How A barista made my day Passion Squared blog

How A Barista Made My Day

“Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.” Unknown

A barista at Starbucks made my day.

She surprised and delighted me. She did something unexpected.

What did she do?
She offered me a free beverage.

Well that seems like no big deal.
It was a big deal.

Because it was simple, unexpected and it made me feel valued and happy.

My loves, at the end of the day, all of the marketing programs, fancy Instagram posts, Workshops and Classes don’t matter if we do not remember what matters most, a happy client.

Now, I know what you may be thinking. “Nina, we cannot give stuff away”. I get it, but that’s not the point. I am a regular customer who came in to purchase a pound of espresso, which I do about every 10 days. She did not know me. She did not need to. She just felt like and had the autonomy to do something special.

And that is all.

Surprise. Delight. And make me feel valued and happy. Be a day maker. And give your team permission to be one too.

And if you do, your clients may be inspired to share their experience with their friends. And on Yelp. And even, in a blog post like I did.

Love + Awesomeness-

PS: A big shout out to the Starbucks on Flower + 9th in DTLA. You made my day. Thank you.


Two Ingredients of An Awesome Client Experience

Focus on the shit that matters.

When was the last time going to the vet was an awesome experience? For me, it’s been way too long. And while this story is about a vet visit, my experience applies beautifully to small businesses of many kinds, salons included.

When it comes to client experience in the social + digital age, there are several opportunities which allow us to engage our clients and make them feel special and cared for. And in doing this, we can also capture their experience and turn that into stories to share online and off.

Going to the vets office (and the salon) sometimes comes with a bit of anxiety. Knowing that, it’s clear that Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital made it a priority to make their experience less stressful and more joyful.

The Photo Booth
The first thing I noticed when entering Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital on Courage Jude’s first visit was a photo booth. What? A photo booth at the vets office? Yep. A photo booth at a vets office.

For all the pet parents out there we know that capturing photos with our babies is a big part of our daily existence. Mohawk knows this too. We were immediately put at ease, because #selfiesession

Simple Booth Photo App + iPad at Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital in Echo Park, California

The name says it all. Simple Booth. And based on their website, it truly is that simple to create a space where clients can capture their experiences to share with their friends and create content for you to share on your social platforms. They have three different packages to choose from for different sized business and needs. Then just add an iPad and you are in business. Just as we share creating a space to capture your work, this takes up very little space and it so worth it. #yourcontentisyourmarketing

Business Is Personal
The next thing that captured my eye, and heart, was also incredibly simple. A personalized welcome. That’s it. And you know it only took a few seconds to make such a huge impact. So much so that I have dedicated an entire blog to it. Good Morning Courage.

Both of these “little things” are two ways to make your client experience even more awesome. These two “little things” along with a system to execute on them consistently, can turn an average visit to your business into an awesome visit.

Two simple ways to make your clients experience even more awesome, memorable and special. Two ways to encourage word of mouth. Two ways to deepen the relationship between you and your clients. Two ways to create more awesome. What are you waiting for?

Love + Awesomeness-
Nina xo

PS: A big shout out of love and gratitude to the awesome humans at Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital for making Courage Jude’s first visit one that brought smiles to our hearts and faces. And to Courage’s new vet Dr. Lena Braham, we love you!

dr-lena-braham                                                 Dr. Lena Braham and Courage Jude Louis Kovner


How You Get Paid Is Irrelevant

How You Get Paid Is Irrelevant

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” Walt Disney

In the world of professional salons, it has always baffled me how there is so much focus on how people get paid. Commission, salary, commission plus salary, team based, self-employed, independent, 1099, ugh, the list goes on and on…

And to be clear, this is not a debate on booth rental or commission salons, which is the better model or who is right or wrong, that is not a debate I choose to engage in, this is about what really matters to clients.

To me, it does not matter how you get paid, or what business model you choose to create, lead, manage, or work in.

Here is what matters…

Can you deliver an awesome experience consistently? The key word here is consistently? If you promise me a 5 minute scalp massage, trust, I know when you decided 3 minutes would be ok this time, guess what, its not ok.

#iamtheclient #ouch
Are you available when I want to get my hair done? Remember, I am the client, so my availability is more important than yours.

#myterms #notyours
Can I book with you 24/7?

Do you have a website? Can I find your story online?

How are your YELP reviews? Are there several, posted consistently over time?

Can I find you on Instagram or Facebook? If I can’t, I don’t think you exist.

Do you pre-book my next appointment as a convenience to me?

Do I get a text or email reminder of my appointment?

Do you make my days brighter, my hair awesome and most importantly my heart fuller?

Are you loving and kind? Authentically, kind and loving. To yourself, and those around you?

#omg #fail
Do you support & cheer on the people around you? Opposed to having a nasty attitude and talking shit about those around you and many times in front of me?

Is your space clean? I mean really clean? Or could your salon end up in a Buzzfeed list on grossest salons?

#youareresponsibleforthernergyyoubring #thankyou #sage
Is your energy clean? If it’s not, take care of that shit before you get to the salon.

Are you passionate about learning and trying new things?

Are you really, really listening to me? Sometimes I think you aren’t. I said I loved that product you used on me, but you never offered it to me to take home.

#purpose #givemeareason
Do you know your why, and more importantly, do I know your why?

Is the value you deliver more than the price you charge? It better be. Because if its not, I will look for a less expensive option.

#wordofmouth #referrals
You see, if you do all these things, consistently, over time, you can create an awesome business + life. Because when you do all those things, consistently, I get excited. And when I get excited, I tell my friends.

Let’s stay focused on what matters, just like Mr. Disney did. #waltwisdom

Love + Awesomeness-
Nina, a salon client

Becuase We Care

We Remembered

“Best marketing strategy ever? Care.”

Gary Vaynerchuk


Becuase We Care

Here is the audio version of this post. Thanks so much for listening. Enjoy.

Actions speak louder than words. Something we can all agree on, yes? There is a big difference between saying we care and showing we care.

After reading The Thank You Economy by my biz hero Gary Vee, I was convinced more than ever that caring is not only a critical part of having a successful biz, but can also be a competitive advantage. As lame as that sounds, because it’s easier than ever to show we care, and sadly, there are just so many businesses who don’t.

With the rise of the social + digital web and the tools available to us, we can show we care in so many ways. Listening, engaging, responding, replying, paying attention, saying thank you and even wishing our clients a Happy Birthday.

Here are some of the awesome Birthday wishes I received in my inbox on my special day. Did I notice which brands remembered? Absolutely.

1. American Apparel
A great image and a special savings. A call to action. Simple and effective. And yes, I did take advantage of the offer.

American Apparel Birthday

2. Sephora
A beautiful image and note. An offer I did not take advantage of but would have if I needed the gift. An invitation and call to action to get my makeup done for my special day was icing on the cake, pun intended. Sephora BirthdaySephora Birthday 13. the Hair Loft ltd
A beautiful image and message from my friends at the Hair Loft ltd. A special offer and a call to action. Perfect on all levels. Only reason I did not make a reservation is because they are in Chicago. But I would have if it came from my salon in Los Angeles.

 Hair Loft Birthday1

Hair Loft icons

With the technology & platforms we have available to us today, no matter the size of our businesses, we all have an opportunity to show we care. But the platforms can’t do it for us, we have to care first, then use the technology to engage. We actually have to care. For reals.

How do you show clients you care? What do your birthday greetings look and feel like? I would love to hear and see what you are doing to show you care. It matters. You matter. And I’m listening.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)