1/25/12 - Lessons from the Barber (Questions for Your Customer)

I was at the barber on Monday afternoon.  It's a self-proclaimed European barber, which I like because he doesn't get in a hurry, and when he's done he cleans up your neck with a flat edge razor.  Even I look good when I leave the barber chair.

As he was finishing up, the barber looked at me in the mirror and said this:

"When you come here, do you wait for me only or do you take whichever barber is free?"

"I usually wait for you."

He smiled.  "Are you sure about that?"

I thought on it a minute.  "That's a good question.  I like to come in the afternoon on a business day so I can get you, and not have many people in line either.  But the last 4 or 5 times, I've brought my sons with me on Saturdays, and since there are 3 of us then, I have to take whoever is available."

He smiled.  "Now that sounds about right."

"I prefer you," I said, "but sometimes I have to go with a backup option."

The price for a haircut at this shop is $17, but he charges me $15 if I pay cash.  I try to tip him $5 each time because I think he does a great job and he doesn't get distracted but still manages to talk about small things that are a little interesting:  places to eat, things to do, wondering out loud why people don't tell him more often what small things they want different so that he does a perfect job for them.

How does a guy making $20 per transaction ask a question this insightful, and the rest of us not take the time to find out how we're doing? 

Are we meeting your expectations?  Is there something else we can do for you, or something we are doing now we should do differently or better?  What advice do you have for us?  How can we make you think we are the only company you'll seek out when you need services like ours?

Today's a good day to remind myself and any readers out there that in healthcare IT there is a new company doing whatever you do right now, and 40 to 50 more coming in the next week or two.  There is nothing that separates you from your competitors except service.

Today I will make some changes, and ask some hard questions, so that I'm assessing what I do as thoughtfully as my barber.  Hats off to Al, Question Asker of this Brand New Year, European Barbers in Alpharetta, Georgia.


Posted by Jack Williams at 06:00


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