A couple of weeks ago I went to get my usual haircut from my local barbershop. I tend to zone out or even dose off when I get my haircut, I guess I’m tired. But for whatever reason, this time I didn’t and I couldn’t help but think to myself, sports medicine and fitness professionals could really learn some valuable lessons from a barbershop.
This is going to be written from the male perspective, I am sure it is a little different for women, but I think you’ll get my point. For the guys, we basically have three options when we want to get a haircut – The chain franchise, the salon, or the barber shop. Just like everything else in the world, there are exceptions to the rule, so don’t get mad at me. Lets take a closer look.
The Chain Haircut Franchise
We’ve all been to one of the chain haircut franchises, there are a bunch of them now, but let’s refer to them as, oh I don’t know… “SuperClips.” Many people are perfectly content at SuperClips. They offer a decent product at a low price, and if cost is your primary concern, you probably go to SuperClips. But, I can’t help but feel rushed at one of these places, I’ve been in and out of a SuperClips in under 10 minutes. The emphasis is clearly on volume and not quality – attention to detail is missing. Have you seen how big those combs and scissors are? You can cut my entire head of hair in three snips! So, if price and speed are your primary deciding factors when choosing where to get your hair cut, SuperClips is the place for you, there is nothing wrong with that at all. If you breakdown their model, here is what we have:
- Emphasis on volume
- Lower quality, though not awful
- Fast service, but attention to detail suffers
The Upscale Salon
Now lets look at the other side of the spectrum, the upscale salon. Again, for the ladies reading this, you may disagree, but this is geared more to the male perspective. At the upscale salon, you walk in and everything is nice and pretty. The atmosphere is upscale and classy. Maybe the salon is named after someone, as if this person has found the magic secret to cutting a guys hair. The stylists there spend time with you and pay close attention to detail, almost pamper you to an extent. You probably get a lot out of the service and have many more options, such as shampoo, massage, coloring, etc. But for many of us, we don’t take advantage of these extra services, but we still pay for them in the extra cost. These salons are often in upscale areas as well, so their higher rent is also reflected in the cost.
- Emphasis on the experience
- Paying for the glitz and glamour
- Good quality, but maybe not as much as you would think
The Local Barbershop
Lastly, let’s break down the barbershop. Your barber is probably highly experience and specializes in cutting men’s hair. While a typical barbershop is not glitzy like a salon, it’s environment is still pleasing for men, this probably why there always seems to be a couple of guys hanging out, drinking a coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and talking in the barbershop even after their haircuts. Not a lot of glamour but there is a probably a good magazine and newspaper selection with some sort of sport or news program on the TV. You’ll probably pay a little more than SuperClips, but not by much. But the real difference here is the emphasis on customer service, attention to detail, and producing a quality product.
My haircut is always pristine and I never feel rushed. My barber pays close attention to every aspect of the cut and assures that everything is lined up and perfect. In fact, when I am forced to get a haircut while traveling, he can always tell and find the sloppy flaws. He takes his time and I never feel rushed. I’ll get a nice straight edge razor around the edges and he’ll make sure that he uses some nice aftershave and talc at the end.
Barber’s know that their best advertisement is word of mouth, not a glitzy ad campaign or a coupon in the mail. My barber knows my name and I know his, we are both people, not just customers. It is the perfect combination of price, quality of product, and customer service.
- Emphasis on a quality product and customer service
- A little more expensive than the “SuperClips” but much cheaper than the Salon
- Attention to detail
- A good experience without the unnecessary fluff – the glitz and the glamour
What We Can Learn From a Barbershop
I guess it all really depends on what your goals are if you are running a gym, performance center, or clinic. To me, it is all about attracting the ideal client or patient – one that cares about what you care about – getting better.
There is nothing wrong with trying to just turn a profit, maybe that is your goal. Everyone can tell when they are being rushed or when the quality of product or service they receive is sloppy. We have all seen the trainer that is checking their phone when their clients are working out or the therapist that is starring off into space when performing an ultrasound. But don’t complain about the type of client or patient you have, the one that doesn’t prioritize the quality of your product. These will never be professionally fulfilling, except for your pockets. But you’ll always have to hustle to get more people in the door.
There is also nothing wrong with trying to provide the glitz and the glamour, many people love this and will prioritize this over quality of product. Just make sure it’s not just smoke and mirrors. I would rather train or rehab with an expert that cares about me in their garage than at the most pristine performance center in the world if the quality of the product is sacrificed. Good for you if you can afford all the best equipment, but if you can’t that doesn’t mean you can’t provide a better product.
If you really want to attract the fulfilling clients and patients, and you know the one’s I mean – the die hards, the fans, the ones that keep coming back and become part of the family – then learn from the barbershop. Emphasize the quality of your product, attention to detail, and customer service and everything else will work itself out.