5 Customer Experience Lessons From a Barber


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“A hair in the head is worth two in the brush.” – Oliver Herford

Great customer experience can come from anywhere. A barber shop would seem an unlikely place to collect business wisdom yet how is it that most of the times a barber shop in the same exact location and circumstances, offering the same commodity service with the same quality but with pricing so different from the local competition does better business than the others. What makes that barber UNIQUE is his ability to identify, predict and personalize. You might think cutting hair is a low-involvement affair but the fact is that your barber builds a relationship and personalizes the experience. Therefore barbers can teach businesses a thing or two about improving their customer experience.

Here are the top lessons to learn from a barber for a better customer experience –

1. Humanize your business

Who wouldn’t like a tale while having their hair done? Successful barbers add a human touch to their customer’s experience. They tell you their struggles in life or lend you their ears on understanding your story. He not only listens but also records your stories. No matter how bad the day is going, the barber smiles and greets and thanks customers when they are leaving in a way he creates a lasting impression which makes you start feeling a kinship with him.

This is a lesson for all businesses. Too often, the conduct of business between a provider and a customer is an impersonal transaction.In today’s world when competition is at its peak, and companies are working with a tight budget, it is absolutely essential to retain existing clients. What better way to retain existing client than to know their story and connect with them. The more you know about your customers, the better the connection. This not only leads to a long-term business relationship but also more referral/word-of mouth opportunities.

2. Take advantage of Customer Engagement time

Here lies the secret of a successful barber. Now I would like to divulge the secret behind the success of my barber. He has transformed his shop into a “male-sanctuary”. On the walls are posters of cricket and football stars and a large screen TV with ESPN playing continuously. The magazines are all intended for men – Sports Illustrated, Men’s Health, Maxim. He has made his barber shop a place where men – his primary client base – felt comfortable as soon as they entered. His is not a place to get shampoo or blow dry with your haircut. This is a place where men can be men and get their beards trimmed with a straight razor. In effect, he has provided a differential experience – one that appealed emotionally beyond getting a haircut.

So what’s the lesson for businesses? Map the full engagement opportunity you have with customers, see what you can appeal to beyond the core offering and then design your total solution accordingly.


3. Build a system to deliver experience and not just service

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

The barber delivers beyond a simple haircut, an entire experience that goes into making his customers feel fresh, re-charged and energized; a new look and a spring in the step at the end of the experience.

Consider watching a movie trailer. Movie trailers are not made to inform you about an upcoming movie, but to deliver an experience, which you take with you and share it with people around.

It is well established that people do not remember the service, but they do remember experiences. Hence, if efforts are focused on delivering an experience, customers will remember and recommend, resulting in better branding. With social media channels providing such a wide reach, nothing could be better than a satisfied customer sharing their story with friends and family. In a nutshell, great experiences lead to brand awareness via word-of-mouth and brand loyalty.

4. Keep on minimizing complexities for your customers

A key aspect for a barber’s success is his constant effort in making sure the customer is met with minimum difficulty. Every attempt at make customer feel comfortable results in consistent spurts of WOW moments, even with dry and mundane stuff. This ultimately helps customers in focusing on other valuable aspects of the service. The more complicated the service, the more they distract customers from a good experience. So, it will be worth every penny to fine tune processes to make them simple and easy to follow. Companies like Amazon, Zappos, and Southwest are pioneers at this.


5. Details matter

If you look at what makes my barber so successful, it is the small things. It is the stories he narrates, the posters on the wall, the magazines and the big screen TV. These small additions don’t cost a lot relative to the core products (e.g. rent, labour, supplies). But its the “small things“ that make a big difference in defining the overall customer experience.

With the aforementioned 5 lessons, one could easily create a rounded customer experience approach for delivering a system that is generating continuous and sustainable WOW moments in the quest to build a customer centric company.

Share your experience. Leave a comment.

Rohit Yadav
Axtria Inc
Rohit Yadav is a customer experience evangelist helping companies identify and make the best use of their key performance indicators and generate insights to improve their customer experience. Rohit is a regular writer on technology, analytics and customer centricity for various leading forums like KDnuggets, Data Science Central, CX Journey, Analytics India Magazine, MyCustomer.com and CustomerThink.com.


  1. I found it interesting how you mentioned how your barber transformed his shop into a “male-sanctuary”. My best experience with a barber was when I could walk in and feel at home with the place, the barber, and the fellow customers. I will definitely keep this in mind as I continue my search for a permanent barber!

  2. I really love it when you said that going to a barber really is an experience that goes beyond the haircut. With the haircut is a new look that generates a feeling of being refreshed and reinvigorated to face life once more. This is why I’d love to have the twins have their youthful locks trimmed at a barbershop when Dad and Grandpa go bonding on Monday.


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