Monday, January 27, 2014

Another Reason to Be Nice

Last Friday, I did something I haven't done in years--an eyebrow wax. I returned to a spa I used to frequent in my 30s, assuming the same woman would still be working there. She wasn't.

Instead, the aesthetician was a very nice woman in her 40s. We had a great conversation while she was working her magic and I was overall pleased with the service. I was so caught up in our conversation, I barely paid attention to the finished product when she handed me a mirror. I paid, went to my car, and looked in my rearview mirror.

My eyebrows were uneven.

It probably isn't noticeable to most people, but after paying $20 to have someone professionally fix them, I expected them to look better than they would if I'd done the work with tweezers.

Did I complain?



Because she was nice.

Granted, I'll definitely never return. Like most people, I'm usually one who simply stops doing business with a place, warns all my friends...and the place never knows why business is dropping. But as I was thinking about it the next day, I realized something.

If the customer service is good, I'm far less likely to complain. It made me think...maybe customer service is the most important factor. A nice person can do a so-so job cutting your hair or washing your car and, unless the errors are dramatic, you'll probably leave quietly.

I once went to a hair stylist who did a great job but had horrible people skills. The entire half hour was awkward and tense as she barely spoke a word and acted inconvenienced by my presence. I may have revisited her once, but never again after that.

Ideally, you'll find someone with good customer service skills who also has talent. But if you work in a job where you service the public, take note. It's never a bad thing to be great at your job...but even if you aren't, a big smile will go a long way toward avoiding complaints.


  1. I wonder if that is more of a Southern thing? Since I am from the South, I am more apt to be like you with nice people. The Mrs. from the Northeast is much more direct and abrasive...

  2. I think it depends on your personality. Im nice to nice people even if things didnt go as expected, especially in the nail salon but my bf often tells me i should complain or get my money back etc.

  3. I agree. When the person is nice, I tend not to complain. I often wonder if it would be better for the store if we did so in a nice way. Like a "I love your customer service, but my eyebrows are crooked." This way they understand when business has dropped. I always think I'll feel like a jerk if I do though.

  4. Being polite does make a huge difference. Last time I went to get my haircut the lady (who has been cutting my hair for years) randomly cut some bangs. I didn't want bangs, I hadn't told her to cut bangs but she did anyway. (my hair is layered a bit around my face but is otherwise very long and I cried when I went home)I didn't say anything to her. Why? Because she's nice. The sad thing is that this wasn't the first time she had done that. I won't go back, but I often wonder if I should have said something to her, just so she'll pay more attention to people in the future.

    PS I live in the south too.

  5. I have a hard time complaining when people are nice, too. Sometimes I wonder if they do it on purpose so that people won't complain...

  6. I'm the same way - I won't say anything but won't return. Sorry they didn't do a better job. I get mine waxed once a year - when they do this spa night deal w/ the parents of multiples club.

  7. LOL. Unless you live in NYC--then that uppity attitude is a sign of your professionalism. I'm always a fan of great customer service. It's true.

  8. I tend to choose my battles in this department. Sometimes I will speak up, it just depends on what it's about. My husband and I have been self employed for over 30 years, and when something isn't right we like to know so we can fix it. I take this into consideration when mentioning a bad meal at a restaurant, bad haircut, etc. It's not always so much that I expect the business to do something as much as I think they might want to know. I'm nice about it, because a) I think it's the right way to be, and b) having been on the other side of the fence, appreciate it when people are decent to me.

  9. Oh this is interesting. I have never had eyebrows waxed or anything like that but I imagine it would be distressing to find out that the professional didn't do a great job.

    I agree that nice is always a good thing. I suspect that unless she had done a horrendous job, I would indeed return and at that time express that I'm a bit tentative about getting the waxing done again because last time I noticed that they were uneven. She'll try harder and probably get it right. If not, then I'd walk.

    I think most people want to know when they've done something that caused their customers to not return. I don't think it helps anyone to not say anything when we're unhappy with the work... unless it's a really minor issue.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.