A loyal customer base is the Holy Grail for all businesses, especially in tough economic times. All businesses will benefit from putting themselves in the mind of their target market and finding platforms in which to speak to them. Some brands find that social media is that platform and use it to help boost their word of mouth marketing.
There are few more personal brand choices than choosing a hairstylist. I needed a new hairstylist. I texted a few girl friends and, being a social media junkie, I posted my search on Facebook. Here’s what happened…
One of my friends recommended a hairstylist in response to my Facebook status and invited me to join the hairstylist’s Facebook group. I had already booked an appointment with another stylist recommended via SMS (Do we ever just talk to each other anymore? That’s another article altogether).
Lesson # 1: Word of mouth is still the number one marketing tool.
The first cut was great, I felt like a new person. My second appointment was also a success although I was double-booked. I recommended the hairstylist to my mother and sister. My mom was charged more than what she was quoted, but she overlooked it in the name of good hair.
Lesson # 2: If you offer great service most of the time, customers may overlook the odd slip-up.
Waiting for her next appointment however, held her captive for an afternoon, this time, the result of triple booking. Then the friend who originally recommended the hairstylist told me that she was ‘shopping around’ after being quoted low, charged high and made to wait over two hours for a trim.
Lesson # 3: Word-of-mouth can work both for and against your brand. Obviously customers’ tolerance for broken promises lessens as your service standards drop.
I took heed and made my next appoint for 8 am on a Saturday morning and was thrilled not having to wait. I thought my hair was cut and blow-dried perfectly… little did I know what a good blow-dry can hide…
Last Monday morning after a home wash and blow-dry, I realised that I had was a mullet! You know the kind, Billy Ray Cyrus’ business in the front and all party at the back! I didn’t even phone my hairstylist to complain or make a fix-up appointment.
Lesson # 4: Most customers will not complain about bad service, but they won’t leave quietly … bad news travels fast.
I went back to Facebook, to the recommended hairstylist’s group. Here I found the contact details, saw photos of the salon, read the group wall and then called to make my appointment. In my lunch hour my mullet was reshaped into a neat bob, and I had found a new stylist. Mission accomplished!
Lesson # 5: Brand loyalty is quickly won with honest and consistent delivery on your brand promise.
That evening I joined the stylist’s Facebook group and invited a few girlfriends along with my personal endorsement. Did someone pay me to promote this brand? No. Do I gain anything by telling my friends? Maybe style kudos but that’s it.
Final result: Good old fashioned brand basics + social media presence = fans for your brand (both online and off).
For those of you that are looking for a great hairstylist, check out the Facebook group of French Fusion, I am a brand fan.
Read more of Monique‘s blog posts here.