Are You Available?

I’m a repeat customer at my local haircut shop. I make the pilgrimage once a month to get what I believe to be the best cut in town. It’s a short six mile drive to where the shop is located.

This month’s cut was super important because my parents were coming for a visit. Mom appreciates a well groomed son, and I was aiming to please.

My folks were set to arrive in one day and so the need for a hair cut was immediate. I called the shop to make sure that Jean, the Master Stylist who always cuts my hair, was available and had time. I was happy to hear that she was, so I scheduled a morning appointment.

When I arrived at the shop and signed in, I was told that Jean had the day off and that I could reschedule for sometime later in the day or early evening with somebody else. I couldn’t believe it. Jean wasn’t even on the schedule to work that day. This was not the first time the schedulers had messed up my appointments.

I asked to talk with the Manager. She was professional, very apologetic. She told me that she was having problems with her staff, she fired stylists, two had walked out on their own and she was clearly understaffed. I explained that what happened was not a single instance and that I had scheduling problems twice before. Again, she was apologetic. This time she upped the customer service ante and offered a free hair cut and discounts on future cuts.

Nice gesture, but by now, I was totally out of the haircut mood in this particular shop.

As I drove out of the parking lot, I looked in the mirror and knew that I urgently needed a cut and couldn’t go home without one. It was time to try somebody new. On the other end of town, I stopped by another haircut shop. I walked in, the place was buzzing with a positive vibe. One of the stylists, Katt, had just finished up with a customer and was available.  I was taken to her station and she went to work. Katt was everything that Jean was and more.

I left the shop feeling like I’d had a great experience and the services provided were topnotch. I had found a new shop that would get my business from now on. Sorry Jean, you just weren’t available.

This story illustrates the point of being available for repeat clients, and being responsible about time management and scheduling. Because no matter how good I am, there will always be somebody better. 80-percent of my income comes from repeat business so I make it a point to be available when my clients need me. Minimizing the conflicts that allow clients to look elsewhere is part of building my business. I can’t afford to lose good clients. Can you?