A tale of two salons

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.

Mahatma Gandhi


This quote epitomizes the Indian approach to customer service. Today, I had two very different experiences with customer service. The first was bad, but the second was excellent. Since I have been in India, my customer service experiences have been very positive, after you account for India Stretchable Time, that is. People here go out of their way to be kind, courteous, and helpful.

This afternoon, my printer ran out of ink, in the middle of printing a 135-page color book. Naturally. So, I went in search of ink. Along the way, I decided to stop at Enrich salon to get threaded, a process that takes two minutes, maybe five. The lady greeted me and asked me to take a seat. I expected to be taken back shortly. I waited 15 minutes. Waiting is kind of a thing in India. It happens a lot, so I did not think much of it. But, when another woman walked in and was seated before me, I decided to just walk out. Not my best moment, but I have had similar experiences in this salon, and what this salon does not realize is that once I choose a salon, I am a loyal customer. When I moved from Cypress to Magnolia, I stayed with my stylist; when she moved her business to Copperfield, I followed. If I could have brought Tanja to India, I would have. I made a choice today. I will not go back to Enrich.

I then went to find my ink. I have an HP ePrint printer. I highly recommend these printers. I can print from my Apple iPhone. It rocks. The Galleria in Powai (not related to the Galleria in Houston by any stretch of the imagination) has an HP reseller. We have been there a few times to look at printers and scanners. The lady has always been very nice to us. It was the logical place to buy ink. I am sure I could have found ink cheaper elsewhere, but that would have meant looking. The HP store is right there, on the corner, and easy to find. As I left the store with my cartridges, I asked the lady if there was a hair salon nearby. She recommended the salon a couple of doors down, Jawed Habib. She said there was another salon upstairs, but Jawed Habib was “the best.” When I walked in, the stylist greeted me in fluent English. I asked if they threaded and was taken right back. When I was finished, I asked if he could match my color if I gave him the formula. He said that he could. I made an appointment for Saturday. Keep your fingers crossed.

Two different salons. Two different levels of service. What is the difference? The customer? No. I was the same in both instances. The difference is the customer service approach. In the first instance, I was an outsider. In the second, I was not. I was the reason for his business. Just as I was the reason for the HP rep’s business. In this parable, I think her approach is the most impressive. She has been very helpful on other occasions, literally walking me to the store that had an item that she did not. In this instance, she recommended another business when I asked a simple question. In the end, that is really what a customer wants: responsiveness. I do not want to be right. I am not always right. (Yes, I admit it. I can be wrong. Occasionally.) I just want to be helped. I want you to help me solve a problem. I want to feel like I am the most important person in the room, no matter how many people are in it.

3 thoughts on “A tale of two salons

  1. Your experience with the HP store is huge! I do wish to be treated as I am the reason they are getting paid. Kindness is rewarded! To actually walk you to another store is amazing and way beyond the usual!! How wonderful! Good luck on Saturday!


  2. You are obviously not in Walmart/Home Depot/Target/Office Depot/Kroger…at least in the USA “not my job”. It is a great observation though, who is my /current/potential customer?


    • Yes. I am far away from Walmart here. 🙂 That is for sure. Although today I realized how really awesome my driver is. I rode with someone who has an agency driver. The level of service was much more Walmart much less Needless Markup.


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