I Am The Client Blog hd Passion Squared

I’m The Client, Remember?

“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” Chinese Proverb

Since when did it become a thing to make a client jump though hoops to engage with your business? I am watching a disturbing trend unfold right before my eyes that astounds me and I while I have blogged on this topic before, here and here, I am inspired to share again. Why? Because I care, and even more because I know many are not even aware they are doing this.

As a business owner, our responsibility is to make the client experience the most awesome possible, online and off. This means several things. But here are just a few…

If you want me to engage with you, make it simple + easy.
And by easy, I mean make it easy for me. Be mindful of my needs and my process. Create a system that works for me, and of course, if it works for me, that means it will work for you. The harder you make it, the more likely I will choose to go elsewhere.

Be mindful of how you speak to me on social platforms. Please.
True leadership comes from having a level of control over our emotions. Just because you had one no show, does not make it OK to blame an entire following. When things begin to unravel, look inward, and look at your systems. There is something broken but guess what? It can be fixed.

I am not to blame for your lack of systems.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by texts, phone calls, and emails, look in the mirror. This is many times the most challenging part of biz ownership. So much of the angst you feel can be alleviated by having awesome systems and processes. But nine times out of ten, its not the people who fail, it’s the system that fails. Take the time to work on creating systems. Your anxiety and angst, and most of all, your clients will thank you.

Some systems + processes you may want to look into are…
Appointment Booking
Cancelled or changed appointments
No shows
Check In
Check Out
Pre Booking
Post experience
Lapsed client communications
Agreements (Policies)
Note on agreements: Be sure these are created with the mindset that a large majority of clients awesome. If you are making a new policy charged with emotion over one repeat offender, that is not a policy, it is actually punishing everyone versus dealing with that one offender directly. Remember, doing biz with you should be simple, easy and client focused and friendly.

Look, I know biz ownership can be overwhelming, but that is what we signed up for. With the technology and choices available to us today, it is simpler than ever to implement systems that make the client experience awesome.

Always be mindful that we have choices. And of all the reasons I will choose you; how you treat me, and my experience with your brand, online and off, are some of the biggest reasons.

The choice is yours.
Love + Awesomeness-

PS: If you are an owner, our A School for Owners online coaching program may be a good fit for you. Interested? Click here to learn more!

don't get mad get a system

Don’t Get Mad, Get A System

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Jeff Bezos, Amazon

It never fails, each day I see a post on Facebook or Instagram about a professional being mad at a client for canceling, no-showing, etc. The fact that I just wrote that I am seeing this on a social platform should be enough to get your attention.

My great leader for over 25 years and forever mentor John Paul DeJoria taught me a simple concept. “Praise in public, coach in private.” So I ask, why in the world would we use a public platform to put our clients on blast, or better yet, why would we ever put a client on blast? I mean, they are our clients after all. Now I am not talking about abusive clients, I am speaking about clients in general.

If you find yourself in this cycle of never-ending angst, what it tells me is you simply have not found a system or process that works for you.

Here are some things to consider…

Get A Booking System
Do you have a system that works for the client and yourself? And you see, I put client first. As if it does not work for them, well, then, we have nothing to discuss, as you will have no clients.

A system could be as simple as…
1. Appointment Booking
2. Pre-booking
3. Online Booking
4. A dedicated phone line that has a human on the other end during business hours (which you get to set)

As a client, telling me you have 500 text messages and you are sorry I have not heard back is not the way to build and grow a business. It’s not my problem, it’s yours. So please don’t make it mine. I’m the client. Remember that. If the experience sucks, you’ve lost me. And the experience begins at discovery of your business. Before booking. Think about it.

Appointment Communications + Confirmations
1. Clear, easy to find and understand booking agreement
2. Text and/or email confirmations

Look, its 2015, almost 2016, so if you are not using an email and/or text confirmation and communication platform, it’s time for a wake up call. So lets consider this blog your wake up call. As an owner, its your job to make the clients experience seamless, not the other way around, and I want reminders, and I want communication, but I want it the way I want to consume it, text and/or email.

And as far as policies and agreements go, if I cannot read it, see it, and find it easily, then it’s on you as to why I did not know about it. So web design comes into play here, as does email communication and even good old-fashioned face-to-face verbal communication.

You see, as a business, it’s our responsibility to make the client journey with our business an awesome one. Not one of back and forth texts, ignored texts or emails, setting alarms to call you, or jumping through hoops to get an appointment. Nope, sorry, most will go elsewhere.

In the end, in order to create an awesome experience for our clients, we must focus on their journey. From discovering our biz, to reaching out, to booking, to confirming, to finding it, to parking, to paying, to pre-booking, all of it. So take the time to think about the journey, and do the work to make it awesome, for both you and your current and future clients. Oh, and one last thing, remember that we are on our mobile devices 24/7, so whichever system you choose to create, it must be mobile friendly, or you have lost me, again.

Change the system, change the result.

Love + Awesomeness-

PS: One of my fave go to online booking platforms is Schedulicity as they have everything you need plus the best client care. My awesome haircutter @sugarskulls uses Schedulista, which I love the user experience as a client. And of course, if you are looking for a more intensive software package, there is always MindbodyMillennium, STX and many more.



I Can’t Get To The Phone Right Now…

“Never be so busy as to not think of others.” 


 Mother Teresa


(image via meditateinkansas.org)

Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

It seems simple enough. Yet, the lack of it seems to be an epidemic, and it can also be a competitive advantage. What am I speaking of? Caring.

Here are some ways to show we care…
1. Show up for ourselves, our family, team + community

2. Respond

  • To phone calls

  • To texts

  • To emails

  • To social shout outs

3. Be on time (and end on time)

4. Respect others time

5. Do what we say we are going to do

6.  Be honest

7. Make eye contact

8. Be authentic

9.  Keep our promises

10. Own our mistakes

Many of us are guilty of using the “busy” excuse. And that is exactly what it is, an excuse. We choose where to put our time and energy. If it matters, we will not be too busy.

I wonder what would happen if we were honest and instead of saying “OMG, I am so sorry, I got too busy”, we said, “You know what, you and your issue, or our meeting, or that phone call, or that email was just not very important to me.” Would we be more accountable to each other if we were forced to be honest? Something to think about.

If you find yourself saying I just can’t keep up with all my emails, Facebook messages, etc. than maybe you need to look at your systems, processes and resources. If you want to create an awesome business, caring (not saying you care, but showing you care) is one of the best ways to create an awesome business.

In the world of time management, is it time that manages us or us who manage time? Who decides what we say yes to and what we say no to?

Life happens, things come up, oversights happen, but when it becomes the norm, and not the exception, it’s a problem. If you want to build trust, relationships, and a business, it’s time to admit there’s a problem and make a decision to change it.

As always, the choice is ours.

Love + Awesomeness-

The Form

Never confuse movement with action.  -Ernest Hemingway

Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

Waiting at one of my fave new restaurants for my take-out order, I noticed a feedback form on the front desk. It was the first time I had seen it, on my 3rd time to the restaurant. I took me by surprise, as I would have given them awesome feedback, and told them how much I loved their space.

Then it struck me, there was no system in place to ask me for feedback, yet someone had taken the time and money to make the form, thinking it was a great idea. Sound familiar?

You see, a form is just a form. A form, with a system and process behind it, executed consistently, can become a business building tool. Once again, it’s all in the execution, not the idea itself.

Small business owners are almost always sharing with me how busy they are. One of my questions is always… “busy doing what?”

If we are ever going to grow and create more awesome in our biz, we have to continually evaluate our systems, processes and programs. And of course, all of our “forms”.

Before you create another beautiful form, brochure, card, contact us page, appointment inquiry, program, promotion or engage on another social platform, take a couple steps back and ask yourself these questions…

1. Do we have a system and process to execute this?
2. Is it bringing real value to our biz, clients or team?
3. Is it honestly helping us grow?

If the answer is no to any one of the above questions, well, I think you know what the next step is.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

does anyone want my money blog passion squared

Does Anyone Want My Money?

 “We asked ourselves what we wanted this company to stand for. We didn’t want to just sell shoes. I wasn’t even into shoes – but I was passionate about customer service.” Tony Hsieh

I have noticed a very sad trend happening with small businesses and it makes me wonder if anyone really wants or needs my money. I do not have a ton of it, but when I need something, when I am ready to spend it, is your business ready to take it? I know, sounds a bit fundamental, but there is a reason I was inspired to write this post.

The Awning
My beautiful awning in the backyard has been slowly deteriorating for some time. A few Santa Ana winds (what we call wind in la la land) literally tore my awning apart. I called USAA where I have my homeowners insurance, they are awesome. They were ready to give me the money to get the awning fixed, I just needed to get a quote. Easy enough I thought. Well, not really come to find out.

It took me 3 months to find an awning company in LA to take my money, well part USAA’s and part mine. Why? Not a single company returned my emails and phone calls.

Finally, I stumbled upon an awesome company called Superior Awning. Found them on YELP. To my surprise, they actually answered my email inquiry with a phone call, within 24 hours. They had a highly trained awning guy at my house within 36 hours and had the job complete within 2 weeks. They clearly wanted my money and I happily gave it to them. I guess those other companies were doing so well they had no desire for a new client for life.

The Salon
My Mom just moved back to So Cal after 30 years on the East Coast. To say I am thrilled is an understatement. What is one of the first things people do when they move to a new city? Find a salon. How do people go about finding salons in today’s connected economy? They head to Google, YELP and ask their friends and family.

Since I did not know any salons in her new town, I went online and found a couple via YELP that I thought she should look into. So as any good Mom does, she follows her daughters recommendation. :)
She found one she liked, and used their “Contact Us” form on their website. And the waiting game began. One week, radio silence. No response. No reply. Well, my Mom is pretty patient so she decided to call the salon. She left a voice mail. And waited. One week, radio silence. No response. No return call. I guess that salon is fully booked and has no desire to engage with new clients.

Mom did finally find an awesome salon & hairdresser, Penelope at Salon Ana, based on a good old fashion referral from a friend, and she is very happy.

The System
You have systems for cutting hair, for creating color formulas, for ordering inventory, for cleaning brushes, but do you have a system for engaging new clients?

Here are a couple things you may want to take a look at in your salon:
1. What is your system for returning voice mail messages?
2. What is your system for email inquiries from your website?
3. What is your system for email inquires from your Facebook biz page?
4. What is your system for client questions posted to your social pages?

Change the system. Change the result. It’s really is that simple. If you want new clients that is.

If you are in the LA area and are looking for awning repair or a new awning, Superior Awning is the BEST.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)