How your clients tell different stories about you

My children both had their hair cut this week. It was an event I couldn’t put off any longer. When I picked my 3-year-old up from a friend’s house I found he had complained about his hair being in his eyes so she had put one of her daughter’s hair clips in. He was delighted!

My kids love having their hair cut. I’m amazed at how well it goes every time. If you are a parent you will know that taking your child to the hairdresser is a stressful experience. You have to tell someone how you would like another human to look. I struggle to explain what I want to do with my hair, let alone someone else’s. You also have to hope and pray that your child will sit still throughout the process. 

And yet both my children and I are very happy customers of our local hair salon, Elaine’s, and their hairdresser Gaynor. Why?

We both have different stories about our experiences.

Hair salon. Photo by Guilherme Petri on Unsplash

My kids love having their hair cut by Gaynor because she sits them up on a big cushion and puts on the DVD of their choice. She has all their favourites: Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig (the only place they get to see it) and Charlie and Lola. They sit there completely engrossed in the cartoon and she gets on with turning their overgrown mops into a hairstyle. 

And at the end they’re given a lollipop. They walk out without any hair in their eyes, having had an enjoyable 30 minutes, with a sweet they only get when they go to the hairdresser. 

They don’t talk about their hair, they just know it’s more comfortable. They talk about the experience.

I always book Gaynor because she is great with the kids. My children sit still for her, which is brilliant. My youngest will happily run for the nearest door in any situation but he sits nicely for Gaynor.

I know she will always give them a decent haircut and I’m happy with the price. I get peace of mind, reliability and happy kids. Win-win!

My children and I are both customers but we have different stories about our experiences. 

When you’re telling stories to customers about what they can expect, think about who they are and their motivations for coming to you.

Rachel Extance (photo by Jemima Willcox)

Rachel Extance helps business tell their stories so they can reach a wider audience for their work and ideas. A professional journalist, she knows how to write stories people find relevant and engaging. If you would like help to get your message across, need someone who can write articles for you regularly, or you would like actionable ideas for how to tell more people about what you do, get in touch by emailing or contact her on social media.

3 Responses

  1. Hi Rachel, great example with the hairdresser and you and your kids as different clients! As a reader, I was able to understand your message about clients telling different stories about whomever provides a service or what have you.

    The simplicity of the closing paragraph is a fantastic call to action. I now understand my services as a way to set expectations for clients. Thanks for that!

  2. Wow, Rachel. This has me totally thinking about my lead magnet I just created for business owners to delegate process documentation to their employees. In this case, the business owner is focused on the outcome (like you are in this scenario) and the employees are focused on the process (like your kids). And I’m trying to talk to both of them. Just WOW!

    So is it really about focusing on meeting BOTH audience’s needs or is it that by focusing on the secondary audience’s needs (the kids/the employees), you’re actually focusing on the “experience” side of things for your primary audience too. When you make things better for the secondary audience you’re making it better for the primary one too.

    I wonder which lens is more productive to use when talking to your audience(s)?

    Thanks for this great AHA!

  3. Rachel, this story was perfect for helping me understand what you are trying to communicate. In particular, I loved this: “They don’t talk about their hair, they just know it’s more comfortable. They talk about the experience.”

    I’m still trying to internalize this lesson as it has to do with people I work with.

    As your article wraps up, I found myself desperately wishing that the last sentence was a whole paragraph! You clearly have a deep knowledge on this subject and I’d really like to know more.

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Rachel Extance

Rachel Extance

Award-winning journalist and blogger. I help businesses communicate who they are, what they do, and why. If you struggle to talk about yourself in your marketing, get in touch with me.

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