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Time is the ultimate luxury

We are witnessing a seismic shift in attitudes, leading to a new paradigm, according to a huge survey carried out by whom and when in Europe and North America. It questioned 5,000 participants and found the number one way to happiness was to buy back some time.

We are all busy. A perfect example of how busy was provided by the panel for my session on Quick Service Ideas to Improve Service at this year’s ISBN conference. Between the four of us we’d been in 14 cities in the previous 10 days.

Our experience explains why businesses that can give back clients time are booming, be it food delivery services, cleaning houses or doubling up treatments. To investigate what they and others are doing I invited Carter Lund, who has a salon in Austin, Texas, and another in Temecula, California; along with Deb Swan of Nufree Hair Removal Systems and Rachel Judd, senior director from JC Penney, to join me for my session. Our intention was to share some ideas with members on how to buy back time for guests.

  • Carter described his salons’ two-tier menu: a conventional service list supplemented by a quick services menu offering between-haircut options such as a mini haircut or color that can be processed in seconds. Many of the services are free, but include an opportunity to upgrade. A perfect example is his quick color service for existing clients. They can leave the salon before the color processes and then rinse at home, or leave after it is finished but with hair still wet, or they can upgrade to a blowout. Carter reported a 97 per cent retention rate of clients who access the quick services between appointments.
  • JC Penney has introduced taster sessions where potential clients can trial a quick service, many of which are free, without commitment. The company has run campaigns such as 10 days of non-stop events but it also encourages existing clients to recommend their friends to come. ‘We call it our gateway service,’ explained Rachel. The aim is to get them hooked and coming back.
  • Getting the team on board is paramount. They have to be apprised of the real value they are offering their clients rather than focus on the money, agreed all panelists. If they can be made to understand that arching a color client’s brows saves the client valuable time later, that professional will be much more motivated to suggest it, explained Deb. Especially when they realize a better experience for the client will encourage greater loyalty.
  • To drive uptake of quick services, it is also important to be transparent, with the cost in terms of time and money clearly explained. If it’s going to take 10 minutes then the professional must state 10 and not say five just to make it more attractive, as that breaks trust.
  • But not all services to maximize a guest time are about making more money. Much of them are about creating loyalty. Carter’s free mini services and JC Penney’s taster sessions focus on loyalty. If a client knows they can get an excellent service that saves them time, they’ll keep coming back.

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