A barber needs to be able to read minds. People expect it.
Everyone comes to the barbershop for a specific experience, and it is different for every person. Some will come for a haircut. . . no more, no less. Some will come for a place to be that is not home or work. Some will come to talk about themselves, or their work, or their families. They will talk about whatever. Some will not talk at all. Some will come to listen to others. Some will come to be pampered. Some will come to rest. It is up to the barber to figure this out.
It is a barbers job to be accommodating to all of those desires and provide the proper experience. The hardest part, I think, is diagnosing, or discovering, what experience to provide each customer. This will always be ‘the challenge’ in the service industry. ‘The challenge’ breaks up anything mundane about a job and it makes work exciting. It makes it fun, and it becomes addictive. Surely there are some that have mastered this skill, or at least come very close. I definitely haven’t. But I want to always work towards mastering it. I want to be a master barber.
At work I look around and see great barbers, doing great haircuts but the best barbers with the best clientele have more going on in the chair than haircuts. The most successful barbers know each client and what he or she wants to get out of the haircut experience and they provide it- perfectly. It does not have to be a 12 chair barbershop or an intimate little shop with just one barber. The experience doesn’t need to be loud or quiet or anything at all, just a place to get an experience. It only needs to be different from anything else, consistent each time, and looked forward to. An appointment with your barber should be your favorite appointment of the month. A master barber should be the perfect entertainer/ host.
At the end of my career I should be an absolute professional in having conversations. I should be the best listener in the the world. I should be the best judge of character, mood, and attitude. I will need to be able to discern. I should be able to. . . I hope to. I will have plenty of practice. I love that challenge.
I need to study how conversations are started, how they are ended. I need to study everything about treating a customer. Who is good at treating someone right and who is not. Who cares and who doesn’t. When I am at work, I need to watch and listen to more than just clippers and scissors. I need to listen to everything BUT clippers and scissors. I need to be aware of how someone is greeted and bid farewell. I need to figure out how they like the music being played? Is it right for them? Is it too loud, or too soft? Do they like having the game on TV? How do they feel before, and are they feeling better after their haircut? These are crucial questions and master barber knows the answers.
Believe it or not, the experience more than the haircut, is what brings folks back. They are addicted to the experience (or not, I guess). They are satisfied. Their needs have been met. They love their barber, or they love the experience. Ideally, they love them both. They become loyal. And to guys like me, loyalty is the greatest word in the world. It is the greatest feeling too.