Perception – The REAL Value
by Judith Culp, CPCP
Value is defined by Wikipedia in many different ways. In relationship to business or marketing it “means the relationship between the consumer's expectations of product quality to the actual amount paid for it. It is often expressed as the equation: Value = Benefits / Price or alternatively: Value = Quality received / Expectations.” So for permanent cosmetics it is the benefits of the services offered and the price that is charged. But if we examine the true EXPERTS of marketing, we find it is more than just a service and a price that are involved in creating the client’s perception of that value. It is the whole package, the whole experience. Two excellent examples of this are Disneyland and Las Vegas. Both excel at creating a total experience that adds immeasurably to the perceived value and makes the price well worth “it”.
The Disneyland experience starts long before the trip is even conceived as an idea. It starts with client familiarity and all the exposures via books, television, films, toys, songs and more that are part of the Disney branded image. It is contributed to by images, sounds, emotions. Upon arrival anticipations are enhanced by highly trained customer service staff and a screened off entry so that the viewer just can’t wait to pay their money and pass through the gates. They emerge into a total sensory experience that continues throughout their entire visit. One cannot exit a ride without encountering buying opportunities, Everyone who works for Disney from the groundskeepers to the top of the staffing chain is ingrained with how to create the best client experience. Anyone who doesn’t maintain the standards is quickly looking for a new place to work.
The argument could certainly be made that permanent cosmetic technicians are not Disneyland. However, they certainly can enhance their value in the client’s eyes by creating a total package and focusing on the client experience. But we are professionals who must maintain our dignity???? Balderdash. I took a group of students to observe a cosmetic plastic surgeon doing injectables. He spent as much time talking about the total client experience as he did about the actual products used. This is what permanent makeup technicians can take heed from and duplicate.
The client experience starts with the first glimpse they have of our business whether it is a telephone book advertisement, a web page, a brochure or a business card. Every single one of these items should have the same consistent message. Disney does it. The Las Vegas giants do it and the cosmetic plastic surgeon does it. There is a reason for this. It is important and it makes a huge difference in the value perceived by the client.
The telephone may be the next level of contact. The words heard in a message and the vocal quality of the message (tone, pitch, emotion) all make an impression that cannot be undone. While it may be the 10,000th time we have answered a specific question, for this client it is a first. The interview continues this unveiling of our client experience. But it doesn’t start when we sit down to chat. It starts as the client drives to the clinic/office, and continues as they come in the door or foyer and then into our facility. Everyone of their senses may be impacted and it needs to be in a positive way to enhance our value to the maximum.
During the consultation our personal presentation will be subliminally evaluated by the client. We must walk the walk and talk the talk. We must look the part, know our products and services and be able to intelligently answer all of the client’s questions. Many times a tour will be offered. If so everything that the client sees, smells, experiences needs to contribute to that total experience. Even the restroom cannot be overlooked. Whether it is private or shared it needs to be immaculate and smell as good and clean as it looks.
The treatment itself is equally demanding in that total experience and we aren’t just talking the quality of the service or the skill with which the client is handled. The room set up, lounge set up, tray set up are all critical. Do we grab stuff out of the cupboard and pack it to the work area tucked under an arm, stuffed in pocket or clutched in desperately overfilled hands? What if we set the items needed out on an immaculate tray which we can gracefully transport to the work area. We can take a hint from that physician who displays his boxes of Botox or Restylane on a tray that he sets on the counter where the client can see them. He makes a point of showing the client that he is offering quality products and they aren’t getting someone elses’ left overs. Likewise there will be the brand new needle that he will remove from its container in front of the client. All of these things establish a caring attitude and enhance client value. Permanent makeup technicians can certainly duplicate this.
Throughout the procedure this physician and his staff ensure client comfort and use any waiting time to client educate – not chitchat about the upcoming weekend. While we may only think of “time wasting” as idle conversation, it is such an major item for businesses that it earned an anacronym TQM which stands for total quality management. It is all about eliminating anything that lessens effectiveness or productivity. It’s pretty easy to envision what the impact might be if someone hired to be Minnie Mouse was seen smoking a cigarette, ignoring the children, or not properly costumed. In our clinics better TQM could translate to a well thought out procedure pattern from pre-client setup to post client clean up so that everything runs smoothly and without interruptions. TQM is part of the whole package that will determine how clients perceive the value of the service being provided to them.
We want to consider every aspect of the experience package provided. We want to keep in mind all of their senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and emotional responses. Striving to create the best TQM possible will have clients feeling great about their new permanent cosmetics and the fees that were charged.