Real life research

Published by on december 14, 2005 at 10:14 f m

Growing up in my mother’s hair styling salon was probably the best management education you could get when it comes to customer relations. Think about it for a second: what do you tell your hairdresser? Or your taxi driver? Probably a good deal more than you tell the people at the bank, which is strange because banks are so important for so many things in your life.

Born in 1927, my mother started as an apprentice at a salon at the age of 11. Her career as a hairdresser was long; many of her customers she kept through three generations. She was often invited to customers’ weddings, christenings and funerals. I learned by listening to what her customers said, especially those who barely had any hair left, but who still wanted the ”experience” of the haircut.
Customer relations are based on qualities that can’t be found in CRM and computers. My mother had none of these, yet she always read the local newspaper to keep up with who had gotten married, had had children or had lost a loved one. Knowing your customers goes beyond ones and zeros.
A number of psychologists have explained to me that when you get hair done, it is the touching involved that creates intimacy that gets the customer to open up. People seem to have a deep need for confession.
But why are people more open with their hairdresser than at the bank? Let’s face it – in the general scheme of things hairdos are not a major life decision; there are many other things which have a far great effect on our lives. In a sentence, this is what the ONE blog/book is all about: the untapped potential of the meeting between company and customer.
I’m living proof of this potential. My mother ran a salon and my father was a customer. The ONE blog/book is full of the fruits of such unexpected meetings. I was born in 1965 and would like to thank my mother’s customers for giving me “real life research.”