L'Oréal Business Club: experience is also a question of survival

L'Oréal Business Club: experience is also a question of survival
Foto: PAC

80 % of companies believe their experience is top-notch, but is that really the case? In the hairdressing salon of the future at the RetailDetail retailhub, L'Oréal Business Club is illustrating what the customer journey should look like in a truly customer-focused business.


Customers are King

Four out of every five companies think that the experience they offer is good, but surprisingly few customers (only 8 %!) agree with this. That is a huge problem, because 95 % of the customers having a bad experience spread the word, L'Oréal Business Club's Chris De Waele explains.


Why is there such a big gap between what businesses think and what customers experience? "Just having fantastic products is no longer enough. People forget what you said and what you did, but never how you made them feel", De Waele tells a group of professional hairdressers who are attending a workshop in the retailhub on how to professionalise their business.


To paraphrase marketing guru Seth Godin: people do not buy goods and services, they buy relationships, stories and magic. Today, this is more true than ever, given the fact that 59 % of millennials show more interest in new experiences than in new products. In the case of a hairdressing salon, technique is just the first layer: it is no longer a means of differentiation, but a 'conditio sine qua non'. Service is the second layer, but the third - crucial - layer is emotion.


Experience at a 'Cirque du Soleil' level

"Originally, we thought physical items made all the difference, actually it is the people", De Waele says. He guarantees that this is not as woolly as it sounds: "We need to turn hairdressers into managers a little more. Without the right figures, you will never make it in the long run. You have to be 'biz savvy' today: labour costs have increased by 30 % since 2014, while turnover has only increased by 15 %. This means you have to be able to raise your prices."


Higher prices mean better service and, above all, more emotion: out of 20,000 hairdressing salons in Belgium, L'Oréal Business Club wants a thousand to reach 'Cirque du Soleil' level. In other words, creating such an extra experience that the customer dreams about the next time they can go to the hairdresser. How can this be achieved? By making the right choices, De Waele believes. He divides the customer journey into seven steps: the key is to then carefully choose the moments at which you want to engage.


The same goes for customers: you can not keep everyone happy, no matter how tough that sounds. "Do not let one customer chase another out. Make clear choices about who your target audience is, even if this is at the expense of some existing customers."


Principles for all human contact

The L'Oréal Business Club guides hairdressers in their choices through seminars and 1-on-1 support. The L'Oréal Business Club has been organising training sessions for five years, and since last year, the 'customer journey' can also be experienced in a physical location: together with PAC Projects, L'Oréal has built a model salon in retailhub, the knowledge and innovation centre of RetailDetail


L'Oréal Business Club's 'Salon Emotion' shows how the ultimate customer-focused hairdressing salon can function in specific terms in the retail hub, although the principles can also be translated into the retail or hospitality sector. Non-hairdressers visit regularly as well: "Wherever there are customers, and wherever there is human contact, the same principles can be applied."



Immerse yourself in the model hairdressing salon and the philosophy behind it during the inspiration tours for professionals at retailhub, where the latest retail trends and technological uses such as AR/VR, RFID and 3D body scanners are brought together. Click here for more information.