I had the opportunity to listen to a training session by Great Clips’ Education Vice President about delivering our brand. The entire session was very informative, but one of the comments that stood out to me was focused around service guarantees. Not to get too specific, but the point of the comment was the idea that  a guarantee no longer holds as much value in the eyes of consumers. At first, it took me by surprise, but as the session went on I understood where the comment was coming from.

In today’s world, nearly everything you purchase is guaranteed. If the item is defective, most products can be returned. Additionally, most businesses provide some sort of return policy—whether it’s a 10-day or 30-day policy. These measures and policies are put in place to ensure customer satisfaction. Due to this, as a consumer, the concept of a product or service being guaranteed no longer holds the value and mystique it once used to. We’ve come to expect and demand that our purchase meets our standards.

The education vice president continued by talking about the guarantee being built into each customer experience. Rather than businesses (salons in this case) focusing on using the guarantee as one of their strategies, they should shift that focus to ensuring satisfaction while the customer is still in the chair. Salons and stylists need to develop the habit of consulting with their customers and making sure each customer is satisfied before the cape is removed.

The concept of a product or service being guaranteed and ensuring individual customer satisfaction tend to be thought of as the same practice. However, salons and stylists that continue to focus on an overall broad guarantee are missing the bigger picture. What would make you, as a consumer, more comfortable? A stylist saying “our service is guaranteed or a stylist saying “I want to make sure you are completely satisfied with your haircut today.”