, the one that really makes a big difference is that they let their clientele know how much they value and appreciate them. This is done in a very practical and tactile manner. Every client is sent a birthday card, a Christmas card and a card on the anniversary of their first haircut. The anniversary card also includes an invitation to share some nibbles and a glass of champagne with their personal hairdresser.
The owner of this salon really does love to show her gratitude. She loves to share the good stuff around. Just because that’s the way she is and she likes to make people feel good. But more importantly, she has done her sums. She worked out that for the petty cash investment of a few cards and a glass of bubbly and nibbles, she could keep her customers loyal to her. Also because all of her available appointment times are full, her customers are actually costing her much less than her competitors are, because she is not paying overheads and staff time for empty chairs – a very profitable situation.
Her competitors believe their skill set and their personalities are sufficient in themselves to keep them in business. In discussion with them, three of them see no value in spending “good money” on cards and gifts. “People still have to get their hair cut”, they pointed out. Two of them are absolutely convinced that offering their customers a 50% discount for their birthday haircut is the way to go. Yet with or without their generous birthday discount, they will still need to get their hair cut. By the way, this discount probably costs much more than cards and gifts.
Is there any doubt who the savvy operator in this story is? Gratitude in business really does make a difference!
© Ron and Sue Windred.
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