Phorest FM Episode 116: Jay Williams On The Difference Between Satisfied & Loyal Clients, And Why It Matters

When we frame an idea, a problem, or an opportunity, we are choosing our perspective. Look at a "glass as half-empty," and we start conserving and protecting. Seeing the same glass as "half-full" and opportunity and growth emerge. Our thinking shifts simply by how we choose to look at or "frame"something. Jay Williams's latest video series "Eat This, Not That… A Leader's List Of Ingredients To Create Better Communication" is essentially a guide to reframing our perspective on various concepts and situations. Discussing a topic from his series, this week's episode focuses on satisfaction and loyalty: what makes both concepts different, why it matters and most importantly, what makes loyalty more valuable in the long run.


Jay Williams

Jay Williams has over 25 years of experience across a wide variety of disciplines. With a focus in delivering exceptional client satisfaction, Jay has helped numerous clients achieve desired business outcomes through his leadership and contributions in the areas of sales, client services, and executive coaching.

Jay has worked for world-class hair brands, thriving distributors, educational institutions, and one-on-one with thousands of leaders. A frequent speaker at industry events, Jay’s warm and humorous… and at times irreverent style engages audiences in a way that keeps them on the edge of their seats, gives them confidence, and shifts their thinking. He understands their challenges and opportunities from their point of view and draws on his rich experience to help them unlock their potential and fuel their passion.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM Podcast, episode 116. I’m Killian Vigna.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. This week on the show, we’re joined by Jay Williams, a recent speaker at the Salon Owners Summit Roadshow, and author of the book “Leave Your Mark,” to discuss how to add value to customer relationships, and to focus on loyalty rather than satisfaction.

Killian Vigna: So, grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and join us weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs. Good morning, Zoe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning, Killian.

Killian Vigna: So anyone familiar with Phorest listening to today’s episode, the name Jay Williams certainly rings a bell, and we’ve got three reasons why. The first reason, Jay has already been on the Phorest FM Podcast on episode 104. The second reason is he was actually one of our speakers at the Salon Owners Summit first roadshow stop in Chicago, just a few weeks ago.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, and three, every second week on the Phorest Blog since April 4th, we’ve been releasing a new video from his series “Eat This, Not That… A Leader’s List Of Ingredients To Create Better Communication.” And in this series, Jay explores different concepts that he aims to shift our thinking. His premise was actually, “It’s not what you’re born with that matters, it’s what you do with it.”

Introducing Jay Williams [00:21]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So today’s podcast topic stems from a soon to be aired video entitled “Satisfied Versus Loyal.” And you might think, “Hey, my customers are satisfied; they’re never going to leave me, right?” And you know what, that might not always be the case. And to help us make the distinction between the two concepts, we’re happy to welcome Jay Williams back to Phorest FM.

Killian Vigna: Welcome to the show, Jay. So, we usually just kind of jump straight into the show, but being as we’ve chit-chatted a few times before this, I feel like we’ve gotten to know each other. So I want to know, Jay, what’s in your fridge right now?

Jay Williams: Well, I don’t think we know each other that well, okay!

Killian Vigna: If you were to invite me over for lunch, what can you offer me right now?

Jay Williams: Here’s what I could offer you right now that I think would be interesting, is when you go in my refrigerator… I think the correct pronunciation is carafe, you know what I’m talking about? The glass bottle?

Killian Vigna: That you put wine into? Yeah.

Jay Williams: Yeah. Most people put wine into it. So, in mine, there’s one, and it’s clear glass with the black chalk area if you can envision that, that you can write on it. And so one has water in it, and then there’s a second one… it’s clear with the chalk… that has vodka in it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Russian Roulette, vodka version?

Jay Williams: There’s a theme; it’s a Russian theme. There’s roulette; there’s Russian vodka. Yeah, so it’s soon to be summertime, meaning in the next few days… Not that it’s the only time I drink it, but I make this Moscow mule, which is my favourite drink, which is simply vodka, ginger beer, freshly squeezed lime juice. And then if the season permits and you grow fresh mint, you simply pick a leaf, you pop it to release the flavour, and you drop it in a copper mug, which is a great conductor of cold, and heat, but in this case. And you fill it with ice.

So if you came over for lunch, we would be having a liquid lunch, first of all, and that’s what it would consist of. The rest of my refrigerator’s completely empty, by the way.

Killian Vigna: I was just about to say, it’s better that I’m going to your house because at least we get that because you’d be getting nothing in mine.

The difference between a satisfied & a loyal salon or spa client [03:28]

Killian Vigna: Okay, let’s get into some real talk here. So we were talking about, at the start of the show, that it’s not always easy to differentiate between satisfied and loyal clients, which is going to be a topic that you’re going to be covering in your “Eat This, Not That…” video series. But because I’m not involved in the blog, I’m involved in the podcast, I want to know, how do you know who is satisfied, and who is loyal, when it comes to your client base. What’s the difference?

Jay Williams: Well, the difference is as simple as this. Let me answer your question, is that satisfaction and loyalty. If you looked at the two, the difference is, loyalty has an emotional component to it, where satisfaction is missing that element. So let me do this. I’m going to ask you guys questions. I’m going to reverse this on you, okay? I’m going to turn it on you. Would you guys rather have a satisfied or a loyal client?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Loyal, because you can kind of predict their attitudes and behaviours. You could say that if someone’s loyal, they’ll most likely… well, at least in the hair and beauty space, they’re way more likely to recommend you to a friend, or something. I don’t know, I’m thinking about myself. Like, if I’m just satisfied with a service, I wouldn’t recommend it, necessarily. It would just be like, yeah, I had a good service, that’s it.

Killian Vigna: When I think of loyalty, I think of my dog, where he just follows me around everywhere, and no matter what happens, he’s just not going to leave my side. But then when I think of satisfied, I think of, do you know when you’ve had a nice meal, and you sit down you go, “Hm, I’m satisfied now.” But that’s just it, you’re satisfied now, there’s no… come to your next mealtime, you could have something completely different that could also satisfy you, so you’re kind of moving cuisines. Am I making sense here? I’m just hungry, and food makes sense to me.

Jay Williams: Complete sense. I got another question for you. Would you rather have a satisfied or loyal employee?

Killian Vigna: Oh, loyal!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Loyal, definitely.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, because they’re going to stand by you through thick and thin.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. And you can have the hard conversations with someone loyal. You’re not going to fall out, necessarily, on small things.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. If your staff member is satisfied, it might just mean that they’re satisfied to have a job, they’re happy to have that current job, but if someone else comes along with a better offer, or say, more pay, which is I suppose the biggest example, then if they’ve no loyalty to you they’re just going to follow the paycheck, aren’t they?

Jay Williams: Well, I’m going to answer with this question, which is inappropriate to do, to answer a question with a question. Then, I’m going to answer, would you rather have a satisfied or loyal wife, spouse, husband, or significant other?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Loyal obviously, yeah! That goes without saying.

Killian Vigna: But I mean like, hey, we’ll open that one up to debate for Twitter, so contact us how you feel on that one.

Jay Williams: There you go. Well, here’s the deal, is that I’ve been married for 29 years, and what I will tell you… and Killian, hold back here… I’ve not always satisfied my wife. So, for the listeners who are listening, you’re better than that, I know where you’re going. The reality is, is if we’ve been, for those of you who have married, or in relationships, is there are times that you don’t satisfy your partner, because… And you may not satisfy them intellectually; you may not satisfy them emotionally; you may not satisfy them physically.

The relationships that work have this element of loyalty to it, and the deal is, is if the relationship’s based on satisfaction, and Killian alluded to this, you’ll stay with that person until someone satisfies you more. Loyalty has this emotional component tied to it, and so the work that I do in working with teams is developing this emotional component, which is really around emotional intelligence. And so specifically, when you look in our industry, is for stylists… There’s a survey that was done, it was done five years ago, and they simply asked clients why you leave a salon. Eight out of ten clients leave for nontechnical reasons. It has nothing to do with the cut or the colour.

And so I started out with stylists, with stylists my experience has been, is they have the technical education. The things that, in theory, would satisfy a client. What the clients are saying is that, “We’re not leaving for those reasons. We’re leaving for the non-technical.” Now, some people call them soft skills, and the challenge with that is it diminishes the importance of it. The “soft skills.” The ability to connect with people, the ability to listen, the ability to be compassionate. And so the work I do is to help develop the skills, and the thinking, and the behaviours, around building your emotional intelligence, and building loyalty, because there is a link between the two.

So I’ll stop there, tell me what you guys are thinking.

Loyalty provides for a margin of error [08:49]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: To be loyal, do you not have to go through satisfaction first?

Jay Williams: It’s a great question. I’ll share this story with you. So, my youngest son had a friend, David. And if you guys ever met a little kid, and been around long enough to see them grow up, but when you see that little kid, you go, “You’re going to be good looking, you’re going to be successful.” He has this friend, David, and so David’s graduated from college now, and he’s 6’2″, he went to Stamford, he played on the tennis team, he has a job with Visa, and he grew up blond hair, blue eyes, to be this amazing looking kid.

But I met him when he was in second grade, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His two brothers, and his mom and dad, they’re beautiful. Everything’s beautiful about them, their personality, their skin, their hair, their car, their clothes, everything. She comes over to pick up David one day, knocks on the door, and I open the door, and I go, “Oh my god, what happened?” Which, my emotional intelligence, very low, but her hair colour… Have you guys ever seen an accident, and drove past the accident, and gone, “How did the car get in that angle?”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah!

Jay Williams: When you looked at her hair colour, it was the exact same response. Like, how did that happen? And she went, “Oh, Jay, I know, I know, it’s just horrible.” I said, “Listen, I know somebody who could fix this.” She said to me, “Jay, we have a relationship. I’m going to go back to my stylist.” If the relationship were based on satisfaction, she wouldn’t be going back to him. But because there was this emotional component, it allows her this margin of error. And so to answer your question, satisfaction is an element. You can’t constantly fall short of satisfying someone. You just need that margin of error when you don’t. And that was a prime example, the story I shared with you.

And by the way, when you talk about a haircut these days… because there are stylists, you know, when we’re going through the workshops, will say, “But I’m excellent at cutting. I mean, I do editorial work, I do runway work, and that should be sufficient. I’m not looking to connect with my clients that way.” You have to realise this… and when I asked stylists, they validate it. What’s the definition of a great haircut? Because I think each stylist who’s listening, there’s been times they’ve done some of the best work they’ve ever done, they said, “I should be on the front of Salon Today magazine,” right? “I should be on the front of Cosmo; this is incredible work.” Only to have the client go, “Eh, it’s okay.” And there are times as a stylist where you’ve done work, and you’re going, “Oh my god, just get me through this one client, I swear to you I’ll put down my scissors, I’ll retire after this,” and the client goes, “Oh my god, I love it. It’s cute. This is the best haircut I’ve ever received.”

The haircut can be subjective. What’s not subjective is the way a person feels. And these things buy… I’m sorry, not buy; they feed into building this emotional connection. And as a stylist, what’s been validated through the survey is, our ability to connect, and build this emotional connection, does more to build loyalty, and retention, and referral, and re-booking, and reviews, and relationships, than your technical skills. I think a stylist… and everybody knows this as I’m telling this story… is that you’ve worked with a stylist that technically is good, I mean they should be doing editorial and runway work, and they may be, but when they get in the salon, their retention is amongst the lowest.

And then you’ve met that stylist, well God bless them, you don’t know how they get out of bed and dress themselves in the morning and get to work, but the owner loves them, their peers love them, and their clients love them. And they’re somebody who’s circulating around 75, 80% retention.

The components of trust: character & competence [12:45]

Killian Vigna: So it’s almost more, not as highly focused on the skillset of the stylist or therapist, but the actual character of them.

Jay Williams: Yeah, so I love that you say that character portion. There’s the piece, and at the conference, we talked about trust being the new currency. When you look at trust, if you simply define it this way… and I’ll use the definition that Stephen Covey used in his book, “Speed of Trust”… is that trust is made up of two things, character and competence. And Killian, you just alluded to that, and what’s interesting about that, there’s this woman, Amy Cuddy, and some of the listeners may recognise her because she’s the woman who did the research on the superwoman pose… Where a woman who put her hand on her waist, right? She’s a social psychologist at Harvard. If you get a chance to read her book, it’s called “Presence,” thoroughly enjoyed it.

And what I enjoyed about it is, I saw it to be very, very applicable. What she said when she was doing her research is, intuitively, every single human being in the world… except for sociopaths, so if you are a sociopath, I’m not referring to you, I just want to differentiate… seeks out trust and respect in every interaction. And so Killian, when you said character, that’s part of trust. What goes into trust is character and competence. The character part has two components. The intent, why you do something, and integrity, do you do what you say you’re going to do. And when you look at the competence, that has to do with capabilities, can you do it, and results, have you done it.

The hardest one to recover from is not a breach of competence, but a breach of character.

Killian Vigna: It’s like that, it’s a Warren Buffet quote where no matter how long you…

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh the, “It takes you 20 years to build a reputation, and about five seconds to destroy it.”

Jay Williams: Yeah. You guys can complete each other’s sentences!Very good, you didn’t have to cut it, this is beautiful. Ah, I love it. Well, yeah, let me get you two examples of that, by the way. So I don’t know if these are universal examples, so in the audience, if these two examples don’t exist for you, I apologise. But Target, are you guys familiar with Target?

Killian Vigna: Only from what I’ve seen online.

Jay Williams: Oh, only what you’ve seen online. Okay, so what may be more universal is a Walmart. Is that in Ireland? Walmart?

Killian Vigna: No, we’ve Lidl and Aldi, but we don’t have any Walmart or Targets, or…

Jay Williams: Okay, so-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: You have IKEA.

Jay Williams: You have IKEA.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: If IKEA works!

Killian Vigna: Yeah, IKEA?

Jay Williams: Let me give you an example, then. It’s more the size of it, and by the way, we have Aldi in the States, as well. But let me give IKEA as the example because Target’s a large company, retailer, like them. Just about 14 months ago, they had a breach in their server system, and people got access to people’s… the hackers gained access to people’s credit card information. Within 24 hours, they sent out an acknowledgement of it. They let everyone know that they wouldn’t be liable for any charges that were there, and they issued new credit cards to them. It was just a little blip. I still shop there, didn’t change anything.

For them, it wasn’t a breach in character. Their intention, everybody trusted, and their integrity to do what they say they were going to do. If there is a breach in trust, it is a little bit on their capabilities, and mostly around their results. So they didn’t put out an article, and say, “Hey, we’ve been in business for 75 years, and you can trust us,” because that’s not where the breach was. It was in the capabilities. So I just share that with you because the breach in trust wasn’t over character, it was over competence. Does that make sense?

Killian Vigna: Yeah, absolutely.

Jay Williams: We had a company, Enron, in the early 2000s. They were a billion-dollar organisation, $111 billion at one point. Inside of two years, they were out of business. The company’s senior-level management was embezzling, which I don’t know how it is in Canada and Ireland, but it’s illegal here, and it’s immoral as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s still illegal here!

Jay Williams: Oh, yeah.

Killian Vigna: Oh no, we’re fine with it (laughs)!

Jay Williams: So this wouldn’t have affected you, Killian, as much, but in two years, they were done. Their breach was in not of competence. Those people were very competent, especially at embezzling. Their breach was of character, was that people couldn’t trust their intentions. And so, from a business standpoint, this is where loyalty and you talk about satisfaction, can come into play, and trust comes into play. Does that make sense to you? One company had a breach and was able to recover and thrive, and the other went out of business.

Dealing with feedback and objections [18:02]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: On the back of that, would you say, then, that that margin of error from having a loyal client, like that bad review, that feedback, or that objection, would that be coming from a loyal client more than a satisfied client then? Because you have that margin, they’re comfortable saying this to you? Or it really depends on the situation, and it could be just the fact that it’s a satisfied or unsatisfied client, and they might just leave?

Jay Williams: You know, that’s a great question, and that really has to do with the receiver of the information. There’s a piece I do, I just did a keynote on feedback, and it’s how you perceive feedback. So in that case, that person was giving you feedback.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Jay Williams: Right? When they wrote that review.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Definitely.

Jay Williams: And so, if your filter is, that was negative, it drives a different emotion and different behaviour. If your thinking is, “Any feedback is a gift, it makes me better,” it drives a different emotion, and a different behaviour. So I would share that with you, is that if you are a stylist, and you’re getting this feedback… Feedback is what it is. For one person, they will take it as a criticism, and it will weight them down. And for the other person who perceives it as a good thing, this is going to make me better. This is something that will catapult them to the next level.

What I would say, and this is important just to understand, is that how you view that information, whether it’s negative or positive, is important, because your brain stores negative and positive information in two different places. The negative information takes up more space. That’s like, listen, I speak for a living. When I get feedback, there are 100 people in the audience, I got 99 tens, and one person puts a six on there, human nature, what do you think I focus on?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: The six, yeah.

Jay Williams: Yeah, so that’s… I just share with you. It’s human nature. Even though I gave this great advice about how you should think, we’re all vulnerable and susceptible to this. So if you are listening, and it is feedback, it has to do with how you think of feedback, and I would encourage you to look at it as a positive. And to your point, that someone had the comfort level to share that feedback. And so if somebody did, I would thank them. The first thing I would do is to thank them for that feedback, and tell them, “It means the world to me that you have a comfort level to share the feedback with me, and that you are open, honest, and on time with it.”

Now, the question, the challenge is, what would need to happen so that they had the comfort level, and sharing that with me in the chair versus online.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, because it’s always easier to talk online when you’re not face-to-face.

Jay Williams: Yes! And this is where the loyalty comes in, and building loyalty in your clients, is, “What can you do to build the comfort level so that the client will share that information, that feedback, and be open, honest, and on time with it in the chair?” And so there’s a workshop I do with stylists, the concept is a post-consultation. Because in our industry, we have a pre-consultation. I believe this will heavily weight the outcome in your favour for the retention, the referral, the re-booking, the review, and the relationships. And it’s by giving the person a comfort level to give you real-time feedback.

So as an example, when you get done with the cut, the colour, the style, is for me to say, “Listen, Zoe, we did a cut, colour, and style for you today. I’d love to get some feedback. Let’s talk about the cut, first of all. On a scale of one to 10, ten being, ‘oh my god, I love you, Jay, I want to jump in your arms and give you a hug, and a kiss,’ and one, I need to find a new stylist, where are you?” And the client will say what? They go, “Oh, it’s good.” You’re going to go, “No, no, no, I need to know exactly how good is it on a scale of one to 10.” They say it’s good, and now you’re thinking it’s a ten because that’s what’s good to you. They go, “Seven, eight. It’s good.”

Does that not dramatically change the direction of the conversation you’re thinking, and your emotions? And what way can you ask the client, so I say, “So Zoe, if it’s a seven, eight, what would make it a nine, 10 for you?” And our clients, they’re not hearing what we’re asking. We asked about the cut, they say to you, “Well, if I could replicate the look at home.” And you say, “Okay, so if I can show you how to replicate the look at home, and we do that now, so grab your camera and hit record, and I’ll show you how, then how is it for you?” They go, “Oh, it’s a 10.”

But your ability to have this emotional intelligence, to be able to identify and understand an emotion, not only in yourself, but others, and adjust your behaviour? And that’s what we did. We sought to identify and understand the emotion, and then adjust our questioning to get them to a level that they felt loyal, not satisfied. Because when she said it’s good, some people could interpret that as satisfied. I didn’t hear that she was loyal. And so I shared that with you, and to your point, Killian, is how do we create this trust and comfort so that we can get that real feedback.

What I would interpret that as, if I was looking at it, is my client didn’t trust me enough, my client didn’t have the comfort level, to share that feedback with me. And to your point, Killian, something made them feel more comfortable sharing it online than in person, and that’s why I’d ask the client, tell them, “I loved your feedback, and that you gave that to me, I’d love to know right away next time, so that we can make those adjustments so that you don’t have to walk out. What would give you a comfort level?” And they may say, “Hey, if you just asked me the question when we got done. You asked me in the beginning, but all you said to me was, ‘Oh, how’s your cut? Okay, good, and they’ll check you out upfront.’ It seemed like you were in a hurry.”

These are the things, those little things, that help to build loyalty and differentiate it from satisfaction.

The art of building salon customer loyalty [24:25]

Killian Vigna: And does that also work, then, where you’re asking the client in the salon, and they give you that satisfied answer where they’ll say, “Oh, yeah, no a 10, really good, really happy.” Because I’m thinking of my own experiences where, if I’ve gone to a new barber for the first time, and you’re not too sure about it, and they ask, “Oh, how’s it getting on?” You’re like, “Yeah, no, really good, really good,” and you’ll almost just say anything to get out of the salon… So how do you build trust with someone just new that you want to make your loyal client? Or make them a client, first off, and then make them loyal?

Jay Williams: Killian that’s a great question. Here’s the opportunity, and I love where you’re going. You have to build that trust. The way that you build trust is to solicit feedback. Your gift with feedback, if you noticed there was a little nuance with the feedback. I didn’t generically say, well to Zoe, or say to you, “Hey Killian, hey bud, what do you think of the haircut today?” That’s a very generic, broad… That would be like you going to Zoe, and going, “Hey, Zoe, how do I look today?” But she doesn’t know if you’re talking about your beard, she doesn’t know if you’re talking about your hair, talking about your shirt, talking about your skinny jeans.

Killian Vigna: Not specific enough.

Jay Williams: It’s not. And so when you drill down, that builds a comfort level, because now the person believes that you’re asking… this is a shameless plug, but I’ll put it in… you’re asking out of curiosity, not courtesy. And as the stylist, when you say, “Oh, how is it today? How is it today? How are things? How was your weekend,” and it’s very broad? It feels more like a courtesy, versus curiosity. Curiosity, the difference? It seeks out information. So when I say to you, I go, “Hey, bud, what do you think of the cut today? So we went a little tighter on the fade, so tell me how you’re feeling. On a scale of one to 10, how is this working for you?”

It begins to build trust, because you think, wow, his intention is to truly understand. He cares, or she cares. And this is emotional intelligence, and that’s what builds emotional engagement, and that’s what builds loyalty. Because you trust my intention, and even if I miss the mark with the haircut, and you go, “Well, you went a little bit tight this time,” well, what can I do at that point, right? I mean I can’t add the hair back. But if you believe that I care, and I said, “Well, what can I do that will get you back, then?” Because haven’t you gone somewhere, where the food was subpar, like at a restaurant, but the service was killer?

Killian Vigna: You come for the experience.

Jay Williams: Completely. And that’s what we sell in our industry is this experience. And haven’t you gone for great food and the service sucked? And you go, “Ugh, I’m not going back.” So for the stylist to answer your question is, and that’s what’s on the forefront of your mind. Remember what I said: human beings seek out trust and respect in every interaction. That comment, that specific question to solicit the feedback. I showed you trust and respect in that question. Because again, the haircut, it’s very subjective. You may have satisfied technically every piece of criteria you need for the perfect haircut, for the perfect shape of your face, but she/he still didn’t like it. That becomes subjective. But the experience, the way you feel; not subjective.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So say, I don’t know, I look at my client base, I’m a salon owner, and I realise I don’t necessarily have a whole lot of loyal clients. Like I don’t have people rebooking all the time, sharing their experience. If I were to increase that, I’d be looking at increasing trust with my clients, gathering that feedback, and everything. Would the factors that increase loyalty be all emotion-related? Say if I said like, reliability, or empathy, stuff like that, would that be what I should be focusing on?

Jay Williams: I’m pausing because I want to answer your question.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I feel like you have a question for me, though.

Jay Williams: I do, that’s my default style, so what do you think. Here’s, let me answer the question for you. Your question was, is empathy and integrity, those are the “non-technical,” [inaudible 00:28:48] this emotional commitment, are they important. There was a study done, and originally what happened is it was looking at IQ, and they got together… This is in 1992… and they wanted to study the most successful people. And so they went to Harvard, and they said, “Go back 20 years and give us the people with the highest IQ,” because we had operated off of this premise for well over a hundred years. The IQ assessment, by the way, was developed in 1882, three… I was a very young child at that time, sorry I don’t remember the exact year. But yeah, it was that year.

And what they wanted to do is identify slow learners. And what quickly happened is it flipped, they started to focus on the people with the highest IQ.

They thought somehow it would be an indicator or predictor of success. So just to jump ahead 99 years, so you get to 1992, and they’re doing the study, that’s why they sought out those people. What they quickly discovered, these were not the most successful people. And their quote from the study was, it threw a monkey wrench in everything, because we’re operating off of this premise of the high IQ is somehow an indicator, or predictor, of success.

So what they did is they stopped, and they went out and pulled in the most successful people. And success defined by relationships, achievement, financial at some level, but there are multiple definitions for this success. And what they began to discover was this new type of intelligence, which was this emotional intelligence, which is simply your ability to identify and understand an emotion in yourself and others, and adjust your behaviours accordingly. And so what happened is they began to do research, and what they found… and this is to answer your question… 70% of the time, the people with the higher EQ, emotional intelligence… EQ, I’m sorry, is emotional quotient, but it’s referred to as emotional intelligence… outperformed their counterparts with a higher IQ.

So to answer your question, Zoe, yes, it’s important; 70% of the time. Now you’re asking, well, what’s the 30%? And there’s a 10% margin of error, 20% had to do with when you need an exact result. So as an example, so you and I become kind of close, we saw each other in Chicago. If you needed open-heart surgery, and there was a woman there who was a surgeon, and had her degree from Harvard, medical degree, and there was me, who would you pick to do that open-heart surgery?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I’d pick her.

Jay Williams: Okay! Hurtful, but truthful.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Sorry!

Jay Williams: I appreciate that, thank you. Killian, I know you’d do the opposite, thank you.

Killian Vigna: If I were already dead, Jay, I’d call you, yeah!

Intelligence quotient (IQ) versus Emotional quotient (EQ) [31:29]

Jay Williams: Thank you, my friend. But that’s the reality because it’s a life or death. So their IQ does supersede their EQ. Unfortunately in the States, and I don’t have an international example to use, but a little over 24 months ago, we had a bridge collapse, and unfortunately it killed people. That was not a result of emotional intelligence, that was a result of IQ. That’s the 20%, when you need an exact, precise result, it’s a life or death situation. So I just want to remind you, as stylists, we’re not in a life or death situation.

And not to make light of what we do, because I think there could potentially be some life or death situations. Where you really shine in those life or death situations, is your ability to emotionally connect with your clients. And so to answer your question is, yes, it’s important. As I talk to stylists, and manufacturers, and distributors, and we have this conversation, they agree with me. They agree that if our work is made up of psychology, the study of human behaviour and thinking, and cosmetology, the study of hair, skin, and nails, they will say to me unequivocally, there are the exceptions, the sociopaths who are stylists. There are the exceptions, but the majority of people will say, 70, 80, 90% of their success comes from their non-technical skills: the psychology, this emotional intelligence. Yet, when you look at their education over the last 12 months, it’s reversed. 70, 80, 90% is cutting, colouring, and styling.  Yet, the number one thing that salons, from a business perspective, want, is increased retention. Referral. Rebooking. Reviews and relationships. So, Zoe, if you don’t mind, I’m going to anticipate your next question. “Well, Jay, how would we measure that? What would be a metric to determine the trust in the salon?” How did I do?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I wasn’t actually thinking about a question, I was thinking about a situation where, say, I’d have, and I’ve had experiences with say, doctors, you actually made that reference earlier… Two doctors with the same skillset, if there’s one that has more empathy, more of an ability to listen to my needs, and reassure me on certain situations, I’ll definitely pick the one that has more empathy, more of that caring aspect. So I’m just assuming that, then, even though it’s not a life or death situation in the hair and beauty space, someone with equal skills, you’ll naturally go towards the one that you can build that relationship with more; that you feel listened to.

Jay Williams: You articulated that to perfection. I was speaking at a conference in New Orleans, and there were doctors in the audience. They came up afterwards, they said, “This is why we lose clients.” Listen, malpractice suits, you hear about them, but a percentage of the procedures that are done, it’s a very small percentage. They don’t lose clients because of their technical skills; they lose clients because of their non-technical skills. Their inability to connect, lack of empathy. Clients feel rushed in and out. If the audience thinks about this, for those who have left a doctor… not dating one but going to one for medical reasons – or even dating one – it was probably for what you mentioned, this empathy element.

Killian Vigna: We’re so focused on building a skillset for a successful career that we do forget about the empathy side, where we’re losing that connection with people because we’re so focused on building the physical, technical skills.

Jay Williams: It’s, you know, you guys are hitting the core opportunity within our space, and here’s why. There are three independent studies done, and they came up with the exact same data, that by the year 2030, 25 to 30% of the jobs will be automated. That’s only 11 years away. And it’s not going to happen like that; they’re going to be eliminated gradually. Interesting fact, one of the first jobs to be automated? Truck drivers.

Killian Vigna: Well, if Elon Musk with the taxis, the self-driving taxis.

Jay Williams: Exactly. Those are the functions. Now, the ones that are at the bottom of the list, and not even on the radar? Things like a plumber, things like a stylist. It’s a complex activity. So the reason I say that, that’s great news to stylists who are listening, or people who are considering the career, or people who are burned out and saying, “Should I leave,” or, “Is this a viable career?” Because human beings are going to have less and less human interaction. I don’t have recent data for you, this was 10 years ago, I was preparing a presentation, doing some research, and here’s the data I found.

This is 10 years ago. We have 1/20th the human interaction that we did 20 years prior. What do you think the case is now? I mean 10 years ago, people weren’t actively buying on Amazon. We weren’t actively watching our movies at home. We weren’t actively buying our shoes at Zappos. We weren’t actively having our groceries delivered. We’re getting to a point where someone might have 1/40th the human interaction that they had before. That creates a premium on what we do as stylists. This will be one of the few human interactions, and to your point, how do you differentiate yourself?

The United States, as of last year, 2018, I haven’t seen any current data. In our industry, it’s tough to track data for a lot of reasons, and we don’t need to go into it, but it is. But in any event, they projected we’d have 757700 stylists. I was talking to, I met a salon owner, and they said, “Oh, I want to be Facebook friends,” and I said, “Well, how many friends do you have?” They go, “I have 3346.” I go, “I’m not interested in being one of 3346.” And I share that with you, as a stylist, do you want to be one of 757700 stylists? No, you want to differentiate yourself. The way to differentiate yourself is to build your emotional intelligence. Everyone’s going to have access to education. They do now, in fact, they have more access than they’ve ever had. That skill set will not be your point of difference.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I think we have a full episode to do on emotional intelligence, how do you feel about that? I’m rebooking you here on the spot.

Jay Williams: Oh, I like it. It’s meant to be my job. And take note, if you’re a stylist, it’s called rebooking. You do it right in the moment.

Killian Vigna: We’ve learned this tactic now at this stage.

Jay Williams: You guys do very good. If we good show it to everybody, here’s… I want to throw this out, and you alluded to this earlier, Zoe, is how do we measure it? Because it feels like something we can’t touch, or feel, trust. Right? And emotional intelligence. We have a metric in our industry that measures trust. It’s retention. So if you want to go back after this podcast and say, “Well, where do I put the stake in the ground? Where do I measure whether I have trust, whether I have the emotional commitment, whether I have loyalty?”

Building salon employee loyalty [38:57]

Jay Williams: And listen, I want to talk about this. Not only is it loyalty with your customers, meaning your clients, but it’s also loyalty with your employees. And that’s important because you can’t sell it on the outside until you sell it on the inside. And if you’re an owner listening, or a manager, or a leader, you need to have this connection. You need loyalty from your employees. You don’t want to find out when the ship’s going down, “Hey, are they going to throw me a life preserver or not?” You need to know up front, and I just want to put out this warning to you: it’s very tough to determine from the outside.

You may have your people’s mental, physical, and financial commitment, but not their emotional commitment, and you don’t find out until you need it most. You don’t find out until there’s a walkout, who stays and who goes. You don’t find out until it’s tough to make ends meet, and so you have to cut back the cleaning crew, and then somebody will say, “Hey, you know what? I’ll sweep up; I’ll clean up.” You don’t find out until you offer education, you go, “Hey, we don’t have the flexibility for me to pay the full thing, but I do need you to show up, and I will need you to contribute a little bit.” When I give you these metrics, retention, it’s not only of your clients; it’s of your employees as well. And if you have 63% retention, let’s just talk about with your clients… then 63% of your clients trust you enough. 63% of your clients are loyal.

Now, not all 100% of that retention is loyalty. Your opportunity after this is, one, to ask yourself, where do I need to build trust with the other 37%? And to look at that 63% and ask yourself, are they satisfied, or are they loyal? And for some of you, you’ll have the rapport that you’ll say, “You know, I was listening to a podcast, and the person asked are your clients satisfied or loyal, which are you?” Now some of you are going to be so excited that you’re going to go back to your spouse, your significant other, and ask them, “Are you satisfied, or are you loyal?” I’m not suggesting that; I think it will be a fun conversation.

And so here’s what I will tell people, is don’t thank me, and don’t blame me, okay? So do what you want with the information, but on a serious note, that is a filter in which to look at in your relationships is, is it based on satisfaction, or is it based on loyalty?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Wow, Jay, you couldn’t have wrapped it up any better, I think. This has been brilliant.

Jay Williams: Well, Moscow mules we could wrap it up with.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Sure, yeah, absolutely. It’s raining, outside here in Montreal, so that’s perfect. I’m sure it would bring a little bit of sun into my day, yeah.

Jay Williams: Yes, it would. Yes, it would.

Killian Vigna: And Ireland is just Ireland, so yeah, we can always do with a drink.

Jay Williams: Yes. All right, so that’s next time. Drinks, yes, with Killian and Zoe. Yeah.

Killian Vigna: Jay, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show, and we’re looking forward to our next episode with you, where we’ll focus more on emotional intelligence. So, thanks again.

Jay Williams: All right, thank you, guys. I enjoyed this, it’s a privilege and a pleasure, thank you.

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [42:06]

Killian Vigna: So that was Jay Williams, a recent speaker from the Salon Owners Summit in Chicago, and he was discussing are your clients satisfied, or loyal? Really good episode there, and now we’re going to move into the next step here, with Zoe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, so the second half of the show, where I talk about the Mentorship Hub, most of the time, and this is exactly what I’m going to be speaking about. This time around, so the Salon Mentorship Hub, if ever you are struggling with any part of the running of your business, whether that be customer service, retail, staff management, social media ads, or just running your social media in general, we’ve teamed up with coaches and consultants that we trust. Everyone on the Hub is happy to help you out with a 15 to 30 minute consultation. Free consultation, you don’t need to be a Phorest client to avail of this.

Essentially, what you do is you go onto, choose whom you want to connect with and on what topic, fill out the form, and you can book yourself in then with that consultant on a day and time that suits you. On the Mentorship Hub at the moment ready to help you, we have Valerie Delforge, Susan Routledge, Danielle Boucher, Richard McCabe, Phil Jackson, Jennifer Swaine, Gloria Murray, David & Nicole Barnett, Stefania Rossi, Katie Lowndes, Ryan Power, and Susie K Brooks.

So again, to book your free 15 to 30-minute consultation, head over to, or click the link in the show’s notes, and well, that’s all we’ve got for this week guys.

So as always, if you want to share your thoughts on this episode, or have any suggestions, send us an email at, or leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We generally need love, feedback, and are always looking for ways to improve the show.

Otherwise, have a wonderful week, and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Related links

Jay Williams, Leave Your Mark

Eat This Not That: Satisfied vs Loyal

Book a free 15-30 minute consultation on The Salon Mentorship Hub


This episode was edited and mixed by Audio Z: Great music makes great moments. Montreal’s cutting-edge post-production studio for creative minds looking to have their vision professionally produced and mixed. Tune in every Monday for a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars or events you can join.

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