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a blog by Chris Barrow

Making the effort

I had a haircut today. Nothing unusual in that – I still have hair on the majority of the top of my head (a big enough majority to win). What was unusual was having to travel to a new location because of other personal “errands” and needing to choose a new hairdresser because I had limited time before my next trip to Canada. So how do you choose a hairdresser in an unfamiliar town? You choose a franchise, of course, because you have a good chance that the customer service and technical standards will be similar throughout the nation. And so it proved. When I eat away from home I eat at Pizza Express, because the customer service, the menu, the standard of food preparation – even the tables and utensils – will be the same. I’ve possibly eaten at Pizza Express in most major UK cities and they have never disappointed. So my haircut was a Tony & Guy – the Pizza Express of hairdressing. To quote the aggresive Mr Michael Gerber (now christened Grumpy Gerber in my mind), “same time, on time, every time” – and so it proved. The “stylist” (I have a stylist!) who looked after me was Vicky – she was very, very young and I admit to some trepidation as she approached me, after the customary wash and 15-second head massage from the “washist”. But she was great (not that there is much you can do wrong with my “style”). And I took the trouble to engage her in conversation, to discover a really interesting lady who is fighting personal illness problems to forge a career for herself. Yes – she was young enough to be my daughter (most women are nowadays) but she wasn’t a brainless kid – she was a fascinating and engaging young adult with a vision for her future. I’ve had similar experiences at other Tony & Guy stores – they are doing something right. Bravo. Wouldn’t it be great if customers could rely on a dental practice (or even coaching practice) in the same way – instead of the experience becoming a game of chance? There is room in the UK for a dental franchise at that standard – and none exist to my knowledge. Now there’s an opportunity.

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