Paul Mitchell founder shares keys to creating an unforgettable client experience

As soon as AAHA Nashville 2014 attendees heard the end of John Paul DeJoria’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony, several people rushed to sign up for his two educational sessions later in the day.

After all, it's not every day that a world-renowned billionaire is available to offer advice for building a better business.

During the keynote speech, DeJoria, founder of Paul Mitchell, John Paul Pet, and Patron Spirits Company, among other businesses, shared his inspirational story of starting his business empire with only $700 in 1980. 

In both of his educational sessions later in the afternoon, DeJoria focused closely on two major themes that have served him very well over the years: giving customers a high-quality experience that keeps them coming back for more, and creating a culture where people are excited to work.

Redefining the client experience to ensure repeat business and referrals

By giving people and their pets an unforgettable experience every time, DeJoria said clients are much less likely to focus on the price of your services because they can easily see the value of what they are getting for their money. He emphasized that the client experience, as well as the work environment, should be full of happiness, excitement, and love.

The following were some of DeJoria's tips for developing a better client experience:

  1. DeJoria said he truly believes in service with a smile. Receptionists should answer the phone while smiling, greet clients with a smile when they arrive, and send them out the door with a compliment or a sincere, “Thank you for letting us be of service to (insert pet's name).”

  2. He recommended that veterinary staff take the time to view the practice from the eyes of someone who has never been there before. Glance up at the ceiling to look for cobwebs, look at the desk to see if there is any damage that can be repaired, and inspect the bathroom to see if it is in the condition you would want your bathroom at home to be in. He also recommended that hospitals look consider what clients see as they walk to the bathroom, because it is possible to make that walk more interesting and visually compelling through strategic decorating.

  3. Explain to the client what you did to their pet, why you did it, and which products you used. This is another way veterinary professionals can demonstrate the value of their services, DeJoria said.
  4. Don’t be afraid to try new things at your practice, but be prepared for rejection in case attempts to think outside the box don't pan out. He also said to keep trying new things in spite of rejection because there will be successes.

  5. Focus on improving how the client thinks of you in between visits with things like follow-up calls and forward booked appointments, and by encouraging them to buy products from your hospital in between appointments. With the right strategy to hold clients' attention between visits, DeJoria said it should keep them coming in regularly and produce more referrals.

Building a vibrant culture in your practice

Another piece of running a successful practice is creating a culture that revolves around love and respect, DeJoria said. 

He offered his audience the following tips for building a place where employees are happy and fully engaged:

  1. Hold weekly meetings where the entire team can discuss challenges (he advised against calling them problems) faced during the past week. DeJoria thinks these weekly meetings are a great chance to come up with solutions, but he cautions that it is the manager’s job to make sure everyone fully understands the solutions before implementing them.

  2. When managing employees, DeJoria lives by the philosophy of “reprimand in private, praise loudly in public.” He said it helps to also accentuate an employee’s positive attributes even while reprimanding.
  3. A noted philanthropist, DeJoria said he believes in choosing local charities or volunteer organizations where the veterinary team can donate time. Coming together to help the community is a great way to infuse the practice culture with love, he said. As an added marketing opportunity, DeJoria said practices can have attractive T-shirts made featuring the practice logo, and wearing them to events spreads the practice name around the local community.