You routinely go out of your way for your clients—coming in on your days off, skipping lunch, cutting discounts, missing time with family, dreaming about future appointments and nightmaring about the ones that could or have gone wrong—but do your clients even know what you give up for them? Do they even care? Do those self-harming behaviors really equate to good customer service?
The following are some things we think we’re doing for the good of our clients but at our own expense, and alternative ways we might provide good customer service without sacrificing ourselves.
Coming in on your days off: This needs to be a hard line. Everyone needs time away from their work to recuperate, recharge, and rejuvenate. Decide what your days off will be and don’t think of them as “days off,” as that can connotate that you could be working but are choosing not to. Instead, your “days off” are the days your chair is closed. It’s simply not open for business that day, no choice in the matter. “I’m sorry, Client, but I’m closed on Sundays. My chair is open Tuesday through Saturday for your convenience.”
Skipping lunch: We’ve all heard the advice to put a lunch break on our books, but I understand in the real world sometimes things happen and clients run over. When this happens, turn it into an opportunity to provide exceptional customer service by ordering in lunch for you and your client. They’re probably hungry, too, but if they aren’t, the offer should trigger, “But you go ahead and eat, I’m fine, go eat!”
Cutting discounts: Discounting your worth is not customer service. It does absolutely nothing to add value to the service you provide, it detracts from it—it “discounts” it. Good customer service is adding an upgrade treatment or product, not subtracting.
Missing time with family: Everyone (okay, almost everyone) has to work sometimes and that means we can’t be with our families 24/7. But life is about balance, and if you haven’t made it to a single one of your son’s soccer games this season or don’t even know what your daughter’s ballet recital costume looks like, it might be time to quit letting your clients plan your schedule. Take some time to sit down and schedule your family in. Sound cold? Not as cold as missing every family dinner, outing, and Sunday funday. When a client wants to schedule at that time, “I’m booked at that time, but how about…?”
Dreaming about future appointments and nightmaring about ones that go wrong: It used to drive me crazy that I would dream about being behind the chair like, “Dang, can’t I have any time off?” But then I started using it to my advantage. When you’re spending all your free time thinking about your client’s hair, let them know. Let them know that you care that much. But if having hair on the brain 24/7 is really getting hairy, it’s time to tap into some other creative outlets. Read, stalk some Instagram accounts that aren’t hair related, take a pottery class, volunteer at a local charity—expand your horizons and it will expand your artistry. Try some guided meditation before bed or fall asleep listening to a podcast to ease your hair brain. It’s great to be passionate, but unhealthy to be obsessed. If you’re really having trouble forgiving yourself or letting past mistakes go, seek some professional help.
Neglecting yourself does not mean you’re giving the best customer service to your clients. It’s actually quite the opposite. It’s possible to provide incredible customer service to your clients AND yourself.