Despite the fact that Nail Business are service based, the nail industry in South Africa is not known for its exceptional levels of customer service. So, following on from last week's post on creating an exceptional Nail Business I want to show you how to build a customer experience pipeline. I am going to give you a step by step formula with practical examples and ideas that will "wow" your customers and the good news is, most of them won't even cost you money.
But, before we get into it there are two very important things you need to know.
The key to successfully creating a customer experience pipeline is consistency. When you do something to knock your customer's socks off, don't just do it once. Keep doing it consistently. If you are inconsistent in your customer service, you will create disappointed customers - and disappointed customers don't come back. That brings me to my next point.
The customers experience pipeline is all about feelings. The part of the brain that controls decision-making also controls feelings. Customer loyalty does not come from logic, it comes from emotion. Let's get busy creating positive emotions about you and your nail business.
Step 1 – create a remarkable First Impression
You are in complete control as to what kind of first impression your nail business will make on a prospect even before they buy their first service from your Nail Bar.
The first impression can be created by your signage, your treatment menu, brochure or even through a satisfied client who is bragging about your unique way of doing things.
So how do you create an unforgettable first impression?
You do it by creating a powerful USP. A USP is a “Unique Sales Proposition.” It is the answer to the question, “So what is the difference – the unique, significant, compelling difference between your nail bar and any number of competitors within driving distance?”
Here’s how most Business Owners answer that question, “We give great customer service. My Nail Tech’s are highly qualified. We use “brand X” in our Salon.
Wrong answer! If the focus of the answer is about you, your staff or your products, it is completely wrong! The answer to that question must be focused entirely on your customer.
To create a USP that works, find your customers biggest problem or frustration when dealing with a nail business and answer the question with a solution to their problem. Take a look at the picture below for a great example of this.
This Hair Salon’s USP say’s, “If you don’t absolutely love your new cut and colour, we’ll redo it for free.” How many times have you walked out of the Salon and your hair just didn’t look right?
Plenty of times. After spending a lot of your hard earned money trying to look good, you left feeling irritated and frustrated - then you went home, wet your hair and blow dried it they way you like it. (When this happened, notice that your response was emotional even if you didn’t communicate it to the salon.)
The hair Salon above doesn’t want customers to go through that experience. They want to guarantee total customer satisfaction before the customer even walks out of the door. How do you think that makes customers feel? (Remember a customer may not remember what she was told, but she will remember how you made her feel!)
The point I am trying to make is simple, you get to decide what kind of feelings or impression your business will make on your target market. Once you have identified a significant customer frustration and created a powerful USP, then everything that you do must support it. From your business card, treatment menu to the way you answer your phone, your choice of product supplier, your business layout, colours, uniforms etc must all be designed to strengthen and support your USP. Shout your USP from the rooftops and never stop telling customers what you do to solve their number one frustration.
Step 2 – follow up with an unforgettable First Contact
Once again, you are in complete control of step number 2. The question is, “How will you knock your customer’s socks off when they contact your business for the very first time?”
Predictably, your customer will contact you in one of two ways. They will either phone the nail business or they will walk in. (If you have a very strong internet presence, they may email you or contact you via Facebook)
How will you answer the phone when a client calls? I know of a Salon in Knysna that answers the phone like this, “Hello Gorgeous, how can we help you?” They say the same thing when a client walks in the front door.
You should see the look on a customer’s face when they are called gorgeous. Most Nail Bar’s answer their phone in the same predictable, boring manner. How can you answer the phone in a manner that is different to them? Make sure that you have a written script that leaves the customer feeling impressed.
Secondly, what will you do when a customer walks in the door? Will you wait for them to come to you or will you go to them and even open the door for them?
How will you create an experience (i.e. positive feelings) for the customer the moment they walk in the door? Will you be prepared with a killer sales presentation or customer tour of your nail bar like the one outlined below?
Show off your business
The customer tour of your business is a simple but powerful educational - sales presentation that you control. It is a presentation that you should have created even before your first customer walks in through the door.
It is a 2-3 minute process that highlights who you are, what you do and how you do it. Here are a couple of principles to follow when putting your tour together.
- The tour must be written out in a detailed point form manner. Unless your unique tour is written out it hasn’t been thought through or perfected. If it isn’t written out you can’t pass it on to your staff and you can’t improve it!
- The tour must explain what you do for the customer and how you do it using language that focuses on the unique benefits the customer will receive by doing business at your nail bar.
- Identify 3-4 stations or points that you will take your customer to. (I.e. a wall with your staff qualifications and certificates, the nail desk, retail showcase or the steri-cabinets in the treatment room etc…)
- At each point share 2-3 benefits the customer will receive as a result of doing business with you. (I.e. remind them of your USP) Along the way, ask the customer pre-planned questions so that you can present her with the right offer at the end of the tour.
- Have a special offer for first-time clients that will compel them to come in for a service. In other words, book them in. This means you will need to have a ready made ready-made for nails prepared.
- Collect the client’s details and hand her a treatment menu. Here is an important tip. Try not hand out treatment menu’s unless a client is willing to give you her name, surname, cellphone number and email address. If a client is not willing to give you her contact details it means one of two things. Your sales presentation sucked or she probably never intended to do business with you in the first place
- Finish back at the reception desk and close the deal. Here’s how you do it. You have a pre-planned offer for first-time clients and you say, “For first-time clients like yourself we have an amazing deal... (Now you present the value added offer like you were taught at Magnetic’s Marketing Training for Nail Tech’s.) What suits you best, a booking during the week or on the weekend?”
Not every walk in client will book in right there and then. That’s not a problem for you because you have her contact details and you can knock her socks off by doing the following. Immediately after the customer leaves, send the customer a personalised SMS thanking her for her visit and an email with the value added special offer you presented her.
This instant delivery of value added offers is not only appreciated by the customer, but it also makes you look extremely professional. (By the way, have you noticed that so far, everything I have told you to do to wow your clients doesn’t cost a cent? It just takes thought, time and effort!)
Step 3 – reinforce with the Appointment Booking
Step number 3 in the customer pipeline is another opportunity to show customers how organised and professional your business is. How you book your appointments will make or break your business. At this point, I recommend that you use an automated SMS reminder system to send out an SMS reminder to your client 24 - 48 hours before their appointment.
Why do this? Because most of your competitors don't do it. Plus it makes you look professional, but, you also you want your clients respecting your time and you don't want to lose revenue through missed appointments.
The ball's in Your Court
Thanks for reading this blog post. I hope you find these business building tips useful. In next weeks blog post, we will cover the next three steps in the customer experience pipeline.
If you have any ideas on building a customer experience pipeline or if you have any questions I’d love to hear from you.