Last week, I was researching a new purchase. I looked at three companies, and called each to make enquiries.

The first lady I spoke to was really helpful. She was warm and friendly and very knowledgeable on the subject. We had a lovely chat and I put the phone down with a genuine smile on my face.

The second company I contacted had a flashy website, but when I called their Customer Service department, they were vague and not very warm. I was put off by their attitude and in two minds about whether to bother with them.

The third company had a great website; they looked like the kind of company I like to do business with, and I was looking forward to speaking to them. In my mind, I was thinking I would probably end up going with them as they seemed the most professional. I made the call though, and was met by a man who sounded unfriendly and perhaps even a little bored. He was not forthcoming with information, and really just sounded like he couldn’t be bothered; like he wanted to get off the phone so that he could go back to playing a game or chatting on Facebook.

In the end, I decided to go with the first company I had contacted. The lady I had spoken to seemed genuinely interested in what I wanted; I felt like she would be a good person to speak to with any queries I might have.

My point is this: however good you are at your job, however beautiful your salon or website are, if people don’t have a good experience that very first time they contact you, they probably won’t bother again. You could have the best lashes in town, at the best price, with the shiniest, prettiest salon; it’ll be empty if you don’t have the customer service skills to go with it. It’s probably the most important thing in business that the first point of contact must be friendly and welcoming.

I know I haven’t always got it right in business, but I’ve learned from mistakes and put a lot of work into getting the right team together to offer the best possible customer service. I always listen to feedback and try to respond to it in order to make sure my customers feel valued and appreciated.

Last week I went into a shop to buy a shirt. The girl who served me was incredibly helpful and friendly. We had a lovely chat and I left the shop knowing I would definitely go back again. As it happened, the shirt didn’t fit quite right, and I had to go back any way. I found that as I made my way to the cash desk, I was looking around the shop for the girl who had served me before. People remember good service; they remember how you make them feel.

It’s also important to note that it’s not all about knowledge ability. You might know everything there is to know about a particular thing, but if you can’t communicate that in a warm and friendly manner then I’m sorry, I don’t want to know. I’d rather deal with someone who doesn’t know everything, but will say “I’m so sorry, I don’t know that but I’ll find out for you.”

I read a book called The Starbucks Experience recently; it was really interesting to see how they train their staff in customer care. It’s easy to see why the Starbucks brand is so well known across the world, in the face of so much competition.

If you aspire to be number 1, you need to put in the work on being friendly and welcoming to your customers. Even if the person irritates you, or you have a headache and you’d rather be at home, or they’ve already asked you about this treatment three times and you’re sick of repeating yourself, take a deep breath and smile pleasantly. Trust me; it will make a massive difference to your business!


Love Alison