What if I told you that the key to a successful business lies in the fine details? Like a precisely placed flower on Mother's Day, or the way you maintain a welcoming ambiance? Intrigued? Good. Because together we, and you, our listeners, are diving headfirst into the world of small business touches. We're taking a magnifying glass to those often overlooked details that can make or break a customer's experience. Get ready to understand the significance of attentively tuning into customer feedback, ensuring consistency in standards, and the importance of the first impression in businesses.
Who knew that the cleanliness of a physical space could leave such a lasting impression, or that consistent class timings could act as a deciding factor for customers? In this engaging conversation, we pull back the curtain on these seemingly insignificant aspects. We explore how these micro details can form macro impressions. From the importance of visible signage to stocking bathrooms with essentials, every detail counts. Join us as we navigate this less-trodden path of business management, and prepare to walk away with a renewed perspective on running a successful business.
* If you can't execute the little things don't expect to execute the big ones
* Listen to what your customers are saying
* It's about being welcomed, not greeted
*Small things matter
Email us at: TwoDaughtersAndTheirDad@gmail.com
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Jennifer Faith Dempsey has been in the beauty industry for over 10 years. For the last 5m years, she has owned J. Faith Hair Studio. She brings her experience on how she balances entrepreneurship and motherhood. Check out Jen’s blog.
Staci Joy Dempsey is an insurance agent, a mom, and a busy non-profit volunteer. She truly understands what it means to be an entrepreneur. Staci serves as the podcast's host.
Jack Dempsey is the dad who heads up this busy family. He is a founding partner in Dempsey, Weiss & Associates, an Elmer, NJ-based insurance and investment firm that began more than 30 years ago.
Hey there and welcome to the business of business podcast. Here we are, two daughters and their dad, seeking to inspire and educate you to follow your dreams of being in business by teaching you the business of being in business the good, the bad, the humor are all parts of our unique perspective as an entrepreneurial family. Hey everybody, and welcome back to the business of business podcast. Two daughters and their dad. I'm your host, stacy J Dempsey, and the J is very important because it brings a lot of joy. I have with me today, like always per usual, thankfully, I have them the dad, jack, and I have the other daughter, jennifer. Good morning to the both of you, great morning.Jack Dempsey:
Good morning everybody.Staci J. Dempsey:
So today we are excited because we want to talk to you today a little bit about how the small things are in our businesses and Jennifer has such an interesting story that she was sharing with us. That kind of got the ball rolling on different experiences that we've had and different things that we do inside of our businesses that really go a long way with people and most would consider them small touches. So, jen, I want to kind of start this out with you and sharing the story that you've shared with us about your client that came in and really had just really wonderful things to say about how you're running things over there at J-Fate.Jennifer Dempsey:
We had a client that has had a long time hairdresser loyal to her hairdresser in another salon and so from time to time, because she lives so close to our salon, she'll come in and and get certain services done. And this particular time I was able to. You know, I was the one that was doing her hair and I just really got an opportunity to absorb really all of the things that she had to say to me and just receive all the feedback and I really took it as a huge compliment because she expressed to me that, you know, she kind of talks about our salon with this other salon and this other hairdresser often. So I think it's important, as you know, business owner, to really listen to what your customer, your clients, are saying. And so one thing for me, you know, day in and day out of being in my salon, I want to hear, you know, the customers that are coming in saying, wow, it's so beautiful in here, wow, it's so clean, wow, that was the best shampoo I ever had. I love that cup of coffee that you made for me, right? So so that those things are important to me. And so when I was having this conversation with this client, she was kind of going down the list of what she appreciated most inside of my business, and it just made started to make me think about how the small things matter, and not only that, but what we have come out of especially inside of businesses and what's happening today. So, for example, covid, I know, especially inside of my business, we went to. Everything had to be disposable, right. So you offer somebody a drink, it has to be in a plastic cup. Coffee, it has to be in a plastic cup, straws, you know. So I think, now that we've kind of made it to the other side of COVID, our customers are appreciating that. We're kind of going back to feeling more homey of having a mug, having your coffee in a mug, having glasses, and so that was one thing that she pointed out to me. She's like, you know, I go to this salon for 20 years. They always give me a plastic cup with some water in it. I love that. I come in here, you guys give me a glass, maybe a lemon, and I love that. And I'm thinking to myself as I'm doing her hair wow, you know, I didn't, I didn't. I overlooked, maybe how important that is to our clients. And so, again, going down the list of. You know, your shampoo bowls are the most comfortable shampoo bowls that I've ever sat in and you know I think that I explained to dad a lot of the times and and the team over at my salon is how important those things are, because they truly do matter right. And so I think for a business owner, it's sometimes we do have to step back and really take notice of what are we doing inside of our business, day in and day out. Those small things Maybe. How can we make them better? Maybe we're doing something that's not necessary and we should focus on something else. Something else that popped into my mind depending on what day Mother's Day falls on, normally the Saturday before, really last minute, we had a thought of like that's hand out roses to each mother that leaves that day. We tagged it Happy Mother's Day. I love J-Faith Hair Studio and the response. It was just something so simple, some last minute idea that popped into my head and it was something so simple for us to do but really made a huge impact to show our clients that we care and we wanted them and we really just wanted to wish them a Happy Mother's Day. So things like that. I think after I talked to that client and I talked to Dad. Of course I knew that little things matter, but I think it just got my attention a little bit more on like let me really sit back and try and evaluate. Like, what are we doing? What do I hear the feedback from the clients being how can we make it better? Maybe something that's not necessary? Obviously, once you set a certain standard inside of your business, then the most important job is to continue on. So everybody knows we get the best shampoo in South Jersey, so I can't have a new employee step in and drop the ball. So the importance of training every new person to a standard of this is how it must be done, because this is what our clients are used to. This is the expectation. So it follows through. Maybe not only in that, but lots of reviews that we get is this is the cleanest line I've ever been in and that matters to me, so I always share. It's like you sit down in a chair and you're getting your hair done and you're having this great experience, and then you look down at the trash can and it's full of hair and dust on top of the trash can. So that trash can that sits in front of the client matters, and so I think that we've adapted that so much into our culture that everyone that works inside of my business understands the importance in those small things that matter. I'm going to sit here, I'm going to pay $300 for a service, but yet they can't even clean off this trash can. So that's where my mindset came from with these small things, these small touches, how can we incorporate them more inside of our business? And it really just got me thinking not only about my business, but lots of different businesses and also how I feel when I go into other businesses. One other thing I want to share is and something I share a lot with my team is how important it is for me to continue to update my space, my salon, my business, and so every year I create a budget of how I'm updating in one way or the other, and so even my last project, my family is like what more can you do inside the space? And I'm like what do you mean? We're just getting started. So the commitment, even on our part to have the investment of our space, of how can we continue to make sure that our environment, our space where our business lives, is inviting and is up to date. Have you ever walked into a hair salon that was completely outdated? They had broke down shampoo bowls. And you walk in and you're like, well, if they can't even keep their space updated, how do they know the latest trends on what colors I should have on my hair? What kind of hairstyle should I have? That's what people are thinking. So it's important for me to make sure my salon is painted every five years, make sure that something starts to look broke down, like I was just telling one of my assistants. We have a door that a white door and color has been on it and whatever. So next week I need to go buy some paint and do some touch ups, right, because those little things matter.Joel Dempsey:
Dempsey Weiss Associates is a multi-line insurance agency successfully meeting the insurance and financial needs of the landscaping, business, contractor and agricultural community in southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania since 1989. To learn more, visit us at wwwdempsewisscom. J-faith Hair Studio. Centrally located in southern New Jersey, J-Faith Hair Studio is the place to go to become the best version of yourself. Confidence in your appearance is always important and a great hairstyle is an absolute necessity. Visit J-FaithHairStudiocom to book your appointment today.Jennifer Dempsey:
Yeah, you're absolutely right.Staci J. Dempsey:
Yeah, you're absolutely right, Jen. I mean, I think that, as even our listeners are sitting here listening right now, they can probably think to some experiences they've had going into other businesses where they've had, you know, they were going in there excited and then there was just that one thing that then kind of started them down the rabbit hole of, well, if they can't keep this particular thing clean, or if they can't, you know, do this one thing consistently, is this the right place for me to be doing business in? And it can be a real turnoff. And then it can go the opposite way, where those small things can really elevate someone's experience and I think that's what you know through your story, Jen, and what your client was sharing was that these small things really have elevated her experience, elevated the fact that she wants to send referrals your way, elevated that, yes, she's committed to a hairstylist but she has no problem going into another hair salon saying here's all the things that J Faith does, that I love. Hint, take a cue, read the room. Wish you guys would do it. And those are the things that can really set us apart in a positive way or in a negative way. You know, before we hit record. Dad shared a really great story about his first job that he had, and I think it's just, it's a really great illustration. So, Dad, why don't you share that with our listeners?Jack Dempsey:
Sure, but before I do that, jen, I like your new hairstyle. It's nice Going a little lighter color, huh.Jennifer Dempsey:
I am you know summer lightening it up, yeah it's cute.Jack Dempsey:
I have another question, though, too what do you do for Father's Day Cigars? Oh see there, I guess you don't have a lot of Father's Day haircuts, huh.Jennifer Dempsey:
We do. But you know we normally, honestly, we normally do a Father's Day raffle. So I like to get a Happy Father's Day mug, a gift certificate. You know we have certain candles that the men like, so we do a little raffle like make your next appointment happy Father's Day, can you say candles, candles. And ask your son, because I had him try it and he loves the candle?Jack Dempsey:
Well, he doesn't count, he's weird.Staci J. Dempsey:
So I'm talking you know, j-fate has a signature scent. Dad, if I don't know if you knew this about your business, but your studio has a signature candle scent that you cannot purchase anywhere else except at J-Fate Hair Studio.Jennifer Dempsey:
That's right.Jack Dempsey:
So you get a lot of men buying candles.Jennifer Dempsey:
Well. I got a lot of men buying candles as gifts.Jack Dempsey:
I think you should raffle off a 12-pack of beer, and you'll probably be better off there, or something.Jennifer Dempsey:
They like their corona when they get their hair cut.Jack Dempsey:
Well, yeah, I mean, I was very fortunate. You know, my very, very first job official job, you know I cut grass and did all that as a kid, but my first official job was bagging groceries in the grocery store near my house. And so I remember starting that job and the manager of the store, rich Davies, said to me goes, jack. He said, do you have the most important job in this store? Because you're going to be the last impression that a person has about their experience shopping here. And of course, this was a time when you, you know, you bag groceries in the paper bags, you load them in the cart and you actually took them to people's cars, you know, and carried them out for them. And so that really stuck with me in that job. You know, now I had a different perspective. I wasn't like the low person, even though theoretically I was the low person on the totem pole. But from you know, but my role was not. I think that you know that's a great thing for entrepreneurs to think about. Is you know, is you know, first of all, who's your meet and greet person, if you have that in your business, and you know, making sure that they understand that. That is one of the most critical roles, if not the most critical role, in your business. If you have hostesses or a front desk receptionist, anybody like that, you want to make sure they understand how important their role is because they are that first impression of your business and also can be that last impression for your business. But you know, there's just no doubt, everything matters, it's just everything matters when it comes to business in terms of how people process their experience. And so you just can't take, you know, what you might look at as a, again, a small thing, it's not as small things equate to, you know, people making forever decisions. Again, I know going, my wife and I went out to eat and first time we were ever at this restaurant and ordered the food. They came out, everything looked nice, except on my wife's plate there was a fruit garnish and one of the grapes had mold on it. Well, you know we ate the meal, but I've never been able to get her back at that restaurant, even though the food was good, just because, again, that just that experience of thinking that you know they gave us, gave us something that had mold on it. So you know, it's just whether it's the physical plant of your office, making sure your business would always just look and make sure things are clean, things are in order. You know, and you just wanna make sure when people look around they see a. You know, see your business as something that you're very proud of and that your expectation is gonna be one of excellence, and so the best way to show that is by how you manage the small things, and so not taking any of those things for granted, because, again, people make forever decisions based on the small experiences. So I know, jen you were talking about, you know, starting to look at, you know, hiring a front desk person to for this, for the studio. Well, again, that's the person that you're gonna wanna make sure that understands how important that role is in meet and greet over the phone. You know, processing people as they leave and then they're, you know, as they leave the salon. All those things have to be done extremely well, extremely well.Jennifer Dempsey:
I agree, I think, you know, attention to detail is the best way we could probably describe it, but I share with other obviously mostly salon owners all the time is, you know, as entrepreneurs, as you know small business owners, we really do have a tough job. And so it's about number one when a customer walks into your business, they wanna be greeted within three to five seconds of walking into your business and obviously, whatever you, whatever product or service you're selling, they need to be 100% happy with that product or service and find value in it. And so, as they're walking through your business, getting their service or their product, all everything matters. And so, from a business point of view, you have to make sure they can check all the boxes because, you don't know, maybe they love the product they got from your establishment, or love the service, but they thought it was dirty, or you know so, or some everyone said hi to them, except for one person that's working inside of your business. You just don't know. So you have to really be on top of the whole experience as a whole, a little step that each client takes throughout your business, and make sure it's perfection. And I also think that and I know we've talked about this on the podcast before is like how important reviews and feedback are sometimes hard to hear, but when you are hearing, you know the compliments. Then you need to really hold on to them and realize how valuable they are. Like it's very clean, everyone's so nice, everyone says hi to me, everybody talks to me. You know people love that, clients love that. So what really matters to your clientele, your customer base, is coming into your business.Jack Dempsey:
That's what you need to focus on and make sure you train your team on being excellent at and one of the things I would suggest, especially if you have, you know whether you're in retail or you know hospitality even. You know, in business, you know in services like our office, where we have, you know, a receptionist as soon as someone walks in and any of those situations you know. You know you want someone greeted, but I would rather exchange the word greeted with welcomed that when they, when that person walks in, they, you know, they're immediately felt like welcomed into your business and I think there's, you know, a difference between being greeted and being being welcomed. And so, because you know, isn't it? I mean, I'm sure you guys have experienced it and our listeners have. You know, everybody likes to feel part of something. You know everybody likes to feel like they're part of, you know, a community or a connection. And you know, and the quicker you can get make that connection, that welcoming connection, you know, with a client, with a, you know, with a customer, you know they really like that, they really like feeling, you know. You know when someone walks in, one of the great things you can do again, now, if they walk in, you don't know them, you don't know them. But if you have clients coming in and, jen, I've heard this when I've been in the hair studio. When someone walks in, there's, you know somebody's immediately greeting them by name. You know, because people like to hear their name. You know. So, if you so, once someone has been in a few times and people know them, you know. Even in our office, again, people walk in, you know. They're, you know, come in for more often than others. You know. We want our receptions to know their name and to be able to say you know you know hey. Jennifer, you know how can I help you. But when people hear their name, you know if there's an immediate connection to that. You know we like hearing our names spoken, you know. So that would be one thing you know to really try to. You know. You know if you have regulars, again, if, even if you're in the hospitality or the food that is food business that's especially important. You know, if you have regulars that come in, like you know, and that you can greet them by name and they just feel like they're part of your business, so that's a huge one. The other one too and Jen, you've hit on this is not even on, again, depending on where your business is located. But if you have a, you know, a prominent location, always be looking at not just what's going on the inside of your business, the physical plant, but also the surroundings, you know, is it? You know I drive by our office every day. I do a big loop around because, again, I don't want any. We're by a busy highway. I don't if somebody threw a, you know some trash out or there's just trash in in around the office and the grass. You know, I want that. I don't want that there. I want that picked up immediately. I don't want that set in there for a few hours or days, for sure. So just those little things like that. Or you know, if you someone walking, like Jen, you have a lot of glass on the front of your storefront, right? So you know, just making sure that that's clean and not, you know, not dirty, because again those are the kind of things, bathrooms especially. Oh my goodness, you know how many times have you sit down at a restaurant, ordered your food, all excited, while you're waiting to go to the bathroom? And the bathrooms are gross, you know, it's just all. It just brings everything down. You haven't even eaten yet You're already like yuck, you know. So you know those are the kind of things that just are critical, absolutely critical. You know, because people will see stuff like that, you know, and they'll take it. They'll take that small thing, you know, from a. You know, realistically it's a small thing, but then they equate it to, you know, like in my case, you know they can't even keep, you know, some trash picked up outside their office. You know how am I gonna trust them with investing my money? I mean, that's how people think, you know. So you know it's just critical that you get these small, small things right. It all matters. It all matters.Jennifer Dempsey:
Dad, I love that you brought that up because I was gonna share that, probably early on when I first opened the salon. You know, I'm out front cleaning the windows and here comes dad walking up, right, and I'll never forget it, Like it was yesterday. He's like that's what it means to be an entrepreneur. He's like I'm walking back because again, my salon's in a strip mall, guys, right. So he's like I'm walking by this business, this business, All you see is dust, dirt, windows, nasty. And I pull up and here you are out front cleaning your windows. And that's what it means to be an entrepreneur and I'll never forget that. And cleaning the windows is important to me. Now I've gotta have dad at the back of my ear like look at your nasty windows. If you don't get your butt out there and clean them, Ha ha ha ha, well, that's right, yeah, because again, those are all.Jack Dempsey:
Those are all feeding into people's decision-making. So, even if you're location, you know it's. One of the things, for example, that I don't understand is I'll drive by businesses, you know, and Jen, yours is a good you know. You have a night your signs lit up above, you know, like a marquee light above your salon. Well, I just don't understand why some business you'll drive by for months and like half of the signs burn out, you know. Or letters, you know. If it's like spelled out, you know like a couple of letters are going. I mean you know what the business is, but it's just like, come on, you know, I mean, right, that, you know, it's just that little stuff that just can really rub people the wrong way. And next thing, you know they're, they're making a different decision, they're going to a competitor. You know who can keep bulbs changed in their lights. You know it's like geez, you can't even keep your sign lit up. How, you know, I'm gonna trust you with this, you know. So the little things matter.Staci J. Dempsey:
Well, I think this is just such a great illustration today that even for our listeners, as they go about you know, the next coming days, as they go to the places that they frequent the most, as they go into new places, that they really start to pay attention to the things that they really appreciate about a business that they do, that would be considered a small touch that maybe they could implement in their own business. And also paying attention to the things that just rub them the wrong way so that they can make sure that they don't do that in their own business, like I think about. You know, six days a week I go to a gym. I go to a gym that you know. Probably it does cost a little bit more than other gyms in the area, but you know what. You know what I like about the gym. I get there and the class starts on time. Every single time the class gets done at the time it says it's going to get done. When I go into the bathroom, not only is the bathroom clean, but it's also stocked with things like hair ties, like no, I can't work out, I'm sorry, first world problems. I cannot work out with my hair down. So hair ties, sanitary napkins, makeup wipes you know it's always clean. Someone's there at the desk greeting and checking me in at least once a week. They're, you know, sampling new products. You know you can sample a new product. They're doing those small things that like, yes, I want to keep coming back here because it makes I like how it makes me feel, outside of the fact that I like the workout, I like the instructors. You know, all of those like things you would come to expect. It's like, yes, I appreciate when I come into the bathroom that it doesn't stink and I can grab a hair tie. You know they're more than, if there's something that I need, they're happy to get it for me, they're happy to help me out. And those are the things that keep you know what I'm going to keep paying more money because I like this. They make my life easier. They make me. Those small things make me feel appreciated. They're making it easier for me to do my workout because they have hair ties when mine, you know, breaks at 6.15 in the morning. So I think these are all just such great examples for our listeners that they can really start to take notice, as they go about the things that they enjoy about other businesses that would be considered small touches. I know inside of our business we do things like thank you bags given at the reception desk or when we go out on appointments. One of the things that kind of comes to mind was dad bringing one of the thank you bags to a client that's been a client for about 20 years and the thank you bag you know, the client himself probably would not have appreciated it. However, the person that has been working alongside him, his receptionist, who was his receptionist for the last 20 years, dad gave her this little bag and you would have thought dad gave her $1,000. She was like oh, my goodness, thank you so much, jack. Oh, what a pleasant surprise Because again, it wasn't the actual client, but it was someone that we've known for a long time. We've talked to many, many times, we've solved problems together and it was just a small something and you could tell that it went a long way with her. And if it goes a long way with that person, then how does that inadvertently also make your client feel, you know, like it's a domino effect. And we talk about bathrooms and I shared I shared with everyone on the podcast. This morning went to a restaurant. A couple of weeks ago we had a fabulous lunch together. We went to go leave. This bathroom was so nice, it was very nice, but also it was clean, it was stocked, it smelled good, the water ran appropriately, all of the soap dispensers had soap in them and you know what. We all left there. Like we love this place. If we're back in this area we have to come back and again. If we had never gone to the bathroom, we still would have said that was a great lunch, it was great service, wonderful food. But that because that bathroom was the way it was, it completely elevated how we felt about that establishment and the bathroom. It was a busy establishment. It could have maybe been an afterthought at some point, but it wasn't at one o'clock in the afternoon, during lunch rush.Jack Dempsey:
So, yeah, the other thing, too, stacey is and this should, if you have employees, a team, this is part of that culture that we've talked about so many times. This should be part of your culture within your organization, that the little things matter, small things really matter, and, again, continue to point out ways that those small things can be accomplished. Because, again, it's, there are small things, so, if they're not big, monumental things, and so that means that we should be able to do the small things very well, because it's not like they're, it's not like, okay, I'm walking within the establishment and there's a piece of trash on the floor. Why don't walk by? It Doesn't matter who you are the owner, you pick it up, pick it up and dispose of it. Don't let it sit there and think, oh, that's somebody else's job. But and that's an easy thing to do so, just making sure that you are establishing that culture of everything matters, even the small stuff, when it comes to people making not just that first buying decision from your business but the ongoing buying decisions to come back and be part of your establishment. Because, again, isn't that what we want as entrepreneurs? We want people coming back. That's what we work hard to have repeat customers, repeat clients. So Absolutely.Staci J. Dempsey:
And then the world of. We've touched on the world of social media and people can post negative reviews. They can also post positive reviews, and before we wrap this up, I'm gonna share with you guys a positive review that I read as I was going back the beginning of the summer to West Virginia to visit some family and I was saying we really want, we're really hoping, to eat a biscuit when we're in West Virginia. Right Me, my two kids, my husband, like man, we all really want a good biscuit. So I start Googling biscuit places. All right, and the review that I read it was from Tudors Biscuit Tudors Biscuit at a Bridgeport, west Virginia, and this review was about three paragraphs long and the review went on to say well, listen, I don't usually stop at Tudors because, well, it's West Virginia, I don't know if they know how to do biscuits, and this Tudors Biscuit was in a gas station, but this gas station was the nicest gas station this person had ever walked into. The people were incredibly friendly, they were helpful and the food was delicious. So they were saying, basically, don't judge a book by its cover and don't judge it because it's called Tudors, but make sure you go to Tudors in West Virginia. Okay, and maybe sometime I'll read the whole review to our listeners, because I did do it in the West Virginia accent and my husband pretty much nearly had to pull over because he was hysterically laughing so hard. But guess where we went? We went to Tudors, okay.Jack Dempsey:
And how was the biscuit?Staci J. Dempsey:
We went to Tudors Biscuit. We got about four or five different biscuits, okay, and it was delicious at the gas station. So the small things matter.Jack Dempsey:
Hopefully we don't have too many listeners from West Virginia, because you butchered up that accent. You might've been born there, but you lost it, girl.Staci J. Dempsey:
I know I gotta go back and I gotta hang out with Aunt Gail and Mary Agnes and them, and I'll get it back a little bit.Jack Dempsey:
Yeah, that was more like Arkansas or something.Staci J. Dempsey:
Yeah yeah, wow. We hope that this conversation has been incredibly helpful. We hope that you guys will take a look at the places that you go into this next coming week, take note of the things that you love, take note of the things that you don't, and we would love to hear your feedback on some of the small touches that you've decided to implement inside of your business. And so, until we can be together again, be kind to yourself, be kind to each other and go find you a Tudors biscuit. Thank you all for listening today. If you have questions you would like for us to answer on the podcast, please email us at twodaughters. That's T-W-O. Twodaughtersandtheirdadatgmailcom. And until we can be together again, please be kind to each other and, most importantly, be kind to yourself. We wanna thank you for listening today. Please subscribe so you never miss an episode, leave us a positive review, and we wanna say thank you to our sponsors, dempsey Weiss Associates and J-Faith Hair Studio.