Your brand could be headed for the mother of all bad hair days and you might not even know it.
Let me explain. (Or you can jump straight to our video interviews if you’re pressed for time.)
I recently spoke at a marketing conference in Washington and had the pleasure of listening to Mary Lou Quinlan’s incredible presentation on what women aren’t telling you. Although her focus was the nuances of consumer research, it got me thinking about all the other ways women keep secrets. Or at least stay very selective about the folks they share them with.
When it comes to customer service, there’s a phenomena that I call the “Bad Hair Day.” And although our video interviews focus completely on how women deal with their hair stylists, there are correlations and lessons for all marketers.
1. Lack of complaints does not indicate a job well done. Women are genetically hard-wired to avoid confrontation. The best example of this is that as much as we spend on hair (up to $250 for cut and color every month) and as important as great hair is to us, women will never go back and tell their stylist when they’ve done a bad job.
2. Women vote with their purses. When a woman isn’t happy with your brand/service/product, she simply doesn’t buy it again.
3. She may not talk to you, but she will talk to her friends. All of them. Women spread the word about bad service. We may be a WOM dream, but we can just as easily become a nightmare. For instance, although none of the women we interviewed about bad haircuts had gone back to voice dismay with their stylists, they had immediately told their friends. All of them. Or, as one woman said, “As many as I could.”
4. Thanks to YELP and social media, her message of woe can quickly expand beyond her friend base.
5. She sees telling others of bad service as her way of performing a public service. Complaining directly to you is “rude” and “uncomfortable.” But “warning” others is a service. It’s the nice thing to do.
Next week we’ll talk about how you can turn these insights into actionable policy changes. For now, start asking yourself if you really know what she thinks about you. Her silence could be your golden opportunity.