I keep saying that things are changing, and changing a great deal.
So I’m going to tell anyone willing to hear it that companies must focus on developing the “right side” of the corporate brain when it comes to customers. This is the side associated with empathy, with developing social interactions and with forming relationships –all factors which have become increasingly important as companies try to influence an increasingly well-informed public able to critically assess the messages emitted by particular brands or institutions.
There are no news articles specifically stating that companies are now going down this route. However, I’d like to outline an experience which left a big impression on me professionally because of the simplicity of the staging.
I recently arrived in Madrid to attend a wedding and was planning to go to the nearest hairdressers’ to my hotel before the event. I found one online thanks to technology but, even so, I felt that, like mothers feel every day, there were simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done in time.
Sure enough, came D Day, and I hadn’t managed to get an appointment for the hairdresser, so I began dashing around the area where I was staying. Eventually, and at quite a distance from the hotel, I came across a shop and went in and anxiously asked: “Excuse me, are you a hairdressers?”
At this point I’m going to interrupt my account to explain that, as a communications officer, the idea that innovation is not just about the desire to change the world, it is also about how, by taking care with the little things, we can improve peoples’ experience and their lives.
The Power of Words
Apart from departing radically from the stereotypical image that we have of hairdressers , i.e. hairdryers, washbasins, combs and brushes, and often, a lot of recently-cut hair in piles on the floor –this shop had changed the look of the place completely with a creative use of wording
The session began with what were described as “aromatherapy and thermotherapy rituals” (with an explanation underneath about what this involved). Then you are “diagnosed”, you are offered delicious cocktails and before you get your hair washed, they give you a “star spa”. The franchise, which is called Metropolytan, explains that the aim is to ensure customers “enjoy their stay” and “create a positive energy flow”.
In the meantime, obviously, they cut your hair.
When after all the liturgies, you sit under the drier with a new cut or hairstyle, they have achieved their mission –you are no longer in a hairdressers, you are on cloud nine! And this has all been achieved by using words intelligently to evoke specific visual images for the listener: ritual, diagnosis, spa, etc.
The investment cost to achieve this experience for your customer is almost nil. It comes down simply to an eagerness to think of what you want before going about getting it: what is the nature of my business, what is my aim, what am I good at, how can I attract potential clients and get their repeat business? Sometimes the answer can be found in those small but crucial details that benefit the customer.
Putting people first: integrity is the route to excellence.
Why was I so impressed? Because everything was really simple, unpretentious, straightforward, and seductive. Metropolytan knew exactly where companies should look to achieve success from one day to the next: the pursuit of the best experience for the customer, getting repeat business, achieving customer loyalty as a business objective, and using one of the best communications channels there is: prescription.
- Thermotherapy ritual: We offer you a small, slightly cooled stone, which, when held in your hands, balances body temperature
- Aromatherapy ritual: We ask you to choose your favorite scent which is then waved under your nose by one of our attendants.
- Star Spa: This is in the wash area, a room separate from the rest of the salon where you relax in a massage chair with music and soft lighting and watch a cascade of lights changing color.
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