I must make a disclaimer that today's post has nothing to do with my writing whatsoever. However, if you'll allow me, I'd like to share an experience I had today that was not the first, and I hate to say, probably not the last I will have in the course of my life. But this post is more a plea to business owners. Let me start from the beginning.
Today, after a week or two or procrastination, I decided to set an appointment to get my hair done. In the past, I've had some sub-par experiences in the hair salon. It's possible I over think it, but I get the feeling that most stylists are disgruntled by how young I appear off the bat.
Come to think of it, I've been asked quite a few times if I've graduated yet. I'll reply yes. "When do you start college?" No, I explain, I've graduated from college several years ago. In their mild embarrassment at the mistake, I can't help but notice the shift in the air as they realize I will, in fact, leave a "mature" tip.
Maybe I'm cynical from being a server for too many years. However, the age factor comes into play so bear with me.
I had read very good reviews about a salon in my town, so I decided to try it out. I called the number listed on the website, alongside a message that read "Schedule An Appointment Today!" A woman answered, sounding a bit frazzled, though it's hard to tell over the phone.
"I'd like to schedule an appointment, please."
"Who's your stylist?"
I hesitate. "Well I heard great reviews for (stylist's name) on the website."
"Oh." Awkward pause. "She's not accepting new clients."
I hesitated for a second. I wasn't aware some stylists accepted a maximum amount of clients. It was eerily similar to the recent experience I had trying to locate a doctor.
I expected her to recommend another stylist, preferably with similar reviews to the previous one. When she didn't, I prompted her. "Do you have any recommendations?"
She gave me the name of another salon in the city.
I hung up, feeling a bit mistreated. First of all, I couldn't understand why a business would turn away a paying customer, no matter how many clients they were currently servicing. Don't businesses make a living off of potential clients?
I couldn't help but wonder if my mother were to have made that phone call. Her voice is commanding and firm, yet friendly. I couldn't imagine the same conversation taking place, were she involved.
Whether or not this particular case was a matter of one employees age preference, or her overloaded schedule, I still can't get over the fact that this business has now lost my business. Not only that, they handed me over directly to a competitor as if to say "They need your money more than we do."
The point I'm trying to make here is that a business should never be bigger than their customer. Because where would that salon be without them? I've known a few companies and employees alike that tend to get swept up in their businesses's success and begin to feel that their customer should feel grateful to them for them offering the service!
At the end of the day, businesses offer a service which the customer needs. But without their customers, the business would not survive. Heck, maybe my pocketful of change wasn't worth it for that salon to squeeze in another appointment. I sure hope the clients they do currently service are treated with more gratitude.