What a manicure taught me about the customer experience

How a mani/pedi taught me about the importance of the customer experience

Manicures and pedicures aren’t part of my normal routine but as part of my “holy sh*t, I’m turning 40!” panic attack, I chopped off 6″ of my hair and made the commitment to maintaining a decent manicure rather than looking like an extra from The Hobbit. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I popped over to the relatively new nail salon in town. It. Was. Packed. Did I have an appointment? No, I didn’t. Could I wait 45 minutes to an hour? No, I couldn’t.

I had a few choices. Skip the manicure or go over to the next closest salon. The other place is the opposite of the spa experience. It gives off a distinct factory vibe. And it was usually packed too…

So I weighed my options and went to the Other Place and surprisingly, it was empty. Crickets. They were able to accommodate me immediately and did my combo mani pedi with all the warmth and luxury of an oil change at Jiffy Lube.

Their supplies sat on the floor in opened cardboard boxes pushed up against the wall. Old posters were thumbtacked to the wall. The quality of their work was excellent. But entire experience was awkward. No introductions. No small talk.

My manicure and pedicure? Gorgeous, flawless and still expensive.

They got ‘er done. But…it felt like a chore, both for me and seemingly for the manicurists. As a customer, do I want to repeat this experience? No, not really. Based on the rapidly shifting customer base, others feel the same.


I’ve been to the new place and honestly, the end result was a slightly inferior manicure but a better overall experience. What do they offer that the other place doesn’t?

  • Their staff is friendly and even a bit giggly
  • Their workspace is bright, clean
  • They greet customers and potential customers the moment they walk through the door
  • They offer little touches of luxury (at no cost to them) to evoke the spa experience, even though this is still basically a strip mall nail salon


Customers are willing to pay and even wait in line for a more pleasant overall experience. Why? The experience is part of the product. The customer receives more value at one salon than the other, even if the product is not as durable.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The customer experience is part of the product itself. #customerexperience ” quote=”The customer experience is part of the product itself.”]

You’re an online entrepreneur and every moment your customer spends with you – on your website, in your emails, in a video call or webinar, coming across your graphics on Pinterest – it’s all part of their experience with you. How can you offer more value to them? It could be your personality, or the way you break things down into manageable bite-sized content pieces, it could be a free resource library.

Now every time that I look down at my hands, I smile. Damn, my nails look good. A girl could sure get used to this. Not only did my mani/pedi teach me about the art of the customer experience, it also taught me to be a better customer and make an appointment beforehand…

Your turn. What are you willing to pay more for, or wait more for, in order to receive a better customer experience? How do you (or how can you) offer more value to your clients and customers?

customer service




  1. Julie on May 23, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    I’m actually willing to spend more for just about anything if it makes the experince more pleasant, or if I feel I’m supporting local businesses over multi-national conglomerates, or if the quality is better. Price isn’t the final decider for me on where I spend my money, unless it’s a high commodity item I can get anywhere and that I always buy the same brand of (like tea bags, or tampons).

    • Allie on May 24, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Yes to all of that, Julie. I always choose local over large corporation if there’s a comparable choice. It’s definitely a mindset. I came a scrappy family that chose “cheap” over just about anything and so it’s been a gradual shift for me to choose on my own terms – quality, experience, luxury and source. Thanks for coming by!

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Allie Smith Creative Gangster Copywriter Strategic Messaging Ghost Writer Sales Funnels@2x
Hi Im Allie Smith Creative Gangster Copywriter@2x

Content Strategist and
Copywriting for high caliber multiple 6 and 7 figure online entrepreneurs.