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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Great Servicescapes: Shear Madness

I get bored during haircuts. Maybe it’s the boy in me, but I still see my regular trip to the barber as a necessary evil, something to be put off for any good reason.

I can’t imagine being 5, or worse, 2, and having to endure twenty minutes in a barber’s chair.

Luckily, my boys have a great service environment to have their haircut encounters.

Shear Madness takes what could be an almost interminable half hour in a young man’s life and turns it into enough fun to ask for by name.

The experience was created as seen through the lens of its customers. Chairs are various forms of transportation, from a Blue Angels fighter or NASCAR replica to a Malibu Barbie Corvette. Every station has a dedicated TV that plays a variety of children’s programming all day, every day. Kids don’t like Dora & Spongebob? TV’s are Playstation-equipped so that young customers can play video games while their hair is cut. Because we don’t have video games in the home, my eldest son thought until recently that the barber was the only place they existed. “I wish I could get my hair cut every day” is not a phrase I have ever said, much less when I was five.

It’s not revolutionary.

But if you can remember the excruciating experience of going to the dentist when you were young, having all manner of pokes, prods and poor tastes and then being “rewarded” with a sucker upon leaving, you’ll admit that it is innovative.

They’ve picked their customer - I can’t overstate how important that is - and oriented the experience to them, making the experience consistent from the front door to the chair and back. Their focus is resolute enough that they get their testimonials from their child customers and the parents who share the experiences - and pay the bill.

They’re not catering to everyone. I suspect by the time my guys are ten, they won’t care for it any more. Maybe they’ll think it’s too childish. (Though I wish I had entertaining distractions while tending to my regular grooming even now)

But there’ll be a lot of haircuts between now and then, and they’ll get most of them.

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