BLOG: salon manager Gavin Hoare talks customer service and its value in the hairdressing industry
Customer service and our wonderful unique Industry: a rant by Gavin Hoare, salon manager at the Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa
Daily my frustration grows at what I perceive as the very British lack lustre approach to customer service and good manners. For me, it has been lost, as if in some way delivering even a basic level of servility is by definition a sign of weakness and a general admittance to the world that “I hate my life!” There seems to be such obvious aversions to the very basics such as please, thank you, a smile or even eye contact and a complete loss of worth within service society of this free natural asset.
There is a fundamental difference between service in the hairdressing industry and the vast majority of customer service we experience in our everyday. In the everyday it’s anonymous; at stations, on tubes, buses, in supermarkets, garages or in our post offices. We have to accept these often fleeting, negative interactions as just part of the world we live in; they rile us but we have no voice and often we have no choice.
Within our own industry we are in the unique position of delivering bespoke one to one customer service on a daily basis. In fact, I believe our whole industry depends upon it; it’s key to setting ourselves apart from our competitors in what has become a very competitive market place. Delivering excellent service is vital and an often untapped reserve and it is often not acknowledged, recognised or exploited. It costs us nothing and in delivering it consistently to our clients we can shape the ethos and backbone of our salons. I believe it can act as a benchmark for the service industry as a whole. Our managers and salon owners need to recognise their natural service givers, and give them and their teams the autonomy to deliver honest, unscripted and sincere core service values.
On a recent trip to New York it struck me that their service ethos is the antithesis of our British one; the service given in Macey’s, the burger joint or the information man at Central Station give the impression that the service men and women love their jobs; they take a pride in the service they deliver. Although I acknowledge the Americans ethos needs to be adapted to our British sensibilities, we at least need to acknowledge that these core service values and their delivery are essential for growth and longevity for any salon in a competitive economic climate, where our customers will simply vote with their feet.