The shop is busy and we see a wide variety of people coming in. Already I can recognise a few regulars that I see each Friday and I like greeting them with a familiar hello and finding out how their week as been. Though I'm not doing the cutting or shaving, I like to feel part of things and try to see what extra I can do other than sweeping the hair and getting tea and coffee and the like.
Occasionally people will come in and have their kids with them. We have a few toys around and, if it's not too busy, I'll take the time to play with the kid/s. I have fun and I like children, but I also want the parent to be relaxed in the chair. I want them to not have to worry where their kid might be and if they can hear him/her laughing and playing with me, well, I hope that they can sit back and enjoy the service a little better.
Today we had a man in with his 5 month old daughter in a portable baby rocker. She was as cute as a button and friendly and smiley. When I offered him tea I cooed over her a little and she was full of gummy, tooth-less smiles. He was getting a hot towel shave and, for a while, she lay in her rocker up on the counter gazing in interest at the lady covering putting on towels and lathering up her daddy. However, about half way through that shave another man came in with his son who was about 4. The little boy did NOT want to get his hair cut and the poor thing was quite traumatised and terrified about the whole thing. The barber and his dad were trying to calm him, and though I offered him toys to play with, his was at a level of hysteria that only a 4 year old boy can get into. They all just wanted to get though the cut as quickly as possible so I didn't intrude.
The little baby girl could hear the boy crying and screaming across the shop floor and she was getting a little antsy at the noise. In between towels her dad looked up at her and he tried to get her to smile and, while she wasn't upset exactly, she was clearly bothered by the sounds of the upset boy. So I offered to pick her up and walk around with her. She was happy enough in my arms, looking around the shop and out the window at the cars etc. I hummed and sung a little to her to try and give her a more soothing noise to listen too (though how soothing my singing is is a question for debate!) I made sure to regularly bring her close by her father so she could see him and, while in his earshot, to say things like "awwww, you like the mirror? Good girl!" so that he could tell she was okay and calm without having to move his head to look at her.
Now I don't want to be the babysitter or anything like that but I feel while I'm there I should add to the customer service experience in some way, and I can only hope that by doing things like that that I am helping. Mind you, I don't want to be so good at it that they leave the shop and I'm left holding the baby!