“So how do you want it cut?” Peter asks as I sit in the chair.
“Short on the sides and the top, but watch out for the cowlicks in the back,” I tell him.
“I’ll make sure those really stick up for you.” Peter jokes.
I am not a snob when it comes to getting my hair cut.Â I’ve had the fancy-pants haircuts from the salon where they massage your head, wash your hair thrice (once before the cut, once after, plus conditioner) and I have even had my fair share of “supercuts” where my hair was buzzed with a razor in McDonald-esque precision.Â But I have never had an experience quite like the haircut I just received from Peter.
The haircut doesn’t look much different than any other, but the process was fundamentally different because of Peter.
1.Â He starts by throwing the black cape over me and putting those little protectors over my collar- so it doesn’t get hair on it.
“Actually I was just driving home from lunch, needed a haircut, and yours was the first place I saw.” I tell him.
“We have been in this same location for 30 years.” Peter explains.
2. He proceeds to cut my hair using a combination of 2 different electric razors andÂ 3 different types of scissors, with the best part still to come.
“So I’m guessing this is your place?” I ask.
“Yep, me and Vince over there own the place.”
“Are you from Buffalo?” I ask, knowing the answer since EVERYBODY in Buffalo- except for me and my family- are from Buffalo.
“My family has lived in Buffalo and Western New York for generations.”
3.Â After I think he is finished with the haircut, he pushes the button on a very old looking mechanical shaving cream dispenser that nosily pumps out shaving cream (the kind they used back when clients came in for a Sunday morning shave and haircut Peter tells me) and he uses the cream to plaster my ears and neck- then he pulls out a straight razor and makes sure that my haircut is completely clean.
4.Â After he cleans off the shaving cream, Peter applies the aftershave- which stings a little, but smells like cologne from a different era.
“Great food here in Buffalo,” I add.
“That’s because the restaurants are privately owned and operated, they actually want you to come back,” Peter explains to me.Â “Whenever I travel outside of Buffalo, all I see are chains.”
“There is just something different about the Ma and Pop restaurants.”Â I say, as Peter nods his head.
5.Â He finishes off my neck and ears with a light powder
“How does it look?” Peter asks me as heÂ shows me the back with a large hand mirror.
“Great.” I answered, a little disappointed the haircut was coming to an end.
6.Â To clean up he starts with the light brush that takes all of the excess hair from my face and head.Â Then he pulls out a larger brush that looks like a mini broomstick and after removing the tabs from my collars he sweeps all of theÂ excessÂ hair from off my shirt.
“That will be $17″Â Peter tells me as I quickly hand him the money with a tip.Â Peter then hands me a business card, but he has to write his first name on it with a pen.
“We do accept appointments as well,” he tells me.
“Good to know, I will definitely be back.” I tell him as I leave the place.
It was a truly unique experience- which is not something you come to expect from a barber shop.Â Are your clients getting a truly unique experience from you?Â Do you offer the extra details like Peter did?Â Or are you in a rush to get to the next client?Â I stumbled upon this Barber Shop completely by accident, but I guarantee they have won a customer for life.Â How can you make sure that your service creates a similar response?Â How can you make sure that your customers are completely delighted when they finish working with you?
We hear a lot about streamlining the business process and taking the individual out of the equation.Â But this strategy doesn’t work very well at barber shops, and it certainly doesn’t work in the social media world.Â My friend Tom Larsen recently said to me, “Online it seems a lot like the 1950’s where people used to sit on the front porch and chat with the neighbors as they passed by.”
Or perhaps like the barber shops back in the 1950’s?Â I thought as I drove back from getting my haircut.Â Peter is a Linchpin, as Seth Godin describes them in the book Linchpin.Â People or businesses that offer that kind of service and experience will never lack clients that are delighted not only to pay the bill, but to add a tip.
Adrian Dayton is a New York lawyer, social media consultant, and author of Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition.Â Join him ever Friday morning for his FREE conference calls as he learns from professionals around the country who are providing unique experiences to their customers.Â Adrian gets his hair cut at Avenue Hair Parlour, 2199 Kensington Ave. Amherst, NY 14226.Â (716)839-1020 Be sure to ask for Peter.