I had a brutal – and I mean really brutal – haircut three weeks ago. The kind of haircut that meant I was trying to avoid leaving the house; wondering if I could get away with wearing a balaclava when training and looking in the mirror every five minutes to see if it was any better (it wasn’t).
Now, this wasn’t about the length of my hair after its savaging (albeit having asked for two inches off the length it was double that), it was that my hair was also:
- Longer on one side than the other
- On the shorter side, it also (confusingly) managed to be longer at the back than the front and
- The ends were choppy, irregular and looked as if I’d fallen asleep in a field, only for my hair to be mistaken by a herd of cows for grass, upon which they duly chewed. Nightmare. If I say I looked like Anne Widdecombe crossed with a sheep, that might give you some idea of how bad it really was.
In the moment at the salon when I looked in the mirror and realised what had happened (I had been reading) I was absolutely horrified, and really upset. It was one of those occasions when I could feel a rising tide of emotion, but, buoyed by the knowledge that a hallmark of emotional intelligence is emotional self-control, as is assertiveness, I managed to have a calm conversation with my stylist. I explained that I really did hate what she’d done and I couldn’t understand why this had happened (NB – the previous time she’d cut it, it had been longer on one side than the other but that was easily remedied so we were already into second chance territory).
Longs story short: my stylist offered to get the salon owner to have a look there and then, but as bad as it was I didn’t want to risk any more hair loss. The manager didn’t want any payment and suggested that we speak again when I’d had a chance to think about what I’d like them to do next. We spoke a few days later, at which point we arranged for the salon manager to cut my hair free of charge. So, fast forward two weeks…..
And I’m sitting in the chair with the owner of the salon standing beside me a) welcoming and thanking me for coming in (which is amazing when you consider I was a potentially “problem” client and b) asking me to tell him what’s wrong from my perspective.
Right from the off, he hit absolutely the right note: warm, welcoming and concerned; listening, summarising and empathising, and only offering options when he could see I’d said everything I needed to say.
And this meant that right from the off, I felt reassured, in safe hands, and glad that we were able to have a sensible discussion about what had happened and what to do next.
My hair an hour later was good. It’s still a bit too short for my liking but apart from gluing it back on, what could the man do? Thankfully it grows at an almost supernatural rate so it won’t be long before it’s ok again. And not only have I had a free haircut, but he said he wants to do the next one, and do it free of charge again at that, because he thinks it will take two cuts to get it back to where it should be.
I am impressed (it’s not about the freebies, despite me being Scottish). It’s that the whole thing has been so well handled. And my usual stylist came over, we had a nice chat, so it was all very pleasant and means that when I see her next time it will be ok. I don’t know if she’ll cut my hair again. I think probably not – but I will remain a loyal client of the salon – because let’s face it, everyone can have a bad day.
The point of this is really about Brand and Reputation. Brand is about people’s perceptions of your expertise, the quality of your service and/or product, and value for money. Reputation is about whether or not you meet those expectations, and a bit like an insurance policy, for when things go wrong – if you’ve heard good things about what your service provider does, even if it goes wrong you’ll be willing to see if they can sort it for you.
Sorted it is. I’m looking forward to going back soon and to a long and productive relationship going forward. We’ve gone from disaster to triumph and I’m a happy client who will tell more people about the putting right – or rather emphasise the putting right bit - rather than the going wrong.
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about the author
Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.