Dick Heller has given us this post. NB: Posted by me, written by Dick:
I live in the suburbs surrounded by salons and barbershops. Yet I choose to drive nine miles of highway and downtown traffic to get a haircut. Why?
When I moved to Boston a few decades ago, Betty was my barber at the neighborhood shop. One day I stopped in and she was no longer there. The owner wouldn't tell me where she'd gone. He told me that the customer belonged to the owner, not the barber.
A few months later, my office phone rang. I recognized Betty's Colombian accent immediately. "Richard? I have my own shop on Commercial Street on the Waterfront."
I asked her how she'd found me. Even after all our hours of conversation reflected in her mirror she hadn't known my last name. "I know where you work," she said. "I call and I ask, 'you got a tall skinny guy, dark hair, work there? Named Richard?'"
For the past thirty years, neither rain, nor snow, nor all the years of downtown Big Dig construction could keep me from trekking to Betty. She cut my son's hair lovingly all the while he grew up until he left for college and a career in New York. I know her family story, too, but I've never met the Garcias.
I really love Betty. She's a great barber, and she has made it crystal clear to me every month since the day that telephone rang that I matter to her, too.
The hardest guy to locate, she told me, was a blonde guy at the Deaconess Hospital, medium height, Michael. She found him, too.
How do your customers know you care?