In this final installment of The Barbershop Waiting Room I want to give you some ideas to add those extra touches that will create an inviting atmosphere. These are the added things that will make your waiting area a more relaxing place. If you can get your customers to look forward to coming and relaxing you have an excellent chance of them waiting longer as well as retaining them as a customer. In my shops we have created such a comfortable environment that a lot of our customers are disappointed if we take them to the chair too quickly. A lot of people are so busy that this is the only chance they get to relax.
I suggest that you have a large selection of magazines and styling books. Make sure they are appropriate for your clientele. I was cleaning out my magazines recently and noticed I had too many National Geographic and Field and Stream. I have a customer that brings in all of his old magazines and I was loaded up with these. I threw most of them away and added more GQ, Sports Illustrated, People and Motor Trend.
T.V.’s with cable access are also an excellent touch. The important thing to note here is the televisions are for the customers, not the employees. I have come in to my shop on numerous occasions to find game shows or soap operas on. This is a barbershop. You should have a sports channel, news channel, or financial channel on. If you have more than one television you can split it up. Make sure the volume is not too loud. It should just be in the background. Again, this is for the customers. The barbers should not be watching the T.V. while they are working. This is one of the most unprofessional and disrespectful things you can do as a barber.
Wireless internet access is a huge plus in today’s connected world. This is probably the number one way to occupy your customers while they are waiting. Just think about how fast time goes by when you are online. Give your customers the ability to surf the web, check their e-mails, or work while they wait. We added a wireless router recently and it has been a huge benefit to us. We put up signs advertising it and our customers love it. This will tell your customers you really care about them and are on the cutting edge of technology.
This next one is real simple and inexpensive. It may only cost you less than a dollar per customer. It is pretty easy to raise your prices a buck. Offer your customers coffee, tea, and water. You can hire a coffee service and they will bring the coffee to you at a specified time. They will also supply you with the cups and lids. This is the cleanest way to go about it. You can make your own coffee and try to do it yourself but it can get messy and be time consuming. A water cooler is a great touch. There are also services that will bring new water coolers and take away the old one. They also have a hot water spout so you can offer tea also. You can buy a box of tea bags real cheap or you can have a nice selection for a few dollars more. The nice thing is you already have the cups and lids from the coffee service.
The last but not least touch that I would recommend adding is good old fashioned Tootsie Pops. These are the best lollipops and everyone loves them. This will really seal the deal and keep your customer coming back. I have been giving these out since I started my first barbershop in 1995. To this day the Tootsie Pops are incredibly popular. I now have a nice serving dish and the receptionists like to color co-ordinate them into a nice display. Just give it try. I promise you will be amazed by the reaction of your customers.